FER­RARI MUST PLUG HOLES

Aero devel­op­ment is a key weak­ness for the Scud­e­ria

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - By Rob Lad­brook Photos: LAT

Fer­rari must ad­dress a key weak­ness in its aero­dy­namic devel­op­ment if it is to fight for the world cham­pi­onship next sea­son, ac­cord­ing to com­pany chair­man Ser­gio Mar­chionne.

Next sea­son will mark a decade since Fer­rari last won the world cham­pi­onship, with Kimi Raikko­nen. The Scud­e­ria faces a tough task to over­haul both the dom­i­nant Mercedes team and Red Bull Rac­ing, which also out­per­formed the red cars to­ward the sea­son’s end as Fer­rari slumped to third in the Con­struc­tors’ Cham­pi­onship.

With the in­tro­duc­tion of new tech­ni­cal rules for next year al­low­ing wider, more powerful cars the peck­ing or­der may well be re­set, but many in the pad­dock be­lieve the new rules will also bring about the big­gest devel­op­ment war the sport has seen in years.

Mar­chionne singled out Fer­rari’s chas­sis and aero­dy­namic devel­op­ment rate this year as a par­tic­u­lar weak­ness. The team parted com­pany with tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor, and aero ex­pert James Al­li­son in Au­gust, with for­mer en­gine chief Mattia Binotto tak­ing over.

Speak­ing at Fer­rari’s end of sea­son event in Day­tona re­cently, Mar­chionne said Fer­rari had to fill a void in its tech­ni­cal crew ahead of 2017.

“The most im­por­tant recog­ni­tion the team has made this sea­son is a clear iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the gaps we have in terms of two things: one is hon­estly per­for­mance on track, but, more im­por­tantly, I think about the rate of change against other teams,” he said.

“We saw a Red Bull at the start of the sea­son that did not, at least on pa­per, have the at­tributes to take on Fer­rari. And by the end of the sea­son, Red Bull did ef­fec­tively be­come a vi­able com­peti­tor.

“That was not down to the power unit side, it was down to the work done on both aero and chas­sis. That’s pointed out prob­a­bly one of the most sig­nif­i­cant holes in strate­gic devel­op­ment for Fer­rari in re­cent years. “We will try to rem­edy that prob­lem. That’s not to say we don’t con­sider the power unit to be cru­cial, work con­tin­ues on both fronts. But I think the big­gest is­sue from 2016 is the gap that ex­ists on aero devel­op­ment and I think we are try­ing to close it as quickly as we can. We are leav­ing no stone un­turned ahead of next year, and also pre­par­ing for in-sea­son devel­op­ment.” Fer­rari team head Mau­r­izio Ar­riv­abene added that Binotto has al­ready had an im­pact on this year’s car, but that work on the 2017 chas­sis be­gan mid-year. “Our 2017 be­gan back in Au­gust af­ter the ma­jor tech­ni­cal change,” he said. “Ever since that struc­ture was put in place, with a great en­gi­neer like Mattia, we have seen positive signs, as in Ja­pan and Abu Dhabi. Peo­ple ex­pect a lot from Fer­rari, and we will do our ut­most to achieve.”

Fer­rari knows it must in­crease devel­op­ment Mar­chionne has identified is­sues

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