Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Paul Ricard, 2019

Ferrari still seeking answers to car problems after removing floor upgrade

2019 French Grand Prix

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto admitted the team’s floor upgrade did not work as expected and was removed from the car before qualifying for the French Grand Prix.

Binotto said the team expected Paul Ricard would be a difficult circuit for them but said he was disappointed their upgrade package had not worked as expected.

“We were expecting a difficult race weekend here in Paul Ricard,” said Binotto after the team’s cars finished third and fifth. “We said it’s a circuit that could be very similar to Barcelona in some respects and if you look at last year we were as poor in Ricard as we were in Barcelona. So I think in that respect we improved a bit, not yet sufficiently, but we were not expecting to close the gap at all here in Ricard.

“We brought some upgrades, some of them work well, others not. We removed the floor from the car after Friday practice. It’s always a shame when something are not working so we’ve got some homework to do in that respect.

“But that’s ensuring that we’ve got some margin to improve the car so at least the direction that we are starting to set is the right one. [There’s] still much to do but overall I think that you cannot say [it was] a positive weekend but I think not too bad as well considering initial expectations.”

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Ferrari front wing, Paul Ricard, 2019
Analysis: How Ferrari has evolved its novel front wing
Ferrari did run its revised front wing, rear and and front brake ducts. Binotto indicated there were other upgrades not visible on the car’s surface.

“I don’t think we got all the answers from this weekend because the floor not working properly [is] a lack of answers,” Binotto admitted. “So we will still work on that one.

“I think we’ll have some test items again in Austria, try to better understand. I think we will fully understand only when all the parts properly work as expected.”

The race weekend provided further evidence that the team needs to trade off straight-line speed for aerodynamic performance, said Binotto.

“We are looking for eventually more downforce to the detriment of the speed. I believe the car will not be too efficient but giving more downforce to get the tyres working. That will be the direction to go.

“I think again here on Saturday we’ve seen how difficult it is to make the tyres work. That’s something on which we are focused on.”

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Dieter Rencken
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20 comments on “Ferrari still seeking answers to car problems after removing floor upgrade”

  1. Ferrari can’t develop a car, that should be clear by now

    1. @johnmilk – something something aerodynamics for those something something can’t make good engines.

      1. @phylyp Live footage from Maranello (it’s just a GIF, you can open it)

        1. You have made my day though :) and I’m a Ferrari fan.

    2. It’s hard to take but obviously Ferrari just can’t understand what to do …

      I recollect that McLaren , in some 201x, was able to change the car in 2 weeks after they had completely slow car in the first two races.

      1. And then took another 6 years before changing their car after the first race.

  2. Is it me or does it seem like a lot of Ferrari’s going backwards has happened since James Allison’s switch? Since his work still most likely had influence on their cars for atleast a year or more afterwards, which seems to be around the time they’ve started to really struggle to understand what direction to take their car? And around the year mark of his switch Mercedes seemed to have gotten ontop of practically all of the deficiencies when it comes to cornering and getting the tyres working

    1. To me it looks like Ferrari aren’t doing as badly as the current hype would have it. They have a pretty good car this year. Mercedes have turned up with an absolutely outstanding car, though: the gap is mainly due to Mercedes overperforming rather than Ferrari underperforming.

      Clearly Mercedes have produced a particularly brilliant car this year, even by their recent standards. That alone should make us wonder if it is going to go down as one of the greatest F1 cars ever built.

      1. Exactly. Ferrari should have won in Bahrain and Canada and most likely in Baku as well (Leclerc looked on for pole and they had a better race pace) . The championship would have been a huge lot more competitive then.

    2. Don’t know details, but given the basic info I think you’re wrong. Allison left Ferrari almost 3 years ago (summer 2016), then (officially) joined Mercedes before the start of 2017 season. Dunno how much influence he had on the 2017 car, but I kinda doubt it was that much. So, actually Ferrari moved forward once he left the team… because they built faster cars compared to 2014-2016. Faster cars 3 years in a row. Thing is not that they went backwards, but that Allison might have helped them beat Mercedes if stayed.

    3. Allison’s contract was terminated by Marchionne in July 2016 after he failed to respond to a request from Arrivabene to be alongside the team in Silverstone. Since his wife died tragically days before the Australian GP, Allison has been spending most of his time in England and Ferrari were more than understandable with regard to his personal situation.
      As for the 2017 car, it was Simone Resta’s work with some monitoring of the old Fox (Rory Byrne).
      It’s quite the exact opposite, since Allison quit Ferrari the team improved drastically in the design department.

