In my recent conversation with Shell’s F1 fuel development team leader, Mike Evans, it was clear to him that Ferrari’s current struggles are a combination of several factors, not just an engine issue.
Today Fernando Alonso has intimated the same telling AUTOSPORT:
“The car was under-performing in many areas – it was not just one problem,” Alonso explained.
“We need to be more efficient, have better aerodynamics, better traction, better power. We lack some big performance in the first races.
The challenge, as is always the case, is that you are not the only team developing and you have to contain their advancements plus make ground on them. Alonso said:
“The other teams will bring a couple of tenths to Barcelona, [so] we need to bring a couple of tenths, plus something, if we want to catch up.
“That’s the challenge we are facing now. It’s not that we need to develop the car at a normal rate; we need to do the normal development, plus something.”
This is the heat of the development war in F1 and this is where titles are won and lost. The upside of being at the front of a new regulation change is that sometimes big chunks of time can be found through innovative thinking but as the years tick by with the same regulations, time becomes very elusive to find on track.
In speaking with Mike Evans, it seems the engine performance is there or thereabouts and the reliability is good so I tend to think that time might be found in software for the power unit, ERS and aero.