Ferrari’s wind tunnel will be ready to re-open at the end of October, a move the team believes will overcome a significant part of its disadvantage to Red Bull.
The wind tunnel was shut down for a comprehensive upgrade after Ferrari discovered correlation problems, meaning it has been using Toyota’s ex-Formula 1 facility in Cologne in the interim.
While the tunnel is coming online too late to have any influence on Ferrari’s 2013 car and work on next year’s machine is already well-advanced, team principal Stefano Domenicali believes it will remove a major weakness relative to Red Bull.
“It is like playing basketball with one hand behind your back,” said Domenicali. “You can do that for training, but when you have to play it’s better to use two hands. We should be back with two hands [when the wind tunnel is back in use].
“It is crucial for us. We have been suffering for two years, because we had problems with correlation [before the tunnel was closed]. So we are looking forward to open it up again because it will be a massive tool to use.”
While not having its own on-site wind tunnel in operation over the past 18 months has hindered Ferrari’s progress, deputy chief designer Simone Resta believes the decision to shut it down for upgrading was vital.
“Under Stefano Domenicali’s direction, the team has invested a lot in upgrades of the tunnel and operation,” he said. “In our world, everything moves so quickly without any breaks and you need to take a long time to make a major upgrade. If not, you are just doing incremental upgrades.
“Toyota’s is a good facility and is being used not only by us but also other teams. This has given us the opportunity to be ready at the end of October with our facility, which will be much better than before.”