F1: Ferrari’s (NYSE:RACE) Racer Is Faster Than MercedesAMG: “Dialing it In”

F1: Ferrari’s (NYSE:RACE) Racer Is Faster Than MercedesAMG: “Dialing it In”

F1: Ferrari’s (NYSE:RACE) Racer Is Faster Than MercedesAMG: “Dialing it In”


The new SF70H racer’s design details that are worth discussing given The Scuderia’s run to the front of the F1 pack. Why? It went its own way.

Most of its performance comes from having a “naturally-planted car”, which produces speed straight out at every circuit, while taking the maximum from Pirelli’s tires.

This was seen in Monaco, when both MBZAMG’s were forced to do an extra preparation lap during qualifying, whereas both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen ran hard straight away, their tires arriving at the operating temperature faster.

Also, the shorter Ferrari is able to generate the necessary heat in the front tires to match what is generated at the rear, that is great engineering.

The Key design elements for a F1 racer are: wheelbase, weight distribution, rake, and aerodynamic design.

Ferrari, MBZAMG and Red Bull have very different approaches.

These characteristics tie into the equation that is tire performance is something that will change from circuit to circuit.

MercedesAMG is concerned, with Toto Wolff remarking that his team problems at Monaco were an “Italian mystery”.

Notably all of the F1 teams get the same tires, so Ferrari understands them and is better interpreting the Y 2017 regulations.

Ferrari, MercedesAMG and Red Bull took on the responsibility (and costs) of assisting Pirelli on the run up to this year’s rule changes, supplying their Y 2015 cars modified to the standards in order to simulate the increased levels of downforce to be achieved.

The tire test mileage in kms, as follows:

Totals: Ferrari (4240) Red Bull (4201) Mercedes (3507)

Vettel (2228) Gasly (2494) Wehrlein (3248)
Raikkonen (1054) Buemi (1190) Rosberg (209)
Gutierrez (480) Verstappen (517) Hamilton (50)
Fuoco (478) Ricciardo (200)

There were 96 different prototype tires were tested during the program that saw the drivers put both the dry and wet-weather Y 2017 development tires through their paces at Fiorano, Mugello, Barcelona, Paul Ricard and Yas Marina, which I reported on in this column as they happened.

Of the 3 teams, MercedesAMG posted the least mileage, a Key reasons why the outfit is struggling when it comes to nuances of tire temperature management.

Ferrari’s Raikkonen did more running than Mr. Hamilton, who hates testing, Ricciardo and Verstappen combined, while Mr. Vettel did more than 2X that number. He knows what is happening.

Pirelli requested that teams use race drivers at the tests, in order that a solid reference could be drawn from not only the data gathered but also the feedback given by the drivers but only The Scuderia was committed to that program.

Mr. Vettel also visited Pirelli on several occasions, just as he did when the tire supplier first entered F1 in Y 2011, as the 4X world champion wanted to and did offer more insight and feedback Pirelli.

The testing was blind, the data accrued was shared among all of the F1 competitors, but, the Ferrari team drivers who did the lions share of the testing got more out of it than the rest, it shows on the ScoreBoard.

And I expect that the efforts made by each of the 3 major constructors in designing their mule cars provided different results, Ferrari obviously the best .

Also, we must consider the technical directive issued by Charlie Whiting just before pre-season testing began, which came when the designs of this year’s chassis were already done and defined.

Ferrari, in a very tactical move, waited until the right moment to request clarification from Mr. Whiting, while MBZAMG and Red Bull committed to the concept 1st going forward.

The clarification hit MercedesAMG, and Red Bull hard, as both had the most mature versions of these  special suspension systems, with MercedesAMG pressing on with things learned while developing FRIC, which was banned.

Technically the “trick” suspension systems, revolved around the use of a hydraulic heave element and more accurately controlled the vertical displacement of the chassis, allowed for a more aggressive aerodynamic philosophy to be followed.

Notably, Red Bull suggested that its version was too heavy and abandoned it before the clarification, but MercedesAMG had the most advanced system and continued working on it right up to the issuing of the clarification technical directive.

This placed both teams at a major disadvantage Ferrari, who designed its car either with a simpler version or without it on the basis of it Y 2015 racer.

Dialing it  in: Ferrari made some changes to its set-up heading into Y 2017, with 2 rotary switches that had been relegated to the cockpit control panel.

The GRIP and multi-function rotaries that were once housed in the left-hand cockpit panel were now front and center on the steering wheel, where they resided back in Y 2013, another season where tire performance was a Key focus.

Note: these rotaries have been at the drivers’ disposal, in 1 position or another, dating back to Y  2008.

But, now at Ferrari there was renewed importance to the drivers and engineers, with the steering wheel serving as the focus, and reserved for the most significant operations the driver must perform.

One expert I talked to said that, “…placing the rotaries on the steering wheel gives the drivers easier access and line of sight rather than if the rotaries were placed on the cockpit panel, obfuscated by the steering wheel.”

There you have it technically the “Italian Mystery” solved.

This weekend Lewis Hamilton aims for Michael Schumacher record, 13, at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Will be interesting racing for sure.

Canada is F1’s 1st of the 2 North American events in Y 2017 takes place with this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, which you can see live from 2:00p EDT Sunday on NBC.

Coverage occurs this weekend across all NBC Sports Group networks, NBC, CNBC and NBCSN, for live coverage with streaming on the NBC Sports App.

TV times for live sessions are FP-2 (free practice 2), Friday at 2:00p EDT on NBCSN, Qualifying Saturday at 1:00p EDT on CNBC and the race Sunday at 2:00p EDT on NBC.

Team Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel will look to become the 1st driver to win multiple races consecutively this year. Mr.  Vettel took an authoritative victory at Monaco, with his 3rd of the year, which now sees him 25 points ahead of MBZAMG’s Lewis Hamilton for the World Championship lead.

A Ferrari win in Montreal would be the 1st for Team Scuderia since Michael Schumacher’s victory  in Y 2004. Vettel’s Monaco win was Ferrari’s 1st there since Y 2001.

Symbol Last Trade Date Change Open High Low Volume
NYSE:RACE 90.28 7 June 2017 -0.23 90.4 90.98 90.03 303,310
HeffX-LTN Analysis for RACE: Overall Short Intermediate Long
Very Bullish (0.62) Very Bullish (0.54) Very Bullish (0.62) Very Bullish (0.71)

Stay tuned…

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