Felipe Massa, Williams, Yas Marina, 2014

Williams aero better than Ferrari’s – Massa

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Felipe Massa, Williams, Yas Marina, 2014In the round-up: Felipe Massa says Williams are developing their car’s aerodynamics better than his former team Ferrari.


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Massa: Williams is like a new team (Autosport)

“[Aerodynamic development is] something that did not work for so many years at Ferrari, so that was positive for the team.”

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Comment of the day

Thoughts on the conflict between Sergio Marchionne and his former employee, ex-Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo:

Marchionne’s actions towards Luca have indicated a general attitude of contempt – the way that Luca was treated when he left Ferrari does underline that.

When Luca gave his farewell speech at Maranello, some of the journalists present noted that Marchionne, although present, acted extremely rudely during Luca’s speech. He was reported as constantly fiddling with his smartphone, chatting with the assistant next to him, writing reports and generally making clear that he was not listening or cared about what Luca was saying and generally acting as if he thought the whole event was a waste of time and he didn’t want to be there.

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  • 49 comments on “Williams aero better than Ferrari’s – Massa”

    1. I really can’t imagine 2015 Ferrari being worse than 2014 one. I think 2014 was an absolute rock bottom, and no matter what they come up with for 2015 it will have better both aerodynamics and engine.

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        26th December 2014, 0:35

        Well with all the expectation management going on, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the two Ferrari’s next year battling it out for 13th and 14th.
        Personally, I get the feeling that next year will be the worst year in Ferrari’s history. I hope not, as I’ve always had a little soft spot for Ferrari, but let’s face it, they’re a total mess.

        1. Inner unstability and constant staff changes (plus top drivers getting bored and leaving) can’t help a team. Ask Alain Prost :)

        2. @tophercheese21 @carlitox Remember what you’ve just said now. I don’t want to read “Lotus winter 2014 championship comments” but on reverse. It was clear Lotus were destined to carmageddon after losing staff and drivers but people saw the car and what the team had achieved before and got carried away. How can change your staff once after 5 years of failure be considered “constant staff changes”, and 14th and 15th is unrealistic there ain’t enough cars for that(lol). Ferrari isn’t saying this time around they will win the title but although Marchionne and Arrivabene have said that the project for 2015 carries the flawed signature of the previous designing philosophy, Ferrari is in their opinion expected to win at least a race, something Ferrari failed to achieve in 2014. I believe like biggsy. this years car was a step up in many areas but it was clearly not enough to achieve anything, because of how much the powertrain was hindering their car.
          In the chassis department with Allison Ferrari should be able to at most produce the 2nd best chassis and 2nd best aero config, and if Ferrari drop the front pull-rod maybe the 2nd best mechanical grip. On the engine department Ferrari also can only hope to make the 2nd best engine. So I understand Marchionne and Arrivabene scepticism, with RBR with the best chassis and aero and Mercedes with best engine, Ferrari shouldn’t be able to even get some crumbs.

          1. @peartree
            Scarbs said Having Pull rod front is actually a bit better due to mounting points designated for 2015 , but we have to see how it pans out

            1. @harsha Enrique Scalabroni famous Williams designer said the opposite. The big reason for that is because of the angle of the upright. With a lower front end, the upright has a straighter angle which means the upright needs to be built to withstand more energy, thus making front pull rod even more troublesome. The only advantage of having front pull rod is aerodynamic. If you look into Mercedes front suspension you’ll see a bonded element, this solution makes the best of both worlds and could be copied by most next season. Also some engineers ones that didn’t want to be named, said that Ferrari’s solution has a smaller working range and this may affect the tyres, this due to the need of having a very stiff front end(via PeterWindsor)

            2. @peartree
              This is what scarbs said

              With the new sloped top to the chassis for 2015, this will compromise the pushrod installation angle. Its as likely they’ll stick with pull rod.