  3. We are looking for eventually more downforce to the detriment of the speed. I believe the car will not be too efficient but giving more downforce to get the tyres working. That will be the direction to go.

    Kind of what Craig Scarborough said earlier this season, Ferrari and Mercedes power is probably around the same, albeit with Ferrari doing something different with their engine recovery, but Mercedes have traded off some straight line speed for downforce, cornering speed and tyre temp windows in their overall design. Taking Bottas and Leclerc as parameters, they don’t seem too far off.

    1. At least Merc is burning oil and Ferrari does not shows it any more.

      1. erikje Just stop making up nonsense. It was Ferrari who was burning oil. With even an extra oil tank for it. They got caught and had to remove that system in Baku 2018. Coincidentally Ferrari was a lot less competitive after that race.

        1. @f1osaurus
          The oil burning matter was initially prompted by RBR when they kept questioning Mercedes superior pace especially in Qualy and have actually asked for a clarification from the FIA in 2015 and the response was that such a practice is banned.

          The FIA actually investigated both Ferrari and Mercedes oil systems in Montreal 2015 and took samples from the auxiliary oil tank of Lewis/Seb cars after free practice and qualifying and ruled that both systems are legal.
          Ferrari have actually developed the idea further, till the FIA issued a directive ahead of the Azerbaijan GP that pushed Ferrari to remove their second oil tanks if I’m not wrong.

          The FIA has issued another directive after the Hungarian GP stating that the new engines introduced starting from Monza have to comply with even a stricter limit, Mercedes rushed their lats engine upgrade in Spa to use the original limit till the rest of the season.

          Mercedes were actually burning fuel before even Ferrari started doing it. The problem is not with the teams who exploit loopholes in the regs, the problem is the FIA that took 3 years to impose a proper ban on the oil burning matter.

          1. @tifoso1989 You can write a lot of text, but the sole fact remains that Ferrari was caught with an extra oil tank with a different specification of oil for the oil burning system and they were told to remove it.

            Ferrari were indeed actually slower after that and Mercedes showed no sudden difference in pace at all at anu point in that season.

    2. @david-br, there has also been a suggestion that there might have been something else in play with Ferrari.

      Auto Motor und Sport notes that the FIA issued seven technical directives in the weeks leading up to the French GP, one of which related to the way in which the rear wing was attached to the end plates. The rules stated that the rear wing main plane has to be fixed with two bolts, but it appears that some teams were installing the rearmost bolt through an extended slot. By doing so, it allowed the rear wing main plane to flatten at high speed, reducing the amount of drag it produced and thus increasing top speeds – that has now been outlawed as a movable aerodynamic device, and the upper bolt hole must now be a circular hole that does not allow the wing to translate.

      Now, which team it was depends on whom exactly you ask, since the FIA directive discretely leaves out the name of the team responsible for the directive. Ferrari seem to be convinced that it was Mercedes, whilst Mercedes in turn seem to be convinced that it was Ferrari – Red Bull, meanwhile, seem to be accusing Ferrari and Mercedes of both doing that, whilst denying they were doing it with the sort of vigour that has made some think “the lady doth protest too much”.

      What is more certain is that the FIA is also clamping down on using airflow through the wastegates to blow more air across the mini wings that have appeared on the crash structure of some cars by using the MGU to keep spinning up the turbocharger when the driver was off the throttle (giving a small but measurable benefit in performance).

      Now, two teams did ask the FIA if they could postpone the introduction of that technical directive for two races so they could rewrite the software for their power units – according to AMuS, one of those teams is Ferrari.

  4. Hasn’t this been going on with Ferrari since… I dont know…2008?

    When Domeniciali was in charge, you go the feeling that although they we’re slower than the other front runners, they did function quite well as a team. Their strategy was sound, and they weren’t prone to gaffes that occurs in regularity these days.

    In all honest, Mattia Binotto looks like a nice guy, but I get the feeling that he is overwhelmed but the sheer task thats on hand. As I’ve said before, Ferrari are now struggling with a power vacuum. The period after the fall of every dictatorship is succeed by a period of disarray. Ferrari have had strong characters at their helm since the days of The Old Man…now there is no one of the sort.

    For the sake of F1, they must get better. Having said all this, I think Vettel needs to go off on a break. He seems quite spent, shadow of his former self. I think a more hungry driver may be the spark that they need.

  5. Binotto says that it is disappointing that they are not getting the correlation between track results and Codemasters F1 2019 that they had expected.

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