In 2017, Ferrari enjoyed its most successful championship campaign for seven years.
But following its strong start the team’s form dipped. The SF70H won just one race after the summer break, and that didn’t happen until Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes had locked up both titles. By then, Red Bull had ousted them as the most consistent challenger to the silver cars courtesy of Max Verstappen’s wins in Malaysia and Mexico.
The desire to regain that lost impetus is strong. If they can’t stop Mercedes sweeping both titles this year, Ferrari will lose its status as the only team in F1 history to ‘do the double’ for five years running. And Sebastian Vettel would very likely see Lewis Hamilton overtake his tally of world championships.
The SF70H generated excellent downforce, as demonstrated by its wins in Monaco and Hungary. It proved a much less track-and-temperature sensitive design than Mercedes’ W08, allowing its drivers to be in the mix at most tracks.
But not for the first time the team didn’t make the same performance gains throughout the season as its closest rivals did. Will the longer, W08-aping SF71H offer greater development opportunities?
Its power unit brought it a significant step towards competing on an equal footing with Mercedes. But once tighter restrictions on oil-burning were introduced here too Ferrari lost its edge.
It appears they are still pushing the rules as hard as they can in this regard. During testing the SF71H consistently departed its garage in a haze of oil smoke. The gas was being vented from the breather, a new requirement under the 2018 regulations, but exactly why the Ferrari is doing this more than other cars remains to be seen. It does, however, reinforce suspicions they were gaining more than other teams from using oil in the combustion chamber for extra power last year.
Reliability problems relating to the power unit tripped Ferrari up in the second half of 2017. It can ill-afford a repeat now its drivers are limited to three power units per year (and only two examples of some components).
Although Ferrari’s collapse in form during the trio of Asian races which ended their championship hopes was undoubtedly a huge blow to its legion of fans, there was some encouragement to be taken from it. The defeat was not accompanied by the blame-game and sackings which became something of a tradition in the team’s latter years under previous president Luca di Montezemolo.
Sergio Marchionne has shown faith in the team’s home-grown top talent, which is headed for a fourth year by Maurizio Arrivabene. Marchionne has also strived to keep the media at arm’s length, reducing its interaction to a bare minimum, in an attempt to dampen speculation about the team’s potential. That will not have been made easier this year by the fact Ferrari set by far the best testing time of any of the pre-season favourites
However Ferrari perform on the track, the team can be relied upon to cause fireworks away from the circuit as well. Its head-on collision with the sport’s commercial rights holders Liberty Media over planned rules changes for 2021 is a story which can be expected to run throughout the year ahead.
Headlines about a potential Ferrari departure from Formula One also serve as a useful distraction from the absence of recent championship silverware at Maranello. Unless they turn things around in the season ahead, they’ll have gone 10 years without winning a title.
The team continues to enjoy unique preferential treatment in terms of its power to veto rules and receive huge income bonus. But these are increasingly coming into question: FIA president Jean Todt has indicated the veto “will be discussed” and Liberty Media has said it wants a fairer model of income distribution among the teams.
Why hasn’t Ferrari won more titles in spite of these advantages? And can it be persuaded to remain in F1 yet surrender its preferential status? The future of F1’s most famous team rests on the answers to these questions.
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58 comments on “Ferrari needs a title to avoid a 10-year championship drought”
13th March 2018, 11:26
they couldnt avoid it… the title is wrong
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
13th March 2018, 18:10
No it isn’t: They were constructors’ champions in 2008 and there have been nine seasons since then.
13th March 2018, 11:33
One of Ferrari’s big advantages has been their boldness in favouring one driver over another once they’ve established themselves (Alonso, Vettel) or from the off with Schumacher.
If Mclaren had done this, then Ferrari would have had less titles.
McLaren would have certainly owned Ferrari’s 2007 WDC with similar philosophy and likely both of Ferrari’s 2008 titles had they held on to Alonso.
13th March 2018, 11:34
Will probably screw them over in terms of WCC, but makes them more likely to win the WDC.
13th March 2018, 12:04
Your logic is very flawed. Mclaren intended to do it as Alonso had a no 1 driver clause in his contract but they dint enforce it as both drivers were very close. Ferrari played fair in 2008 when they favored Massa just because he was the only one who could have won the WDC that year over Kimi their unofficial no 1 driver. At the end of the day drivers who bring in points consistently are the defacto no 1 driver no matter what your contract says. Look at Vettel during 2014 where he played 2nd fiddle to Riccairdo
Ben Needham (@ben-n)
13th March 2018, 12:13
Completely agree. The only real difference being the No.1 driver really brings in a team is preferential treatment on equipment and strategy. Once two identical parts exist, no team is going to deliberately hinder it’s own performance by dramatically favouring one driver on track. Looking at Raikkonen and Vettel last year at Monaco or Hungary, it’s the obvious choice to “let” Vettel win the race, as he had already established himself as the obvious candidate for the Championship. Were the situation reversed, Kimi would have been allowed to race/win.