              But we might see them copy to the Mercedes style, if they feel it will be better but,
              As i said in previous post we have to wait until the car launch to see what they decided to pursue

          2. There’s no hope in hell Ferrari will produce better chassis than Mercedes any time soon.

          3. You heard it here 1st, Ferrari will NOT win a single race in 2015. If they manage to get a podium it will only be due to pure luck.

            1. Where is all this 2nd best coming from?


              Mercedes and Redbull were far out in front, McLaren now have Promo where as Ferrari have sacked most of their design staff. At the very best, they will only be 4th best.

          4. @peartree Oh, of course I can be wrong. The thing is, having 3 team principals in a year, plus firing Tombazis so late in the year, are not good signs that Ferrari will have a better 2015. I can be wrong, believe me, as a tifoso since birth, I am praying to be wrong :)
            As you say, maybe during testing my mind will change. Then again, how many times have we been fooled by testing lap times? The real deal will be seen in Melbourne

            1. Iam not a tiffosi, I’m not italian, but I don’t think Ferrari will win a single race by pure pace or skill. I think that Allison a champion in his own right can produce a good car, I just seriously doubt that is the best car, at best 2nd because even on his best at Lotus, this team wasn’t the team to beat.

    2. Isn’t it odd how often we hear about smaller teams being good with their upgrades, where teams like Ferrari and to an extent McLaren have often lamented the lack of correlation between the wind tunnel numbers and the real world track data. Ferrari especially have a history of multiple updates not working at all or only giving a very small gain compared to what was expected.
      It seems that the lesser funded organizations know that they have no choice but to get the very most they can for their development budget as once it’s gone, it’s gone (as per Force India) and that pushes them to be even more vigilant about how well their development parts will perform. I mean how many times have we seen Ferrari perform back to back tests of parts, only to run none of them and go back to an even older spec part (eh front wings) and the new parts go straight in the scrap bin. It’s no wonder that a team like Williams on a greatly reduced budget can compete with Ferrari when you look at how much of Ferrari’s development budget goes on parts that don’t work, if they got every upgrade they bring to work, Ferrari would be challenging the like of RedBull and Mercedes on a regular basis. Could you imagine what Williams could achieve if they had the budget of Ferrari, it’s enough to blow your mind.

      1. It’s often a problem with organization size: It can become very inflexible, so it doesn’t react very well to discoveries and changes. A smaller organization has less levels of permission to do something, so someone realizing i.e. that a component probably won’t work as designed can more or less just go ahead and change or scrap it with a quick call for confirmation. A large organization often needs rather stringent structures to be manageable, making it very hard to react. Some has found a good tradeoff, but Ferrari and McLaren seem to have had issues dealing with this.

        1. In the case of Ferrari, the issues are compounded by a number of other aspects, most notably infrastructure issues.

          One persistent problem over the past few years has been the upgrade they introduced to their wind tunnel, where they switched from a 50% to 60% scale wind tunnel – unfortunately, ever since then, they have had routine issues with aero calibration.

          Now, in order to try and resolve those issues, they then tried to use Toyota’s wind tunnel in Cologne – which McLaren and Force India have also been using fairly heavily – and also Sauber’s wind tunnel. Unfortunately, that, in some ways, seems to have caused a number of different issues, since each one of those wind tunnels would then produce slightly different results due to differences in the ways they have been calibrated, which seems to have caused additional confusion.

          The other problem is something of a cultural issue – because Ferrari has traditionally been orientated around track testing, given both the ready access to their test track and the fact that the ambient weather conditions are generally more favourable for most of the year compared to the UK, their work on developing computer simulation software and other non track based diagnostic tools has traditionally been quite minimal.
          By contrast, because track testing was more restricted in the UK, the UK based teams tended to invest more heavily in simulation technology than Ferrari did, which meant that, once the testing restrictions kicked in, those teams then found themselves with an advantage over Ferrari.

