Ferrari’s (NYSE:RACE) Progress: Sebastian Vettel’s 2nd place in Monaco was The Scuderia’s best result in this season F1 campaign. But, they were the 3rd-fastest around the streets of Monaco, behind MercedesAMG and Red Bull Racing.
This is way away from pre-season expectations of being title contenders.
The Big Q: Do any of the upcoming race circuits offer hope of ending MercedesAMG’s unbeaten start to Y 2019 and kick-starting their attack on the championship standings?
The Big A: Let’s have a look at the next 3 races.
Pre-season testing looked like advantage Ferrari. But as part of their development plan, MercedesAMG unexpectedly brought a new car to the 2nd week of testing and that put them ahead at the start of the season.
Since then, a combination of that impressive new chassis, a strong and reliable engine, and a team with 2 drivers operating at a level never seen before in F1 has helped MercedesAMG win all 6 races, 5 of which were 1-2’s and the other a 1-3.
This is not how many of us saw it for Ferrari after Barcelona, whose challenge to the MercedesAMG dominance has been building in the last 2 years.
On the power unit side
Ferrari have excelled and delivered an engine that speed trap figures suggest is now the class of the field. Depending on the length of the straight away, it can give them an advantage over the rest of as much as 3/10’s of a sec.
Ferrari’s racer is very efficient according to Team Principal Mattia Binotto, but while it is low on drag, the SF90 is short on down-force relative to rivals MercedesAMG and the Red Bull racers. That means in the corners at low-, medium- and high-speed, the Ferrari’s are struggling. We have heard a lot of talk about tires this year, specifically Ferrari’s inability to get them into the correct operating window, and the lack of down-force will not help in this.
Mr. Binotto has highlighted that the tires supplied by Pirelli are “quite different to those of last year”. They have been unable to not only warm them up sufficiently, but also then hit their temperature targets to get them to work properly. And this is why Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc have been constantly crying out for more grip, which in turn would give them more confidence to push the car.
The focus has to be adding down-force to the race car.
To do that means adding more drag to the car. That might impact their speed on the straights, which would ultimately make the car fractionally slower. But it could also have a positive impact on the way the car uses the tires, and therefore unlock more potential, making up for that lap time loss. The team back at Maranello HQ are working and pursuing new concepts, ways, means and directions.
According to data supplied us, which maps out a predicted pecking order based on what we have learned in previous races, track characteristics and conditions of upcoming races, Ferrari should cut by 50% the deficit they have had to MercedesAMG in the last couple of races in Canada.
Mercedes are still ahead on that metric, but if Ferrari have a great weekend and MercedesAMG have an off weekend, we could see Mr. Vettel and/or Mr. Leclerc challenging for the front row and potentially the victory next Sunday.
The Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve has a series of fast straights into tight, heavy-braking corners, this is a very different challenge to what the teams faced in Monte Carlo. Ferrari’s power advantage can help them in Montreal, while their weaknesses in the corners will not be as pronounced.
MercedesAMG are said to be bringing an engine upgrade to Canada, which is traditionally the point in the season where manufacturers bring up their 1st improvement of the campaign. This year is different, though, with Honda bringing their 1st update in Baku, and Renault and Ferrari bringing theirs forward 2 races to the following round in Spain.
That suggests that MercedesAMG are going to make an extra step, but any power unit gains Ferrari have made in terms of pure performance were not have been seen in Spain or Monaco, given their respective track characteristics. It is only in power-sensitive Canada that we will see the full effects of the new unit. They will also have had 2 races, plus data from their 2 customer teams Haas and Alfa Romeo, with which to refine and tweak various settings.
Looking beyond Canada
The following race is at France’s Paul Ricard, which shares many similarities with Montreal. The 2 long straights there will aid Ferrari’s challenge Vs MercedesAMG, relative to Spain and Monaco, even if the Silver Arrows are still likely to be ahead. It all comes down to how much pressure Ferrari can put on MercedesAMG by being consistent and making the most of their package in a bid to force a mistake. Those have been few and far between, but as we saw in Monaco when they put Lewis Hamilton on medium rather than hard tires, that the world champions was not immune to making mistakes, but they do not happen often.
Ferrari’s best chance will come in Austria. The short 4.318km Red Bull Ring rewards racecars with straight-line speed, with the 10-corner track featuring 4 straights. With Ferrari set to cut their deficit to MercedesAMG in Canada and France, the data suggests they will cut in by 50% again, and be pretty close if not on par with the Silver Arrows at Austria.
Ferrari will have to operate efficiently and get their strategy right, Ferrari your fans have hopes…get is right.
Ferrari is the Aristocrat of the automotive sector.
The iconic Italian Supercar manufacturer claimed the title according to the latest Brand Finance Global 500 2019 report launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
HeffX-LTN overall technical outlook for RACE is Bullish to Very Bullish, there is extremely light resistance now at 151.90, and strong support at 142.76, all of our Key indicators are Very Bullish in here.
Have a terrific weekend