What message did Ferrari win send?

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As we parse the words and dissect the Malaysian Grand Prix, most of us feel Ferrari certainly made gains and seemed to be garnering serious tire sympathy with their 2015 chassis but have they punched above their weight or is the new Ferrari that will now take the battle to Mercedes for the title?

Most are willing to concede that Ferrari may have punched above their weight given the context of the race, safety car, heat and strategy errors they are more than willing to place at Mercedes AMG Petronas’s doorstep. Is that fair?

If Ferrari did punch above their weight but were sending a message, what message was delivered? If anything, it is a prompt to Mercedes to redouble their efforts in development and to most on the grid, that’s not a good thing. Merc boss Toto Wolff said:

“If I want to be optimistic I would say that Malaysia was a difficult one last year and the temperatures and were pretty exceptional and we suffered from those temperatures, but then that would be a bit naive. I think they’ve done a great job, they have a good car, good engine and great drivers, and we just have to analyse in the next couple of days what went wrong, where we need to improve, do we need to take some developments forward, put them on the car quicker, what are we doing about engine number two, and assess that properly. But definitely we need to increase the pace of our development.”

In essence, Mercedes reckon they need to get off their laurels and start looking at the second engine set for deployment and make sure they are developing their systems more rapidly. Use those tokens!

Truth be known, a motivated and token-rich Mercedes is not a good thing for Ferrari and Renault-powered teams. It could mean permanent infusion as a back marker or at best, mid-field supporter. Ferrari’s gain could be their pain if Merc gets too motivated but let’s hope Ferrari has a few tricks up their sleeve yet.

Hat Tip: The delightful Adam Cooper

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Joseph Simmons

Preparation, monitor, and discipline were key elements which provided the victory for Ferrari. Ferrari had put in a place a strategy which was executed flawlessly in the race. Based on the radio chatter, Ferrari didn’t sway from the plan, but there was a sense of disorder in the Mercedes camp. In the pre-season testing, Ferrari did a large amount of running on the medium tires, which is the dominant tire choose in 2015. Friday practice gave Ferrari critical feedback on the potential win with their long stints on the medium compounds. Plus the heat played into the equation too. It… Read more »

SJ Skid

At the risk of upsetting a Nico R fan (quick “hi” to Grace), what struck me — along with some good/not so good strategies — was that Vettel, Hamilton and Raikkonen looked like the class of the driving field. We may have to wait and see whether Alonso can do anything with the McLaren.

But it sure felt like Rosberg was a distant fourth in terms of what he might do this season.

Also, that Ferrari looked locked into the ground. It’s like the secretly snuck on all the aero lost at the IndyCar race.

Negative Camber

yeah, we talk about that in the cast. Seemed like Nico was out to lunch this weekend.

Matthew Snyder

RBR (Daniel Ricciardo) won three races last year, the only non-Merc driver to stand on the top step. In each of the three races, Merc had some sort of outside influence affect the pace of both drivers: In Canada, they had near simultaneous MGU-K failures that sucked over 150 hp out of the engines and killed the rear brakes. In Hungary, Lewis didn’t even start the race on the grid and spun off on the first lap, and Rosberg got stuck behind LH for several laps which compromised his three-stop strategy. In Belgium, they touched early in the race; Lewis… Read more »

Sod' Law

Oops!

DonP

I taught myself how to solve the Rubik’s cube in under 3 minutes. There is a special circumstance where the cube is configured in such a way that I’m able to skip the final step and solve the cube in under 2 minutes. I tought a friend at work how to solve it but it took him about 5 minutes. We competed against each other at least once everyday to see who could solve it first. I was so much faster than him that I could make a mistake, start from scratch, and still beat him. One day… I made… Read more »

Scottynz

I think that the major factor in Ferraris performance this weekend was the temperature. It looks like the Ferrari tyre wear was really good in the high temperature conditions that occur in Malaysia. However, in saying this I really hope that the European updates (to come) will result in a more competitive car for cooler conditions. For one I am really hoping Ferrari will continue to be competitive with Mercedes. In the mean time I really hope that this puts the whole Vettel was only competitive because of the car thing to bed. Looking forward to the rest of the… Read more »

Joe Mama

Mercedes have simply been laying back, with performance in hand over the field since the begining of last season. Ferrari just happened to come out fast on a day when the Merc team were on the couch, fanning themselves in the hot Malaysian shade, and not taking the opposition seriously. By the time they woke up, it was too late to develop an aggressive integrated approach to the race, and they got bit. if there’s any question, consider Nico’s fastest lap time, and try to come up with an explanation that includes the Ferrari being as fast as Merc. In… Read more »

Paul R Jaworski

“Truth be known, a motivated and token-rich Mercedes is not a good thing for Ferrari and Renault-powered teams.”? FYI, both Renault and Ferrari have more tokens left than the mercs do. :>)

Peter Riva

Strategy, strategy, strategy – the 2015 season is going to be all down to strategy first and foremost, then engines, then cars and then drivers.

Christine Swain

The message sent by Ferrari’s win was:

Don’t use faster tyres in qualifying than you actually need!

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