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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.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • jiji the cat

    under the current regs, i think that software is the big issue. After listening to your podcast with Mike, you have the feeling that Ferrari have come up with a good motor, and Shell with good fuel.

  • Mike Steck

    Me thinks the Italian old-school mode of persuasion may be rolling through the factory. The turning away in disgust we all witnessed from Luca surely meant somebody was to sleep with the fishes. Has anyone actually ‘seen’ Stefano? Just asking. I agree with Grace, that the human motivation factor of fear is short-lived, but then again so that may be said for current F1 engineers. We know that changes are in order, and sometimes like in softdrink wars, a ‘new’ approach can parallel a ‘classic’ approach to determine which is more effective on the marketplace. Possibly Ferrari is doing this? Marco going a new, motivational business direction to obtain team results, while Luca goes ‘classic’ on folks and whispers of Ferrari engineers waking up to a severed horseheads in bed might be the case. We may be seeing the same thing at McLaren. A more civil ‘English’ approach of a stroll through the Woking garden with Eric Boullier to have a chat over tea, superimposed with Ron Dennis in full Vader-garb storming through the glass and steel McLaren hallways, firmly gripping key staff by the throat as they are hoisted into the air, and Lord Ron’s menacing voice uttering ‘apology accepted’ through gritted teeth.
    ‘New’ ways and ‘Classic’ ways of F1 team motivation.

  • Tincada

    Fernando doesn’t sound very optimistic. Knowing Ferrari you have to believe the flame has been turned up at the factory. At least they kacknowledge the issues, now to attack one by one. Maybe we saw some undisclosed fixes in China enabling Fernando to grab 3rd.