Ferrari believes a “brave” call in admitting its recent updates to its Formula 1 car had not worked was key to it returning to winning ways.
The Italian team had struggled to maximise a package of updates that first arrived at the Singapore Grand Prix, before rolling back some aspects at the United States GP.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel had told the media ahead of the Austin race that it “took too long” for Ferrari to work things out, and that “it cannot be good news” to revert to older-specification parts.
But the decision led to Kimi Raikkonen winning his first race since returning to Ferrari at the US GP.
Ferrari’s senior performance engineer Jock Clear explained how the team was able to return to form.
“Over the course of this season, we haven’t quite got it spot on at every race,” he said. “The positive is we understand why.
“Those couple of races where we did have a slump, we came back in Austin, and we were brave enough to go back on some of the development.
“That’s the kind of culture that we want to have now. That people are brave enough to say, ‘OK, I think we’ve made a mistake.’
“We go back, we relearn what we thought we understood, and we come back in Austin and we win the race, and we were competitive again in Mexico. So that’s the positive to it.”
Ferrari has been trialling a new floor concept at the Brazilian GP, running a tweaked version that was dropped by the end of the first free practice session at Interlagos.
Clear says Ferrari will continue to push on with experimental parts.
“I think we brought pretty much an aerodynamic upgrade to every race this year so we have various options open to us, depending on the circuit to circuit, we try and find the best combination,” he said.
“The positive is that we are producing these options, that the wind tunnel is continuing to produce effectively tools for us to use from race to race.
“Our job as race engineers on the operational side is to make the most of the bits we’ve been given and that’s the process.
“For example, you’ve seen in FP1, we did a comparison between two floors, two front wings, bargeboards, those sort of things. And then from then on, we’ll decide which combination is giving us the best performance for this track. “That’s just a normal process for us.”