13th March 2018, 18:44
Well then we can ignore all those reports that claimed that Schumacher and Alonso had bigger inputs into their car’s desgins at Renault and Ferrari.
13th March 2018, 18:49
13th March 2018, 19:02
The second fact that you’re also unaware of is that Schumacher’s privilege extended to Ferrari being prepared to buy the key Benetton championship winning staff to take with him to Ferrari.
I would say that fact and Schumacher’s input into car design was massive and unprecedented.
13th March 2018, 18:38
My logic isnt flawed.
Had McLaren signed either Alonso or Schumacher in 2005/2006, on a Schumacher style privildge it would have most likely resulted in Lewis being loaned out anyway. (Which IMO would have made him an even better driver today not the one who was outscored by Alonso on the underpowerd Renault for half the 2008 season and who later often went off the boil towards the end of seasons)
13th March 2018, 13:02
Let me see if I get this right.
You think McLaren could have won more championships if they went the no1 route.
And then you mention the 2008 Ferrari titles? Ferrari won the WCC that year, Hamilton won the WDC, while being the no1 driver at McLaren.
Also in 2007, and you might have missed this, McLaren scored more points than Ferrari, (even though according to you they didn’t have a no 1 driver) they only lost because they were disqualified. The WDC that year went to Ferrari most likely because of the internal meltdown (you know with the no 1 driver getting upset and stuff like emails)
Still think the no 1 driver thing is a good strategy for McLaren?
13th March 2018, 18:32
No John, you’re way off as usual.
I remember that time you were unable to grasp my comments that nobody succesfully replaced Alonso in any team whilst in one of your regular ‘Alonso bashing’ moods. Yet you waffled on without showing any evidence a another driver had.
Alonso has always wanted the full Schumacher treatment but never received it. In fact some sources suggest he initially signed for McLaren before the 2006 season because Ron hinted at a N01 policy.
So yes. Making Alonso Number 1 in 2007 2008 as per Schumacher’ privalidge, I think they would have got both drivers titles.
Not sure why youre yapping about meltdowns in 2007. That just proves my point about infighting and the arrogance now being reported about Hamilton. Alonso having the Schumacher treatment would have avoided all of this.
Alonso by the way had nothing to do with 2 mates exchanging information between Ferrari and McLaren.
13th March 2018, 21:51
I like you Big Joe you are funny. I was expecting you to tell me again that my behaviour isn’t welcomed to this website once again, I guess you held me to a higher regard now hey?
I will continue to be way off as usual because I don’t agree with you, some might call it an opinion, I will give it another try.
Care to publish your hindsight on why you think teams haven’t replaced Alonso? Despite all of them having achieved the same or better results compared to the time he was there? Exception being Renault, even though he did won a few races when he got back there, he had done better previously, of course that was down to the car.
Its funny that you accuse me of not showing evidence, but you’re basing your argument on the speculation that McL would have won both titles if Alonso had stayed there with no 1 status, odd isn’t it?
I’m yapping about meltdowns, because if things had run smoother, Mclaren wouldn’t have diverted their attention off track, and they had a good chance of finishing P1 and P2 in the WDC and P1 in the WCC.
“Alonso by the way had nothing to do with 2 mates exchanging information between Ferrari and McLaren.” Never said he did, did I?
14th March 2018, 9:48
Which McLaren and Ferrari drivers improved the ‘harmony’ and ‘atmosphere’, or tidied up the ‘mess’ after Alonso left? This was the debate regarding Piquet Sr’ comments.
Or better still, brought some kind of magic that they might had before he went there?
It didnt happen. Only in your Alosno disparaging mind. The jury was/is still out on Vettel, yet he let himself down last year although no worse than Ferrari have let him and Alonso down.
As regards to ‘speculation’ over 2007. Alonso and Massa were already both 2-0 up over Lewis in the first 5 races. A Schumacher style privilege would have seen Alonso handed back the second places he lost clashing with Massa for the lead and won him the championship. Never mind having a rear gunner the whole season.