          Even now, several years down the line after the testing restrictions kicked in, Ferrari are still playing catch up in a lot of areas compared to the UK based teams. De La Rosa, for example, commented that Ferrari’s simulation technology was still lagging behind McLaren’s equivalent resources, and similarly Massa has also made comments in the past indicating that Ferrari are still a few years behind their competitors in some areas.

          As for McLaren, it is harder to pin down an exact cause of their malaise, since several key ingredients have also been the same during their periods of greater success. Now, in 2013 McLaren did have a bit of an argument with Pirelli over the tyre wall design – McLaren complained that Pirelli provided misleading information on the stiffness of the tyre walls (and it is true that McLaren were, in terms of relative pace, one of the biggest beneficiaries of the change in tyre construction that year), although Pirelli in turn claim that it was McLaren who misinterpreted that information (and McLaren seem to have been the only team that raised that issue).

          However, that wouldn’t exactly explain their performance issues in 2014 – OK, there were signs of improvement over the course of this year, but at the same time it could be argued that was more down to other teams falling back rather than McLaren moving forward.
          Some of it is perhaps down to issues at the more senior levels of management – Ron Dennis’s recent restructuring of the team has had a knock on effect for development – and some of it seems to have also been financial, with McLaren having specifically highlighted in their financial accounts that their turnover has dropped quite markedly because of Mercedes withdrawing their financial support from the team now that Mercedes has its own works team.

          1. Mark in Florida
            27th December 2014, 13:57

            My thoughts exactly. The game changed and Ferrari was slow to catch on. Their whole issue with the wind tunnel debacle doing the same thing over and over again and still coming up with the wrong numbers. Ferrari was so used to developing a car on the track that when all that went away they were stuck.

    3. Massa said the right thing, and I think Ferrari will be more miserable next year, there seem a chaos inside the team.

      1. Marchionne wants at least two wins next season. This was their first winless season since 1993 and they’re already behind schedule on the 2015 car. I don’t see them doing any better next year. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re jumped by Force India.

      2. @deongunner Why do we keep asking Massa for his opinion about Ferrari. The F14T was a different beast.

        1. Foosa, Massa was not talking about the F14T and doesn’t mention that car at all – what Massa was actually discussing is the managerial structure of Ferrari and their approach to developing a car during a season, which is a very different thing.
          In that respect, Massa’s opinions on Ferrari – having been involved in their development program for many years, both as a racing driver and as a test driver – is still relevant when discussing the managerial or technical approach the team has to development.

          If you read the interview, he states that, in his opinion, although Ferrari’s management structure was perhaps better structured when he was there compared to Williams (given that Williams have recently undergone a major overhaul of their systems), he feels that the way that Williams are approaching things such as wind tunnel testing or refining their set ups is more effective than Ferrari’s approach.

    4. I really hope Williams manage to stay where they are or even manage to close the gap to Mercedes.

      In theory, it shoukd only get better as their prize money will be a lot “juicier” this year than it has been for a long time.
      Hopefully they put this money to good use, and manage to get more sponsors due to their current form.(they are undoubtly a more “attractive” team now)

      I also hope Massa stays out of trouble and has a great year, a year which could be his last in F1.
      According to most readers here, Bottas should have a good season which could get Williams even further.


      1. In reallity, William’s competitivness next season will largely depend on Honda’s and Renault’s success or lack thereof.

        Honda’s success could mean a stronger McLaren.
        Renaul’s success will most certainly mean a much stronger Red Bull.

        1. I think a lot might depend of Williams’ fuel next year as well, Petrobras.

          1. What did they use in 2014?

            1. Williams used the standard fuel that Petronas had developed for Mercedes, as did the works Mercedes team and Force India. The only team which appears to have used different fuel and oil mixes in 2014 would be McLaren, whom appear to have used fuels and oils developed by Exxon instead (their official partner and sponsor).

              @brunes, in the case of McLaren, Ron Dennis seems to have shifted the blame for their poor form on their chassis development team rather than the engine. Whilst a strong Honda engine package will be important in rebuilding the team, that will need to go hand in hand with reforming their chassis development team – without that, progress will be limited at best.

