FERRARI MUST PLUG HOLES
Aero development is a key weakness for the Scuderia
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.”