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If you felt like turning off the race in Bahrain after the first few laps, you may be a Ferrari fan. The president himself left the circuit in disgust and it hasn’t made it easy to be a Ferrari fan let alone an employee. However, interesting to note that Kimi Raikkonen has been making the press rounds this week suggesting that Ferrari aren’t stupid. AUTOSPORT has the call:

“At least on paper [Bahrain] was the hardest track for us but we have some new parts coming and hopefully we improve,” Raikkonen said.

“We know what we have to do. The people are pushing 100 per cent, but it takes time. That’s the fact.

“We are not stupid people, we have good things going on.

“Unfortunately right now it’s not the prettiest thing when you look at the end of the race, but I have belief in the team that we can turn it around.

“I’ve been with this team and other teams having a hard time and I’m sure we can get it right.”

Ferrari has a very tough season ahead and a lot of performance to claw back into the F14T. As we’ve mentioned many times, development is where the real battle begins in any Formula 1 season and if we look to Ferrari’s pace of development over the past few seasons, is there reason for hope that they can make substantial gains over the next few months? Compounding that fact, Mercedes, McLaren, Red Bull and perhaps either Williams or Force India won’t be standing still either. Time will tell but perhaps Kimi will continue to keep us posted.

 

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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.
  • A lot will depend on how big the engine advantage really is for Mercedes. If it’s true that the others won’t be able to reduce the horsepower delta, then Ferrari is in a bad place this season. From what I hear their car looks pretty good, possibly on par with Mercedes just behind Red Bull.

    • It may come down to the open performance upgrade period at the end of this year in order for them to truly make up ground and that’s a shame in some sense. I’m not arguing that an engine freeze should or shouldn’t be in F1 but in a rules change like this, perhaps in the spirit of keeping a season interesting, the freeze will hurt those attempts…possibly. It might be worth a discussion as to if engine freezes are good for the sport but surely the cost-savings of not having a rampant engine development open regulation is worth the lack of competition?

      The teams are allowed to make reliability upgrades now and at the end of the year, performance upgrades. Those percentages for performance upgrades are reduced over time each year. How do all of you feel about engine freezes an the lack of performance upgrades. Take Ferrari out of the equation so there is no bias, what about Renault or what if Mercedes were in the same boat. Doesn’t really matter who it is, should they look at doing in-season performance upgrades perhaps once a season or are the current regulations fine?

      • I commented before that FIA’s pushing ERS development; hence the real reason for the tightly homologated ICE spec besides cost control. Specifically for ’14, the regulations still allow improvements here, not in energy storage capacity or -K output, but on -H assist. It’s the mechanical “conductor” for ICE/ERS integration, in my view.

        As such, I don’t think in-season ICE upgrades necessary; a manufacturer did a better job than others here. Competition will thus be looking at other methods to stem the losses. There’s sufficient room in ’14 regs for ERS development.

        Annual homologation spec restrictions:
        http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2013/09/16/fia-to-guard-against-extreme-engines-in-2014/
        http://www.fia.com/sport/regulations?f%5B0%5D=field_regulation_category%3A82

        It reads as FIA allowing a year for manufactures to work out format/layout, 2 years for physical combustion upgrades, then 3 years before the ICE’s become spec engines a la 2009-2013. I’m “ok” with that, except there’s no mention of ERS max-power increases and a freeze on ERS componentry for 2019. If FIA truly is promoting higher power density from the Hybrid systems, they’d allow further development throughout these PU’s life cycles, which they aren’t.

        FIA pushing the teams towards a specific direction the with limited, narrowing spec is unfortunate to me, but it does allow FIA to regulate the engines more carefully in this enhanced computer-power era, and, for better or worse, creates a technology spec more appealing to prospective manufacturers. I question this, but as long as the tech stays current and there’s sufficient variation for performance discrepancies (as now), I’m OK with yearly homologation.

