This weekend brought forth a few conversations about Ferrari’s power unit and perhaps the discussion is centered around what seems to be a performance advantage turned into a performance deficit, briefly, into the waning races of 2018.
An interesting article by the wonderful Mark Hughes at Motorsport Magazine led it off for me and few unpack the sport quite like Mark does. I’m not going to just repeat what Mark discussed because you can go here and read it yourself.
Someone sent me a link to a video on the same subject that Peter Windsor did and while I like those chaps a lot, their videos tend to be a question expertly set up by Peter that is then discussed at length to arrive at the conclusion that we really don’t know what they’re doing. Seems to be a recurring theme with those videos.
What I am going to discuss is the news that Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene isn’t too happy with everyone’s newly discovered insight into the teams dual batteries and configuration in which they’ve been speculating at why Ferrari seemed to be quicker but now with an additional FIA sensor, they seem to have lost pace.
“Our battery layout is quite complex, so we agreed with a request from the FIA to work together with them.
“We had the second sensor, but it does not change in any case the performance of our car.
“Despite that, I find it strange that everybody knows about the second sensor. I’ve said our battery layout I quite complex, but it’s also the intellectual property of Ferrari.
“I hope that, as everybody knows about the second sensor, in the future everybody is not going to be informed about our project.
“That could be a serious matter.”
To be honest, he’s right. The intellectual property (IP) is a very serious issue and if the FIA were the only ones who knew the intricacies then that’s even a bigger issue. I’d be very concerned about how the press are now speaking about intimate details of my car’s design and system operations too.
The argument is that they did seem to have better straight-line speed but now, seemingly, have lost it. This isn’t the case according to Arrivabene:
“It’s nothing to do with the speed on the straights, because in Singapore and Russia we were quicker,” he said.
“We were ahead in Singapore and in Russia we were near to our competitors.
“In Singapore and Russia, we were more or less like Mercedes on the straights. Where we lost was in the slow-speed corners. We have the data to confirm it.”
Arrivabene says they are also having difficulty with tire management compared to Mercedes and that’s odd as it used to be one of their better qualities.
“We are suffering in high- and medium-downforce tracks,” he said. “Especially on slower corners we are in trouble.
“We miss load, and this problem leads us to have difficulties in the management of the tires, because we cannot always put the tires into the right operating window.”
The battle to figure out what other teams are doing is all part of F1. Hired photographers to take closeup pictures of the competition, watching video replays of a car when the bodywork is off etc. IF Ferrari felt that the level of detail was beyond what a competitor might gain from proximity, there could be some grounds for a very tight lock on their IP and questions about how that information became public.
Hat Tip: Autosport