Ferrari’s (NYSE:RACE) F1 car development has “exceeded expectations” this season and the amount of downforce it has added has had knock-on effects, says team boss Mattia Binotto.
The team started Y 2019 with a car that had less peak downforce than its chief rival MercedesAMG as Ferrari pursued a lower-drag concept to give it a straight line speed boost.
But MercedesAMGs’ domination of the opening races of the F1 season – winning the 1 8ht grands prix and starting the year with 5 1-2 finishes – forced Ferrari to focus on adding downforce to its car and also reviewing its development process at the same time.
That kicked off in earnest after June’s French Grand Prix, where Ferrari dropped a new floor once it realised there was a slight issue compared to what it was predicting during development, and Mr. Binotto said the result since then has “exceeded expectations“.
Speaking before last weekend’s US GP, he joked that it was similar to how Ferrari started the season with “underperformance that was exceeding expectations”.
“It is showing eventually how some more downforce may help or not help the overall performance of the car,” Mr. Binotto told the press.
“The level of sensitivity to downforce on this type of tyre is very high, and therefore I think even if you’re improving slightly you’re getting more than what you may expect.
“It’s also probably due to confidence, the drivers can feel better grip they will further improve their own performance.
“It’s the sum of things which is helping. At Singapore we brought our new aero package, it was not the only one, but it certainly was a significant one.
“If we look at the lap time gain we had at the next races, it’s slightly over our expectations.”
Ferrari Topped 5 qualifying in 5 consecutive races after the Summer break and was on Pole again in Mexico after Red Bull Racing’s driver Max Verstappen received a 3-place grid penalty.
Though Ferrari’s qualifying edge, particularly in this spell, coincided with a controversial engine advantage and straightline speed gains, its progress since France is clear.
In the 1st 8 races of the season up to and including France, MercedesAMG led the way with 100.08% of the outright pace, topping qualifying 6 out of 8X’s. Ferrari trailed its rival considerably, with a 100.562% average boosted by 2 Pole positions.
In the 11 races since, Ferrari boasts the greater average, improving to 100.158%, while MercedesAMG slips back to 100.254%.
While that has often not translated into results Sundays, and Ferrari slumped considerably in the US amid question marks over the impact of an FIA technical directive, Mr. Binotto says its aero performance relative to its rivals has changed.
“We have improved our car in the cornering, we have reduced the gap to the top competitors in cornering, so we are a lot closer now.
“We still have our advantage on the straight lines, so overall the package has improved and certainly in quali now we are often faster.
“In the race, we are certainly competitive.”
Ferrari was against Pirelli’s new 2019-spec tires early in the season as it felt the trickier-to-understand compounds were affording MercedesAMG an advantage.
He said a “combination of factors” meant Ferrari no longer had an issue.
“1st we understand a bit more our car now, in terms of car set-up and balance,” he said. “We have improved the way we approach it.
“The aero package we brought in Singapore has been a significant step forwards which has helped the tyres be in a better position in terms of window, in terms of degradation as well.
“And I think on top of that I think we start to understand a bit more those tires.
“We are extracting the car’s full potential, especially in quali.”
Enzo Ferrari’s 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, overhead resistance is NIL at and support at 164.76 as 3 of our 3 Key indicators have turned Very Bullish and the stock has established long term support ahead of this breakout.
Ferrari finished at 165.44, -0.16 Wednesday in NY.
Ferrari will continue to create value in the long term. Ferrari is a quality 1st long term luxury products investment, and I see it at 200+/share in that frame.
Have a terrific week
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