              As for Red Bull, it is true that better performance from Renault will be key in improving their form. However, there are some questions that are hanging over the engine – for example, the fact that their performance loss with mileage appears to be far worse than Mercedes – and the fact that, in the tail end of 2014, their aero development seems to have slowed down as well.
              It wasn’t just down to the engine, but also the fact that Williams appear to have continued developing their car for longer (remember that they were introducing new bodywork for Abu Dhabi) that helped them pull clear of Red Bull. The loss of Prodromou will hurt Red Bull, so it will depend on whether having to restructure their design team may hurt Red Bull a little too. Still, I would expect them to remain pretty competitive anyway.

            2. As anon rightly pointed out, they used Petronas which was developed alongside the Mercedes engine. So it was the combination to use. McLaren had their sponsor to honour so that might have hindered them somewhat. Lotus are using Petronas next year as well.

              On a slightly different note: If Exxon developed their fuel to work with Honda for next year, then that could help McLaren.

      2. @brunes I was looking forward to some fresh blood being added in Williams at the end of the season. Some new technical guy like Peter Prod.

    5. I think Massa was right about Williams Aero but i doubt Ferrari is lagging as much behind as they were in the past few years(2009-13). Ferrari problem came with the over weighted engine and little turbo but their Aero this year for the first is more or less a match for RBR in Raw aka high end downforce values and what ever updates they introduced was running in the races instead of only FP’s like past years at races like Germany they are able to run more AOA than some teams like RBR , Mclaren.
      The Problem of Ferrari is the car is unable to produce the Downforce Consistently with the likes of Redbull and Williams and the issues with Very much under powered engine they didn’t able to run more due to the lack of grunt. Better example might be the very less Front wing development as it stayed more or less same from Bahrain Testing to Yasmarina race with changes of Front Wing End Plates (FWEP) to not to make more drag
      2015 is a year of chaos at start for Ferrari but if they are able to get any stability they can be in contention for 2nd fastest car by the end of 2015 only if they get every thing work better in all areas.

    6. I think Massa may be right about the aero department but he didn’t drive for Ferrari in 2014. In 2014 there was a massive gap between Mercedes power and the rest and Williams success relies heavily on that. Williams shouldn’t be in any way overconfident or secure of their 2nd place hierarchy and I’m sure they will expect more in the near future. Williams is also on a plan of rehabilitation led by Pat Symonds, they are practically a year ahead of Ferrari in that department. It’s clear now that the year is gone, that Williams were very far from Mercedes on actual chassis and aero performance, but Williams managed their car very well including improved tyre management in 2014 and they were very effective at times with weekend management. In the end to win Williams hopes of signing with another engine supplier one that would allow them to be free.

      1. Ferrari power unit is better than Renault, Lotus surely have better aero than Sauber but Sauber was faster over the course of the season, although by tiny margin. it just did not reflected in the standings and another evidence is Marussia was ahead of Caterham by some margin unlike last year where they were very close, I think the gap between Ferrari power unit is closer to Mercedes than to Renault.

    7. Watch video Murray Walker’s Christmas message

      Available to UK users only.

      1. @f1mre Try Hola.

        Btw, from where are you friend.

        1. @Foosa Many thanks, it works. :)

          I’m from Hungary.

          1. @f1mre Why do they country restrict these kind of content?

            1. The video contains FOM-licensed content and BBC only have permission to broadcast it within the UK.

    8. There’s an interesting article in MotorSport comparing Wiliams and Ferrari.

      How is James Allison coping amid the chaos? Well last season Williams moved up the grid as the season progressed while Ferrari slid down.

      It’s hard to tell from the outside but with all the sackings, and now Marchionne alienating any Monte allies that haven’t been sacked, it’s easy to wonder if Sergio and Maurizio might do for Ferrari what Mike Coughlan did for Williams.