Speaking of Meltdowns, you even managed to miss the biggest one in that their striving for perfection in equality (that Ive claimed is where Ferrari have had an advantage yet got taken to task for it) they were giving drivers equal fuel burn time to the point of Alonso getting stiched up also points that would won him the title.
14th March 2018, 12:37
You can keep accusing me of being biased all you want, it won’t make you any more right.
You got me there though, the harmony at McLaren in 07 is still to be replicated.
Damn it, I really was way off as usual
14th March 2018, 14:30
are you Cathy Newman in disguise?
At no point did I claim McLaren had harmony in 2007. On the contrary I highlighted the ‘meltdown’ in 2007 (which backs up my point about Ferrari being bold) that you overlooked.
I stand by my OP. and I stand by my points that Piquet was totally wrong in Alonso made a ‘mess’ of every team he was in, because not a sinlge driver came in and ‘tidied up’.
In fact it’s recently been revealed that Button had a better relationship at McLaren with Alonso than he did with Lewis all along (as well as the revelations many mechanics though Lewis was arrogant) all the time whilst being beaten by Alonso in a ‘messy’ Ferrari team.
You are way off as you were one of the original propagators of the myth that ‘no one wants Alonso’ a myth that gets continually exposed. With you recently even resorting to having a dig at the lengths McLaren were going to keep him happy.
14th March 2018, 15:07
Wait, I created a myth? I never knew I was so important in the internet. But McLaren does want Alonso, so does Renault (or at least they hinted at that), but some time ago they said they didn’t want to spend so much on a driver and not give him the tools that he searches. But if I said that “no one wants Alonso” please point me to it, as I don’t recall it, I might have said that Mercedes and Ferrari don’t want him, which is different, an opinion based on comments of Toto, Lauda and Marchionne (I can point you to them if you wish)
My digs are pointed to McLaren not the driver, I would said the same thing if it was any other, apart from the one that I have on my profile picture, but I would be biased on that situation.
You are right you didn’t said there was harmony in 2007, but you said no one came to tie things up (note that, that job isn’t responsibility of the driver), but things were pretty calm in 08 with Kovaleinen, of course he is no way near as talented as Alonso, but that wasn’t up to discussion either.
Also, don’t know why you are defending your position regarding Piquet’s comments, I never mentioned that. But since you think every comment of mine is directed at attacking Alonso, and that I’m so biased against him, I guess that it is normal you keep bringing stuff like that up.
13th March 2018, 20:28
Not quite true. McLaren had more combined points than Ferrari in the WDC not in the WCC. Even if they weren’t disqualified from the constructors championship they would have finished 1 point behind Ferrari.
I’ll let you figure out why.
13th March 2018, 21:38
@asanator it is basically the same, they didn’t get points in Hungary because of some infregemnt. But their drivers still kept them. You get the point
13th March 2018, 14:52
That’s not remotely true. 07 Both Ferrari drivers were on similar pace and both wasted points on each other, as was the case with mclaren in the end massa gave raikkonen a lift, somehow Raikkonen clawed back. 08 again Ferrari drivers were on similar pace and tripped on each other, whilst heikki wasn’t on Lewis radar. Typical kimi bad luck meant he was off the title by a bigger margin than 07.
13th March 2018, 18:48
Sorry where did I talk about Massa and Raikkonon establishing themselves as the superior, or being given number 1 from the off? They didnt, so I didnt mention it.
13th March 2018, 18:49
13th March 2018, 19:23
Big Joe or whoever is behind this anonymous tag. You spoke McLaren,
I didn’t disagree but you painted a unilateral picture of the 07/08 title fights.
I gave my thoughts on Ferrari, it wasn’t a number 1 driver situation, yet they won and when it was
Ferrari didn’t win at least immediately, Schumi won on year 5 of ferrari.
I’m not saying no, but 07 sure, 08 no, 00 maybe they were already on a number 1 driver contract and 03 that season was all about tyres.
13th March 2018, 20:00
Joseph to you then.
Alonso being signed on a privileged agreement in 2005 (for the 2007 season) like Ferrari did with Schumacher would have seen him with a competent but no threat teammate. It would have also seen car design/development favour his style and if they became short on resources or found it tough going providing two equal cars then more resources would have gone into his car. He may have also been able to ask for staff from elsewhere to be poached in his favour.
In 2008 he outscored Lewis in the second half in the low budget and 90hp defecient Renault, Ive no doubt under the Schumacher scenario at McLaren and the harmony and comfort factor that also would have given him he would have easily won 2007/2008 for McLaren. No doubts at all.
