F1: Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) is The Team to Beat this Season
Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) is The Team to beat for this season. But, do you remember that last year the pundit said it was Red Bull which would bring the challenge to dominator MercedesAMG.
Ferrari has out engineered all F1 comers, and Pirelli is saying do not blame us.
Last year Pirelli asked the FIA if The Teams could build a mule to test their Y 2017 tires. Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull Racing had the money, the resources to build the car.
The Big Q: What was difference between The Big 3?
The Big A: Ferrari rebuilt a Y 2015 car close enough to its Y 2017 design, and they used their main drivers to do the testing.
The FIA had made strict regulations on the extent to which The Teams could rebuilt their Y 2015 car. The restrictions went so far that The Teams were only allowed to make changes in the areas of the front wing, the rear wing and the floor of the car. Because Pirelli only wanted to have test results with the supposed down-force levels of Y 2017. The restrictions were managed differently between The Big 3.
The upgraded Ferrari SF15-T was supposed to have the lowest down-force levels of the 3 test cars, that according to Pirelli. But the engineers from Maranello ignored this. They wanted to learn a lot about the Y 2017 car and tires.
So, Ferrari just changed the parts of the racer which would give the greatest insights into the Y 2017 season.
The SF15-T was the only test car equipped with a wide 2017-sized rear wing. It was the only car to expand the diffuser area to simulate the Y 2017 expansion realistically.
Further, it was the only car that lowered the barge-boards in front of the side pods. And that added additional flaps and vertical flow aids on the front wing, which are very similar to today’s.
This approach was different to both Mercedes and Red Bull.
Both were satisfied with changes which brought more down-force, but which were completely useless with regards to the Y 2017 season.
Red Bull opted for an extra mounted wing element under the Y 2015 rear wing, to generate more pressure on the rear of the car and to support the diffuser, such wings are not allowed in the current regulations.
They also used elements on the floor that sealed their car better to the road, illegal under current regulations.
MercedesAMG used a similar set up with a beam wing on the rear of the car. They also tried an aggressive adjustment of the rake of their car and lateral sealing strips, did not work. This is thought to be MercedesAMG’s reason it is look in to a longer wheelbase for their racer..
Looking back, it is clear that MercedesAMG and Red Bull both could not learn much about their test car with regards to the Y 2017 car.
Ferrari on the other hand learned a lot.
The modifications on the front wing, the position of the barge-boards, the larger diffuser and the rear wing in the Y 2017 format provided clear indications of the expected air flow conditions.
Notably, this time out the data of the wind tunnel matched that of the track.
Ferrari is thinking out of the box, and perhaps the best example is the design of their rear wing.
The FIA only had one real restriction for the rear wing of the test cars: All kinds of elements and geometries are allowed within the designated reference area of the rear wing, within a range of 300 and 950 millimeters.
Ferrari’s technicians then build their rear wing as close as possible to the Y 2017 design. Their wing used the entire permitted 950 millimeters and their end plates where exactly built like the ones used today.
I expect C-suite management allowed the design team the freedom they needed, and they are now winning with that approach.
Ferrari, during the Pirelli test required both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raïkkönen to do all the testing. MercedesAMG and Red Bull both used their test drivers more than their main mem.
In the end this resulted to 2228 km for Mr. Vettel and 1054 km for Mr. Raïkkönen.
The reigning/retired World Champion Nico Rosberg drove only 209 km. And Lewis Hamilton did not do more than 50 km, Mr. Hamilton does not like testing.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen stopped after 517 km, and Daniel Ricciardo ended his test after 200 km.
“Both MercedesAMG and Red Bull should have figured that neither Pascal Wehrlein nor Pierre Gasly could have the same sense for tire development, nor the experience, as a pair of drivers with 5 World Champion titles between them…”, noted 1 savvy observer
Pirelli’s President Marco Tronchetti Provera told us in Monte Carlo: “Sebastian visited us several times in Milan to discuss his impressions with our engineers. Thus, a driver of his experience should have gained so much knowledge that he and his technicians at Ferrari were able to work out set-ups necessary to keep the tires in the optimum operating window.”
|NYSE:RACE||90.44||5 June 2017||-0.15||90.12||90.64||90.01||348,500|
|HeffX-LTN Analysis for RACE:||Overall||Short||Intermediate||Long|
|Very Bullish (0.61)||Very Bullish (0.50)||Very Bullish (0.62)||Very Bullish (0.71)|