    9. Williams aero better than Ferrari’s – Massa

      I have to disagree here. Ferrari were better than Williams around Monaco, Hungary, and Singapore. Those are 3 of the slowest circuits on the calendar where engine power disadvantage is minimized; and in those cases, Williams got trashed by Ferrari. I do believe that the Merc PU flattered Williams this season, and Ferrari probably had a better chassis.

      1. @kingshark Have you driven Ferrari’s and Williams’ F1 cars of the last few seasons? If you haven’t then I would assume Massa knows better than anybody on this site.

        1. @huhhii
          Massa said this:
          “[Aerodynamic development is] something that did not work for so many years at Ferrari, so that was positive for the team.”
          I’d like to clarify that the statement above does not translate into “Williams have better aero than Ferrari”, it’s just that they were able to develop it better from the base.

          Still though, if Williams’ chassis is ahead aerodynamically, then why did Ferrari always beat them around the slowest circuits on the calendar (eg. Monaco, Hungary, Singapore) despite Williams having the better engine?

          1. @kingshark I would argue that supersoft tires just suited Ferrari better than Williams. At least Kimi felt himself the most comfortable in that dog of a car everytime supersofts were used.

            ALO-RAI pair is godlike in natural speed, so Ferrari getting better results is just based on Kimi liking his car more than usual and Alonso being his normal self. Kimi and Alonso can get better results with a slower car than pair BOT-MAS.

      2. @kingshark
        Unfortunately the 3 circuits you picked are actually irrelevant to aero performance and efficiency (drag/downforce), precisely because they’re slow. Aero at low speeds doesn’t play a role. Instead, power delivery, traction and braking are important. Barcelona, Silverstone, Spa or Suzuka would be examples of aero-demanding circuits and in those instances Williams finished ahead.

        1. @andrewf1
          Ferrari finished only 8 seconds behind Williams in Spain, despite being down on power.
          In Silverstone Alonso was as fast as Bottas and making his way through the field just as quickly (despite less power) until he had technical problems in the car. Williams also finished ahead of Red Bull in Silverstone, did Williams have a better chassis than RBR?
          Spa is as much about engine power as it is about aero, so for Kimi to be so close to Bottas despite having a way inferior PU is quite telling.
          And in Suzuka, we never got to see a straight fight because of Alonso’s technical problems. I suspect that Alonso would have owned Williams in the wet, though we’ll never know.
          Also, Hungaroring is more about aero than you think. In the race, Williams were completely outclassed by Ferrari.
          Malaysia and China are two other aero circuits where Ferrari finished comfortably ahead.
          Ferrari have also been almost always faster than Williams when the rain hits the track (Australia, Malaysia, China & Belgium qualifying). In the rain, the power disadvantage is minimized and a superior chassis shines through.

          1. I would quibble about China being a track where a decent chassis tends to shine, because there is also the unusual quirk that the Chinese GP tends to be a front traction limited circuit. That does tend to throw up slightly unusual results – for example, most observers would say that the RB9 had the best chassis design on the grid, but in the 2013 Chinese GP both Webber and Vettel were struggling for pace to a far greater extent than you’d expect. Or just look back to 2007, when Button managed to drag the RA107 – where the chassis was fundamentally and massively flawed – into 5th place, beating many far better cars in the process.

          2. @kingshark

            First of all, let’s set the record straight that race results do not correlate directly to aero performance. If they did, one might as well point out that Williams finished more than 100 points ahead of Ferrari. A million things can happen in a race.

            Second of all, I should correct my initial post. If we want to see aero performance in action, the best thing to look out for are the Qualifying or FP3 sector times on circuits with sectors which have high-speed turns but also long straights (some of the circuits I mentioned). It’s important to look at both because aero efficiency relies on the best balance between downforce and drag. Williams’ aero was better than Ferrari’s because it generated downforce without generating as much drag. They had greater top speed than the Ferrari – they were even faster than the Mercedes cars on the straights – but they also had better sector times in the high speed portions of the tracks. Also, during the races, both Williams cars always used the least amount of fuel, which again indicated less overall drag for their cars.