As we know, McLaren were the complete opposite. In wanting to provide 2 equal cars and the best possible drivers or prospects.
This is why I said Ferrari were “bold”. They eventually gave Alonso the comfort he craved. There are also the reports the Ferrari was designed to suit his style.
McLaren gave us equal battles between Senna-Prost, Coulthard-Häkkinen, Alonso-Hamilton which were all great for the Neutral, but Ferrari’s philosophy worked for the Schumacher era and McLaren’s has cost them.
As it stands, Ferrari still havnt showed signs of doing a McLaren or even Red Bull in getting the two best possible drivers for a Senna – Prost style era.
14th March 2018, 1:15
@bigjoe I was kind of agreeing with your logic and pointing out the irony that Ferrari was less successful with uneven driver pairing than lopsided, I also stated that even if you are right it wouldn’t be a sure thing as you can’t factor the oppostion, that said now I’m actually disagreeing with several points you just made.
I see the where it could benefit McLaren to have a number 1 driver preference, that’s where we agree. PS: 2nd half 08 includes Singapore.
That’s what the press, pundits said, and what you said is not true. Coulthard-Häkkinen, there was a preference for Mika, David never admitted that it was full number 01 though. Senna-Prost everyone knows Dennis was partial to Ayrton, He supported Ayrton’s claim after the Suzuka clash. Alonso-Hamilton, Alonso claims Dennis not only didn’t give him number one status, he claims Dennis actually favoured Lewis. (Don’t know if I can trust that).
Inaccurate, Ferrari don’t sign 2 top drivers that’s unquestionable, unimpeachable.
McLaren though, since 08 they’ve never signed an equal status contract, and it’s not the first time.
I don’t know what to say about this. Every car is made to suit a driver and when there’s stability on the line-up, it’s made to suit both drivers as both give feedback. Felipe Massa is very dishonest, he’ll say one thing to the Italian press another to the rigged Sky question and another thing to the Brazilian press. Sky asked if the Ferrari was suited to his driving style and if it was rather designed to suit Alonso as an excuse for Massa’s lack of pace, and of course that’s a rigged question, and of course Massa nodded his head. Ever since Alonso’s comeback to McLaren, Alonso is a star, everyone likes Alonso, particularly the people that loved to dislike him. Massa gave him comfort by being slow. Hey, Alonso was so privileged that he had, on his contract the power to exert a clause that gave him the option to stay or leave Ferrari. Nevertheless, he was livid when Ferrari and Vettel announced their connection, without his knowledge and before Alonso confirmed that he was leaving Ferrari.
14th March 2018, 14:46
“Nevertheless, he was livid when Ferrari and Vettel announced their connection, without his knowledge and before Alonso confirmed that he was leaving Ferrari.”
Alonso had already visited the Honda factory by then iirc. Honda and McLaren were also a bigger partnership than Ferrari and a big draw, Whitmarsh also gave an interview on Sky at least 1 year prior saying they would look at Alonso again.
Alonso is a fool for never accepting the offers from Brawn and Newey teams and falling for Ron’s ‘vision’ twice now. Which they are now on a different path from anyway, yet he’s still believing what he claims to have believed in 2008, that he had unfished business at McLaren.
McLaren and Ferrari have both run different philosophies over the periods Ive talked about and always backed these up with statements, however you spin the complex politics that occur.
13th March 2018, 11:59
Won’t happen anytime soon. They cannot even win the game rigged for them to win.
javier javier (@j3d89)
13th March 2018, 13:11
You mean the game rigged for them that had almost all engine development frozen for couple of years so Ferrari had an easy walk with the tittle with Nico and Hamilton… Ohh wait… 🤗
Stephen Crowsen (@drycrust)
13th March 2018, 16:44
Yes, that’s about right. The Token System was intended to keep one engine manufacturer in front and everyone else behind. So, before the 2014 season started, which team do you think the FIA thought would be the most obvious benefactor of this rule? Can you imagine that rule being created for the benefit of Mercedes or Renault? Ferrari would have vetoed that idea very quickly.
13th March 2018, 14:15
rigged for them is right.and rigged for red bull to win as well.
13th March 2018, 12:02
I wouldn’t really call it W08-aping. Yes they extended the wheel base, but the similarities pretty much end there.
javier javier (@j3d89)
13th March 2018, 13:09
Even with the longer wheel base, the Mercedes still wayyy longer..
13th March 2018, 20:36
2mm I believe. Not exactly WAY longer!
