At this point in the season and with the Monaco Grand Prix looming this weekend, the focus now is centered around how Ferrari manage the balance of the season after suffering under the domination of five straight 1, 2 finishes by Mercedes.
Mercedes says that Monaco may prove to be a challenge for their car but they have achieved a better balance with this year’s tires than Ferrari and they will be, unfortunately, extra motivated to win this weekend in memory of their non-executive chairman, Niki Lauda, who passed away this week.
No doubt Ferrari feel the loss too as Niki meant a great deal to the team in the 70’s but they have a job to do and they’ve just completed a deep-dive analysis of their issues. Team boss, Mattia Binotto, said after the Spanish Grand Prix:
“is it a matter of balance, is it a matter of downforce, is it maybe even car concept?”.
For their sake, let’s hope it isn’t the entire car design concept and something that they can get on top of. As Autosport points out, the Ferrari SF90 was designed to move air away from the car and control the flow of air away from the front tires in an effort to control outwash. The Mercedes chose a different solution channeling the air inward and down to create more downforce.
Regardless, like we saw in 2018, the thinner tread Pirelli tires favor the Mercedes and Mattia says that they are a major factor in Ferrari’s performance.
“Last week’s testing in Barcelona and analyses carried out in Maranello confirmed just how much this year’s tyres, which are very different to those we had in 2018, require different mechanical and aerodynamic settings to work properly,” said Binotto.
“We are already working in Maranello on evaluating new concepts, as well as bringing some initial further updates here.”
Pirelli, as we said last week, are confused by the talk of Haas and other teams with regards to the narrow window of performance the tires are providing. Is it a mere deflection or is something else? I tend to think that many of the teams, other than Mercedes, are all stating real struggles with the tires this year.
Autosport reports that there was a meeting at Ferrari last week with support being given to Mattia and a decision to increase the budget for the SF90 development at the expense of early development of the 2020 car. that’s a tough decision to make and one has to be confident they can overcome the current deficit.
If you were running Ferrari, would you hold off on early 2020 development in favor of trying to develop the 2019 car further? The 2020 could benefit from anything you gain on this year’s car as an evolution so perhaps the decision isn’t that difficult?
Hat Tip: Autosport