            Last but not least, some notions need to be cleared up:
            1) An F1 car’s chassis has nothing to do with aerodynamics. The chassis lies underneath the skin of the car and constitutes the internal structural framework of the car, to which the engine and suspension are attached.
            2) Monaco, Singapore and Hungary do not rely on aero performance. The corners are slow and the straights are short, there are very few places on those tracks in which a car’s aerodynamic efficiency can play a deciding role. However, what matters the most on those tracks is mechanical grip. Mechanical grip is a function of the suspension, the weight distribution, the traction, power delivery to the tires and acceleration out of corners. It also plays a significant role in the wet.
            If Ferrari outraced Williams on those tracks on raw pace alone, then it’s most certainly because of better mechanical grip and not because of better aerodynamics.

            1. @andrewf1

              2) Monaco, Singapore and Hungary do not rely on aero performance. The corners are slow and the straights are short, there are very few places on those tracks in which a car’s aerodynamic efficiency can play a deciding role. However, what matters the most on those tracks is mechanical grip. Mechanical grip is a function of the suspension, the weight distribution, the traction, power delivery to the tires and acceleration out of corners. It also plays a significant role in the wet.

              The entire middle sector in Hungaroring is aero performance, and make no mistake about it, aero does play a role in Monaco and Singapore; not a huge role, but a role nevertheless. However, the main reason to why I choose those circuits is because they do not have any long straights, none of them. In such scenario, the power advantage that the Williams-Mercedes enjoys over Ferrari is minimized. Result? Ferrari trashed them around all 3 circuits. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Where was the biggest margin between Ferrari and Williams found this season? Around circuits like Bahrain, Canada, Monza, and Abu Dhabi. All 3 of those circuits are stop-and-go circuits where the right engine can make a world of difference. Coincidence? Again, I don’t think so.

            2. @Kingshark

              You do realise that aerodynamics also play a role on the straights right? As was already mentioned the Williams tended to have better straight line speed than the Mercedes, are you going to claim that they were running more power than them? Could be down to better gearing for all we know, or even the drivers, but to make claims that its purely down to engine power is pure ignorance.

              So yes the Wiliams did best compared to Ferrari at those types of circuits, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Ferrari are as down on power as you seem to think. Hell the number of people here claiming that Ferrari had by far the worst powerplant is ridiculous. I’m sure Lotus wouldn’t agree anyway!

            3. @skett

              You do realise that aerodynamics also play a role on the straights right? As was already mentioned the Williams tended to have better straight line speed than the Mercedes, are you going to claim that they were running more power than them? Could be down to better gearing for all we know, or even the drivers, but to make claims that its purely down to engine power is pure ignorance.

              I’m fairly certain that drivers don’t make a whole lot of difference down the straight. Yes, Williams were faster than Mercedes down the straight, that’s because Mercedes were always running a lot more wing than Williams. Williams got trashed by Mercedes by a lot bigger margins around high-downforce circuits than they did around low-downforce circuits, like the Red Bull Ring and Monza. But what makes you think that Ferrari couldn’t have ran a similar low-downforce configuration like efficiently if they too had a Mercedes engine?

              Hell the number of people here claiming that Ferrari had by far the worst powerplant is ridiculous. I’m sure Lotus wouldn’t agree anyway!

              Tell that to Sauber, who were worse than even Lotus this season, and got trashed by them around Monza. Likewise, Caterham also beat Marussia around Monza; and Red Bull beat Ferrari there. Coincidence? I think not.

    10. There are certainly reasons to be excited for 2015, as Murray says. Hopefully some more teams can get into the mix and make a championship battle like 2010 again.

    11. Another F1 race that should not be happening? http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30606466

      That makes at least four by my reckoning.

      Governments everywhere worried about their brutality and injustice should take note – hosting F1 is a great way to get the media to focus attention on brighter things.

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