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
13th March 2018, 18:11
@pastaman Which is why it says “longer, W08-aping”.
13th March 2018, 12:24
W08-aping SF71H ….
Wow Keith, what a way to be biased. Thank you for showing your true colours.
13th March 2018, 16:13
@niedle by all means, please do enlighten us what you object to, or find so offensive.
the 2017 ferrari car was short. the 2018 ferrari car is long. almost as long as the mercedes car.
there’s a reason for that.
13th March 2018, 17:04
It is not offensive. Ferrari are just not aping the W08. All they did was lenghten the wheelbase. The cars do not look alike at all. They have totally different philisophies.
Aping is never used in a positive way, it is always used negatively. As a journalist it shows you are not objective, especially if it is not true. Hence, it shows who keith favours and who he doesn’t.
I am not a offended in any way, it just is a really bad article.
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
13th March 2018, 18:12
@niedle Bit of an over-reaction. See: https://www.racefans.net/2018/03/13/ferrari-needs-title-avoid-10-year-championship-drought/#comment-3691340
13th March 2018, 21:23
It is not the only thing bad about the article. It is so blatantly one sided and tends towards polarisation and some sensation. I have been reading this site for years, you can do better than these cheap shots at Ferrari.
13th March 2018, 19:32
@niedle a bit of an over-reaction but I agree with you
@andrewf1 The thing is @niedle and I don’t think Ferrari aped the Merc, actually it still might be one of the cars most distinct from the Mercerdes and not the only one that is longer. The RB is longer, all cars have been lengthen apart from the Merc, and I assume all other Merc cars that were already almost if not exactly as long as the Merc. Actually the RB is generally a more representative mix of what Merc did with their car and what RB always do to their car, RB even ditched the Ferrari style bargeboard of Singapore last year to the Merc concept. So who aped who?
Ferrari I don’t think they’ll be Merc’s top rival, they’ve kept a lot of their own concepts and we shall see if they can win a race.
13th March 2018, 20:23
I was under the impression McLaren’s lengthening was done reluctantly after losing the Honda (that nestled up closer to the bulkhead) not that this is relevent to the point, just interesting with the aping going on.
13th March 2018, 12:47
Not at all, In Malaysia, Vettel started from the back having failed to qualify, finished fourth almost overtaking Riccardo for 3rd, and Kimi pulled off the grid with an engine fault before the race began. Mexico, Vettel and Hamilton ended up at the back of the grid after the 3-way going into turn 3(?) on the first lap.
Redbull still only managed to win last year when Ferrari and Mercedes had problems.
13th March 2018, 15:09
@asanator exactly, for a moment I thought I was reading sky sports f1.
@keithcollantine Everyones copied the best bits of Merc, though I would say actually RB incorporated more merc than Ferrari. low slung profile, more merc like bargeboards longer wheelbase combined with the typical newey treatment on the back.
Rb improved but Ferrari still outpaced RB by the end of the season
Max won because the car was just good enough to take advantage of Mercedes and Ferraris issues and also a lot of credit for Max super agressive starts and RB tactics.
Blame tactics. Never heard Ferrari blame anyone and sack more staff than any other team. I hear it from the sensationalist press, anything Ferrari is much more publicized. This phenomenon explains the distorted perception.
Apart from Dyer, and one technical reshuffle, including Domenicalli. in the same period how many team principals have Mercedes, mclaren gone through, how many technical people have played musical chairs at woking? Ferraris work force is the most stable over the past 20 years, a lot of familiar faces, up top a few changes like any other team.
13th March 2018, 20:26
I recall Ferrari’s staff changes being more knee jerk than any other team.
13th March 2018, 18:55
Vettel was actually flying during the Malysian GP, even Max didn’t manage to match his pace. Seb made a blistering stint of 18 qualifying laps all in 1m34s and he broke the track record with the fastest lap of the race 1:34.080
14th March 2018, 3:46
Don’t underestimate verstappen in malaysia and mexico.
It’s true that baku’s win for ricciardo, or verstappen’s, had he not had his problem, was\would’ve been only cause of vettel’s mistake and hamilton’s problem, it wasn’t on merit, but in malaysia I think verstappen proved red bull was faster than mercedes, you don’t see hamilton taking a gap of 10 sec that easily, ofc ferrari was fast too, but we can’t know for sure vettel would’ve beaten verstappen, even if it’s likely he’d have been starting on pole.
And in mexico I think verstappen was so dominant compared to bottas and raikkonen that even if hamilton and vettel hadn’t contacted they wouldn’t have been able to catch him, on a good day where he doesn’t have issues (and especially kvyat just got fired) he’s unbeatable, and the car was similar to the other 2 that race.
