Wow, so the WT model as mentioned is 4-6 weeks ahead of updates being introduced. In the event an update fails to deliver (which is quite common) means 6 weeks of hard work and resources down the drain, not to mention time invested on the initial update. And what if the former is only the beginning of a raft updates encapsulated in the development path? Correct me if I'm wrong, is the development plan not set out during pre-season already?
Yeah teams have a general development path planned for the season but as Knuckles mentioned, it's obviously subject to change. So what seems to have happened this year was up until Canada development was going ok. The update package brought to Canada(which was worked on months before) obviously showed promise with CFD and yielded good results in the wind tunnel so the update was introduced in Canada. Being that the longer exhaust ramp and other relative updates showed promise the team continued development on the basis that the Canadian GP update worked as expected. It didn't, so the next step in development was based on a configuration that the team wasn't using. Introducing this to pre-Canada spec only caused more problems and actually probably made the car a bit worse.
The question is why did it show promise in simulation and the WT, but not work on track? Fry who is as brutally honest as they come, said he doesn't think it was a wind tunnel correlation issue. Maybe he's right. Maybe he believes that with every bone in his body and maybe he's just wrong, I don't know. Here are some quotes from Gary Anderson, a tech analyst I think is hit & miss with his opinions/analysis, but I think is spot on Here :
"Ferrari have spent the past few seasons blaming problems with their simulation technology for their failure to keep up with the in-season development race, saying new parts were not performing on the track as their data said they should.
But it was interesting that in Brazil, where they had no dry practice, Ferrari used two new aerodynamic parts, and took their first podium finish since Singapore in September.
Ferrari have tended to spend practice sessions this year going backwards and forwards with new parts. They didn't have time in Brazil to get themselves confused.
Quite often, if a car has a general balance problem, and the new parts a team puts on it don't affect that characteristic, but just make the car a bit quicker, then the driver will come back in after running the new part and say the new part doesn't make any difference - and the team gets confused.
But it might be that the part does make the car faster around a lap, even if the problem with the behaviour of the car remains.
In Brazil, Ferrari had to commit to the new parts, on the basis that the wind tunnel said they should be better so just get on with it. That suggested they perhaps should have tried that a few more times over the last two or three years".
Here is a piece Anderson did in July which cites the same issues as above and he saw this in July.
Ferrari have lost their way. In the last four races Alonso has had a second, third, fourth and fifth. That slide is going in the wrong direction.
They are bringing developments to the track - as they did with a new diffuser in Hungary - but they are not using them in races.
So all of that research and effort is not being turned into performance.
Caution can be a positive when it comes to engineering, but Ferrari are guilty of over-caution.
They spent Friday in Hungary trying to compare the new diffuser with the old one. But it is impossible to do so-called back-to-back runs on a part as influential as that with the track changing as quickly as it does in Hungary.
That's because you can never be sure what is influencing the changes in car behaviour and lap time - is it the track evolution, or the new parts?
Sometimes you simply have to have faith in your simulation data, put the part on the car and get on with it. Because Ferrari are not, they are effectively going backwards, because while they are standing still everyone else is going forwards.
Mercedes had new parts on the car. They had a new front wing and they just got on with it.
Ferrari are in a halfway house. They're neither optimising the car, nor benefiting from new parts. Mercedes, Red Bull and Lotus by contrast, tend to stick new parts on the car, believe in them, and get on with it.
This is why Ferrari badly need former Lotus technical director James Allison to start work in his new role. They need someone to stand up and make those decisions.
You have to make decisions. They might be wrong, but at least by committing to something you get the bits on the car and get the best out of it that weekend.
It might only be 95% of the total potential of the car, but at least you got that 95%. If you back-to-back things all weekend, you don't get the best out of the car either with or without the new parts, so your overall performance is worse."