Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Vocabulary That Time Forgot! (Oh, and the shark fin)

On Tuesday we announced that we've decided to run the shark fin engine cover* in Hungary this weekend. I'm apprehensive, to put it in the most rational, least dramatic way possible. Honestly, I desperately want to feel confident and assured and giddy about this, I really do! But admittedly, the thought of it still makes me a little queasy and weak in the knees. It's just an immense gamble, especially on a weekend when we really need to deliver. This is a crucial race! I'm well-aware that every race is critical and merits no less effort than Hungary this weekend, and I'm also cognizant of the fact that gambles like the shark fin (when successful) can give a great advantage and help one get ahead. However, with everyone screaming that Ferrari is in crisis -something I refuse to believe- we need a strong showing to put us back at the top of the standings. And as excited as I am about running the shark fin, well, does it really need to be us? Frankly, better us than someone else, I guess. I know the pros:

1) If the shark fin really is the greatest thing since sliced bread and we're one of the teams (if not the only one) running it at Hungary, that's definitely an opportunity we've capitalized on.

The cons? Well, let's turn to the dramatic side of my brain, which has been itching to spout pessimistic nonsense:

1) I don't want to see the F2008 sprout a sail! One of the major worries with the shark fin has been that it will be adversely affected by crosswinds. I did look into whether or not there was any stock in that rumor and didn't turn up too much, except that McLaren elected not to run it at Hockenheim in part because Fisi blew off track while testing Force India's version.

2) The one day we ran it Felipe only managed to lap fifth fastest... And I just couldn't bear another difficult weekend. In short, I don't want McLaren to absolutely trounce us and have everyone laugh, tut, or tsk at us.

For the first time on a race weekend, the F2008 will be fitted with, amongst other new components, the 'anvil' engine cover after (Felipe) Massa felt in Jerez that it brought some benefits," Ferrari said in their team preview.

Not to belittle Felipe's judgment (I find him as credible, skilled, and downright fantastic as I always do), but I pray that we are making this decision based on more than just his opinion. And if it is, by some stretch of the imagination, it is all down to Felipe's gut feelings, well, I certainly hope he's not horribly wrong..

Ultimately, though, regardless of how panicky this makes me, at the end of the day I'm putting my trust in my team and my faith in the say-so of Stefano Domenicali...

FACT: I haven't used the word "cognizant" in an age.
CONFESSION: Sometimes Jackie Stewart bugs the bejeezus out of me. Haven't used that word in a while either.

*In case you're unsure of what this latest animal-inspired component is supposed to to accomplish, Autosport's Gary Anderson can explain all:
"It's another airflow device. If you imagine the airbox, when you're going at high speed - say over 120mph – it can't take in all the air that is coming at it. So you get spillage around the sides of the engine cover. That spillage can affect the rear wing, so you're trying to tidy that up and get it to the rear wing in as uniform condition as possible."

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