      • Personally, I’m against an engine freeze on principle. I think it’s a terrible idea. And I don’t think it saves anybody any costs, all it does is it leads to a reallocation of the funds towards aero.

        At the same time, what I would find even worse is to change the rules mid season in order to make it easier for other teams to catch up. That would be like a regulatory DRS.

  • PM

    I think overall the engine freeze is good but perhaps there could have been a 1 month period on the middle of the year where teams would be allowed to update their engine for performance gains.

    Also now that the cat is out of the bag in regards to how Mercedes place their turbos, I wonder if we will see Ferrari and Renault copying it for next year

    • It’s an interesting idea to have this grace period mid-season but I am sure Merc would not lie the idea. :)

  • I’m still not sure the Ferrari/Renault deficit is all peak power or a combination of it and also total Power Unit integration. Speed traps of all 3 events show the Mercedes teams topping the sheets, but only on order of >10kph. Now, that’s significant (despite drag being unknown), but not the 70-100hp being generalized.

    I’d wager it’s ECU programming compensating for poorer ICE-ERS integration leading to the delta; if all 3 PU’s make approx. max power, but the Mercedes is more efficient at using the electrical energy, its cars can spend a higher % of laps pushing. Or, if the Ferrari’s/Renaults still have problems “switching” from MGU-H harvest-to-discharge, the driver might have to wait/jockey the throttle at the initial acceleration point, meaning less time on the straights to hit and maintain V-max.

    Long story short, I think the gains this year are in programming the PU’s componentry to talk well with each other; anecdotally, there’re lots of gains to be had here, so yes, Ferrari/Renault “should” be able to make inroads into Mercedes. To catch up? Don’t think so.

  • As the post is about Ferrari car performance and not PU’s per se, sorry all.

    Ferrari; I doubt they’ll catch up. Recent history shows development woes for the Scuderia. They blamed previous poor performance on wind tunnel correlation and an over-reliance on Aero grip. They’ve supposedly cured the former, and the new regs are promoting engine performance, yet the Ferrari cars still exhibit what I feel were the same performance weakness as before, but now WITH an engine/PU deficit.

    I’d like to see Ferrari back at the top, but feel there’s an organizational/staffing deficiency that’s hampering the results. I doubt they’re in contention for this year.

  • It is the old pre-Schumacher Ferrari agian, and no, they will not catch up.

    Alonso should be looking elsewhere if he wants another world championship.

  • Alonso was testing yesterday using Raikkonen’s chassis. He stopped after 16 laps, reporting that the chassis was cracked. It may go someway to explaining the Finn’s poor pace in the opening races this year. Of course there is no indication of when the problem happened, but expect to see Alonso under more pressure from his team mate in China.

  • I hear again and again the Ferrari is having trouble putting down the power coming out of curves (BBC, Matchett, ZDF)… so they have much more down force on the rear wing, and McNish even alluded to the possibility that this may be the reason their straight line speed is so compromised.
    The thing I’m wondering is this: Is their (and McLaren’s) pull rod suspension the real issue here? They’ve been struggling with it for 3 years now and it dies not seem to be getting any better.

    • Are you referring to Mclaren’s pull rod front setup of 2013, which they abandoned last year? I believe every team on the grid is using pull rod at the rear.

      It is an interesting question though; I vaguely recall a few engineering types CAD-ing the team’ front/rear suspension setups in ’12. Sseveral teams’ suspension arm-angles were posited as being too shallow, the result being high loads on the lower wishbone during compression, leading to deflection (poor suspension strength and thus jounce/rebound control).

      The conversation was too detailed for me, and based on too much supposition, but interesting nonetheless. Unfortunately can’t find it.

      Aside: Peter, am currently in London on business; it’s amazing holding an actual newspaper and seeing F1 in prominent in the sports section!

  • gsprings

    Wow,another below expectations year for ferrari it seems ,new regs have not given them any advantage, I think what is happening at Ferrari may keep vettel from coming there