Fer­rari just can’t close the gap to Mercedes

F1 Racing (UK) - - INSIDER -

A lack of down­force means that de­spite per­for­mance gains in other ar­eas, the Scud­e­ria can’t make the progress they’d in­tended

Pres­sure is mount­ing at Fer­rari as it be­comes in­creas­ingly clear that they have made no progress to­wards their goal of catch­ing Mercedes this sea­son.

They started the year hop­ing to close the gap to the point where they could com­pete with Mercedes for wins. But a pat­tern has emerged that proves the car has the same prob­lem that it has had since 2008 – it is lack­ing down­force. This ex­plains why the Fer­rari can be rel­a­tively close to Mercedes on tracks such as Bahrain and Mon­tréal, where the pre­dom­i­nantly short, slow cor­ners do not ex­pose its ma­jor weak­ness, but un­com­pet­i­tive at more de­mand­ing tracks, such as Sil­ver­stone.

Fer­rari were fur­ther be­hind Mercedes at the Bri­tish Grand Prix this year than they were at the same race in 2015: Kimi Räikkö­nen was the fastest Fer­rari driver both years, and qual­i­fied 1.6 sec­onds slower than pole­sit­ter Lewis Hamil­ton, whereas he was only 1.1s off in 2015. The same trend was ev­i­dent at Barcelona, the other track con­sid­ered as the best all-round test of an F1 car. At this year’s Span­ish GP, Fer­rari were 1.1s off the pace; last year that fig­ure was 0.8s. And all this comes de­spite Fer­rari’s en­gine be­ing only about 8bhp down on Mercedes in terms of ab­so­lute power.

Se­bas­tian Vet­tel has been sup­port­ive of Fer­rari so far, but even he ad­mit­ted to be­ing con­cerned about both re­li­a­bil­ity and per­for­mance af­ter the Bri­tish Grand Prix. “It has been a weak race for us,” he said, “but we don’t need to turn the world up­side down. It is not the most com­pet­i­tive week­end for us. There are a lot of things we need to learn this week­end. We failed two gear­boxes, one on Fri­day one on Satur­day – both on my car. We re­cov­ered in qual­i­fy­ing, but lost a lot of per­for­mance in the race in th­ese con­di­tions so there is a lot to un­der­stand.

“We want to win. I am very con­fi­dent things will look dif­fer­ent again in two weeks, but that is not an ex­cuse. We had a bad week­end and we need to make sure we ad­dress this and take ac­tions and move for­ward and un­der­stand why we strug­gled more than other peo­ple.”

Sources close to the team claim that a lack of engi­neer­ing cre­ativ­ity is their fun­da­men­tal prob­lem. Former Fer­rari tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Ross Brawn said in an in­ter­view be­fore the Bri­tish Grand Prix that Fer­rari needed “a quiet ap­proach” and backed their tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor, James Al­li­son, as the man who could turn things around for the team.

In the in­ter­view, Brawn re­marked: “It’s im­por­tant that Fer­rari still re­spect what they have to do, but that they do it pro­gres­sively and qui­etly be­cause I think that was a great suc­cess in our pe­riod, that Jean Todt and Luca di Mon­teze­molo kept a lid over ev­ery­thing and en­abled us to work on the engi­neer­ing side and the rac­ing side.

“So I think it’s a quiet ap­proach with the nec­es­sary plan­ning and re­source.

“They’ve got some very good peo­ple there – James Al­li­son is ex­cel­lent.

“If they give him the re­sources and give him the time and put the in­fra­struc­ture around him, with great driv­ers they’ll get re­sults.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.