Ferrari believes it can make up the ground lost to its title rivals in India after an aero test helped it understand its recent wind tunnel issues.
The team recently announced that it would close its wind tunnel for recalibration after continued issues with correlation between tunnel data and on-track findings. Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali admitted that has hurt Fernando Alonso's title bid. The Spaniard's eight-race tenure at the top of the drivers' standings – during which he had led by as much as 40 points – ended in Korea when Sebastian Vettel's third consecutive race win moved him six points ahead.
Chief designer Nicolas Tombazis believes separate aero tests have now allowed Ferrari to understand where rogue wind tunnel results were hampering the performance of its recent upgrades.
"The wind tunnel can only ever be a model of what things are like in reality and can never be completely real," he said. "The data we saw in the wind tunnel did not match 100 percent the data we were getting from the track.
"We had some unpleasant surprises from some of the updates we brought to the last couple of races, so immediately, we wanted to fix that and understand where it had gone wrong. Therefore we have had an aero test prior to heading off to India, where we ran control tests on these updates to really understand what the problem was.
"We got some very interesting answers which we believe will allow us to recover from those problems and so, our aim in this forthcoming Indian GP, will be to make up the ground we have lost."
Tombazis denied that the wind tunnel issues have wasted a huge amount of Ferrari's development efforts.
"There are many reasons why the wind tunnel is not perfect," he said. "It can come from a problem of scale, because the model used in the tunnel is much smaller than the real car, and it can come from the fact that the wind in a tunnel is different to running the car in the open air – the way the air flows over the car can also be a factor.
"The way aerodynamics works on a modern F1 car is hyper-complicated, based on the interaction of various components and very small details, therefore it is easy to make a mistake. Correlation cannot be seen in black and white terms and you cannot expect a wind tunnel to deliver perfect results in all areas.
"We have had problems in some areas, but that does not mean that all our work in the wind tunnel has been worthless."