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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Why Ferrari will not progress till it understands it downgrade

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The story of Method 1’s improvement battle in 2024 has been very a lot about whether or not automobile updates fall into the ‘improve’ or ‘downgrade’ class.

For some groups, like McLaren, Mercedes and Haas, every new iteration seems to be delivering the steps hoped to assist push them ahead.

For others – like Aston Martin, RB and Ferrari – new components have led to some unintended penalties and left them not solely dealing with aggressive challenges however an urgency to unravel what has gone improper.

In Ferrari’s case, its concern seems to revolve round a brand new ground that arrived as part of a Spanish Grand Prix upgrade.

Whereas the brand new components delivered extra downforce, particularly within the low-speed corners, one consequence was it helped trigger the return of bouncing in fast turns – one thing which has hampered the squad in current races.

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Ultimately weekend’s British Grand Prix, Ferrari conducted a floor comparison across both cars to work out which solution was best – and ultimately, opted to roll back its floor to the Imola spec.

Whereas that transfer proved finest for the quick time period in giving Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc the very best hope for the Silverstone weekend, transferring ahead the staff clearly wants a extra everlasting answer.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Photograph by: Erik Junius

However extra vital than that’s understanding why what it delivered to the monitor didn’t produce the efficiency the staff anticipated – as a result of till then, it can not hope to make any extra progress.

As Mercedes technical director James Allison talked about earlier within the yr, if an ‘improve’ proves to be a ‘downgrade’ then the implications could be big.

“That makes life onerous as a result of the second you cease trusting your instruments, it’s important to backtrack and also you lose a great deal of time,” mentioned Allison. “Time is your largest buddy, dropping it’s your worst enemy.”

It’s a scenario not misplaced on Ferrari staff principal Fred Vasseur, however there isn’t any sense that he fears the Maranello squad can not flip issues round to get again within the battle on the entrance.

That confidence relies on the truth that, 12 months in the past, Ferrari seemed to be going by an very same state of affairs, the place updates weren’t delivering all that had been hoped for and the staff wanted some understanding of what had gone improper.

The breakthrough got here on the Dutch Grand Prix when Ferrari elected to sacrifice its weekend preparations in favour of what was successfully a single-day take a look at to focus totally on automobile experiments.

It’s why he thinks the decision to separate flooring throughout the vehicles at Silverstone, even when it meant a possible hit to hopes for the British GP, was the appropriate factor to do to kick-start its understanding of what was occurring.

“We had precisely the identical scenario final yr, virtually on the similar stage of the season – Silverstone, Budapest and Spa,” he mentioned.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23,Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23,Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Photograph by: Erik Junius

“We stopped it at Zandvoort, had an excellent scan of the scenario and had an excellent restoration as a result of the weeks after, we have been there.

“What is hard on this scenario is you do not have checks, correct checks, to repair it or to at the least perceive it. It is rather tough as a staff to compromise or sacrifice Friday classes when you realize you might be dropping time in the course of the weekend and say ‘okay, let’s overlook about FP1, FP2 and deal with the mid-term’.

“Belief me, this resolution as a staff is tough since you begin the weekend – and it was even worse at Silverstone with the climate – and it means you place your self in a tricky scenario.

“However this we knew earlier than, nevertheless it was even worse that Saturday morning was with moist tyres, however it’s like it’s. We assumed the choice earlier than the weekend, and I feel it was the appropriate name to do it.”

Whereas the ground knowledge from Silverstone’s apply operating pointed to the brand new model being taken off the automobile for the rest of the weekend, Vasseur says a call might be taken within the subsequent few days about what the squad will do for the subsequent race in Hungary.

The main focus earlier than making that decision is in attempting to unravel why issues have occurred. Requested in regards to the set off for the issues, Vasseur mentioned it was not recognized proper now.

“Correlation is okay, the correlation on the downforce is okay,” he mentioned. “It’s nonetheless a query mark for everyone and typically the bouncing is popping up like this.

“It’s fairly tough to have correlation as a result of you do not have bouncing within the wind tunnel. All of us have metrics, and you can not anticipate you have got extra bouncing with this half over one other one. However to know if it should have a destructive impression on efficiency is one other story.”

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal and General Manager, Scuderia Ferrari

Frederic Vasseur, Workforce Principal and Common Supervisor, Scuderia Ferrari

Photograph by: Ferrari

Trying forward, Vasseur doesn’t imagine that Ferrari might be impacted for lengthy. And whereas it might require one other race of in search of solutions, he thinks it’s merely a matter of manufacturing new components that eradicate the bouncing.

Requested if points have been an inherent downside with the SF-24 or simply associated to the updates, Vasseur mentioned: “We modified all of the aero components and the bouncing appeared in Spain. To repair it you have got tonnes of options.

“You might have options with a compromise on efficiency, you have got options and not using a compromise on efficiency – which is creating a brand new bundle.

“I feel we’re there now. We should have the subsequent race with the present automobile, however the sooner the higher we are going to deliver upgrades which have much less bouncing.”

Whereas the ground points have put Ferrari in a difficult spot for the previous couple of races, and prompted questions over potential ‘downgrades’, Vasseur is certain the scenario isn’t one to be too alarmed by.

He says historical past reveals that Ferrari has had an excellent grip on bringing enhancements to its automobile – so there isn’t any have to panic that it has a one-off headache.

“I can not talk about 2021, or 2020 however during the last 16 months, all of the upgrades that we have now introduced have had excellent correlation with what we did within the wind tunnel,” he mentioned.

“It has been one of many property of the staff final yr, to deliver small upgrades and every time, it was paying off.

“This one, we had a difficulty, however it isn’t that we have now a difficulty that it’s the finish of the world.”

Watch: How Hamilton Triumphed In opposition to the Odds – F1 British Grand Prix Evaluation

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