13th March 2018, 13:35
But will it bend while taking corners? :-)
13th March 2018, 15:18
@phylyp you should start your own “will it bend…while taking corners” show.
13th March 2018, 14:24
Salient point. Although the pressure might be expectedly higher this year after getting so close.
Another factor contributing pressure – considering Italy’s not in the World Cup – the nation may be looking to their other team more than ever.
13th March 2018, 15:15
Stereotypes. I welcome open communication though I’m glad, I’m not Italian and reading this.
We lost the ashes and the six nations and murray is injured and our cyclists are doppers, let’s just hope Hamilton wins the title for the British based Mercedes, and obviously the world cup, (if the players don’t feign injuries) or else our world is over.
See not nice.
13th March 2018, 20:40
And people still wonder why Ferrari don’t talk to the British press anymore 😐
13th March 2018, 16:19
Why this continuous hogwash about Ferrari, except it has changed, Redbull, Williams, Mercedes and Mclaren also receive the same payment, Ferrari just receives more for being the only team to have been there the longest.
So when the above is said like it’s only Ferrari that receives the income bonus, it boggles the mind.
Ferrari’s veto is to stop any rule that actual affects it’s commercial interest, also all teams in ’13 were in favor of Ferrari keeping this veto.
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
13th March 2018, 22:15
Therefore it is not the same.
13th March 2018, 22:37
It still doesn’t change what I said all 4 teams receive different amounts but it’s based on the same reason.
So your assertion is a distortion of reality, as this narrative makes it seem like it’s only Ferrari that receives any kind of payment outside of normal constructors prize.
13th March 2018, 16:43
I find it astonishing for a team with the resources of Ferrari, and the unfair advantage they had with FOM in driving regulation and threatening to use veto power, to have won so little in the last 10 years. And literally they would have not even been in contention to win championships without Fernando Alonso. Last year they clearly could have won it… but this time Vettel and Ferrari together conspired to throw the championship away. Ferrari had the best car in several races that season, and even without the best car, Sebastian had a large enough advantage to win it, or at least take it to the last race. Instead… Lewis won the championship with a few races to spare.
13th March 2018, 18:45
I’ve always had the opinion that Ferrari lost their edge once limits on testing became more stringent, and they failed to adapt to the more design-heavy & simulation-heavy approach that was warranted by such a change.
The Ferrari of old could keep banging out testing laps at Maranello to gather data on all combinations they wanted to try out. Do I use front wing design A or B? Let’s bang out a 100 laps with each and see the data. How does that play into the front suspension options C, D or E? Let’s try out all 6 combinations on the track.
With limits on pre-season and in-season testing using the actual car, this approach can no longer work, and validating designs needed to use simulations and wind tunnels, which were also capped.
And I feel that this is where Ferrari have failed to adapt for a long time to designing cars by optimizing their design process based on limited data, and by optimizing their data gathering approach. This limit on testing has also led to the recent dominance of “smart designs” by gifted individuals over “big data designs” by a team, in the way of cars that people like Brawn and Newey designed.
Mercedes have shown that they’ve been able to successfully make a team of designers come up with smart designs, and Ferrari in 2017 also seemed to have started turning the corner. Why has it taken them that long? I believe it’s because such deeply ingrained behaviours take time and fresh blood to change.
14th March 2018, 8:07
Completely agree. People underestimate the amount of testing laps that were going on at Fiorano throughout the season and winter testing. Especially in the Schumacher era, the amount of testing was immense. They tried all the possible to combinations of design, suspensions, aero with track related performance and made race winning cars.
After 2008, they just haven’t been in the game. I remember Pat Fry joining them from McLaren and commenting on how poor their simulator and CFD development was as compared to McLaren. I also remember their constant wind tunnel issues and lack of track and simulation correlation.
Honestly, I think it’s a bit shameful they haven’t caught up to teams like Red Bull in the simulation department. They have the biggest budget and an option to veto rules they don’t like. They have the trump card going in every season, yet they fall short. In the hybrid era, there are only 2 teams that realistically should be fighting for the championship – Mercedes and Ferrari… Yet they have failed to win a championship in the last 4 attempts. In fact, they finished 4th in 2014 and 3rd in 2016, which is pretty pathetic if you ask me.
14th March 2018, 8:30
Thanks for bringing up that point about Pat Fry’s comments, I’d forgotten having read that earlier until now.
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