Brought to you by TheJudge13 Technical Analyst Lorenzo De Luca
Red Bull revival and the Ferrari weaknesses
The Canadian GP finally gave us a new winner, many suprises and a good show. For the first time this season Mercedes have not dominated the race and proved that even the W05 is not perfect. Behind them was comparable levels of performance between Red Bull, Force India and Williams with Ferrari reduced to an anonymous appearance anonymous. The Canadian track, is an old style track, composed by very fast straights, broken just by chicanes and an hairpin. A track then, whose characteristics have highlighted the major qualities of the Mercedes power unit. No surprise then, seeing Mercedes flying away, dictating a pace unsustainable for all other drivers, followed by Williams and Force India. Just the FW36 and the VJM07 were exalted by the layout of the track, low downforce and very high top speed indeed, have always been the strengths of these cars.
Mercedes still ahead
The Canadian Gp was long awaited, as both Ferrari and Renault had widely anticipated the introduction of important software updates and engine maps to their respective power units in an attempt to give a swerve to a poor starting season. While it is true that Red Bull and Renault have made very significant improvements (just think at where they were in February), that put the RB10 as the “best of the rest”.
It is undeniable that Mercedes still have an important gap, made even clearer by the fact that Rosberg ran without ERS power, which acording to Magneti Marelli simulation would have ensured a two seconds advantage on the lap times, but he was still capable of clocking the same lap times of those who were behind him. So, if on the one hand, Mercedes proves it’s not bulletproof, on the other it’s clear that we’re looking at a car that is almost perfect in each sector : engine, chassis, aerodynamic efficiency.
Sector times and speed chart:
Just the mechanical grip and the tremendous level of traction (as could be seen by the times set in the second sector ) bond the RB10 and the W05, which not being able to get amongst the highest speeds on the straight, used their traction and grip to hold their positions and build their lap times .
At Milton Keynes the team has worked very hard to retrieve the lost competitiveness, not only on the power unit side with Renault but also introducing at each race new aerodynamic parts which have been able to restore the necessary balance to the car. In Canada, Newey & Co. sacrificed a portion of the aerodynamic load in order to give the car a higher top speed on the straights. This is evidenced by the enormous amount of work done on Friday, when both drivers spent long time in the box looking for the optimal setup. At Montreal, on the RB10 we saw a new nosecone, now without the bulge in its bottom part with the attempt to reduce the downforce and increase the top speed
Red Bull RB10 new nosecone
As well as the new nosecone, the RB10 carried a new low drag rear wing with only 3 slots and a long louvre on the leading edge
Red Bull RB10 new rear wing
Force India and Williams looking for confirmation
Williams and Force India lived up to their expectations. Unlike in Bahrain, both the FW36 and the VJM07, proved to be in a better shape. Indeed, only the mistake at the pit-stop and the final shunt with Perez, prevented Massa from taking his first victory with his new team, the FW36 showed once again to be one of the fastest car on the straights (if not the fastest one) thanks to their level of low drag, which here combined with their ability to burn less fuel than anyone put Massa and Bottas just behind the Mercedes cars.
Also very good was the perfomance shown by Perez and Hulkenberg, the VJM07 like the Williams, is a car with low drag which helped them climb up the Montreal grid, Perez also proved how good the VJM07 is in managing its tires doing 35 laps with the softest compound brought by Pirelli, a stint beyond any wildest expectations, as all other teams suffered graining on rear tires after just a few laps.
But now that Formula 1 go back to more normal track, Force India and Williams will need to find more downforce if they seriously want to leave their mark on this season. At Montreal there weren’t significant upgrades for either cars, a sign that performance has to be found on other types of tracks. Although Force India tested two new rear wings Friday
New Force India rear wings
The F14-T weaknesses
Ferrari arrived in Montreal full of optimism, thanks to the long awaited new package announced one month ago by Montezemolo in Bahrain. The much acclaimed comeback did not occur, with Ferrari seemingly taking a step back although in reality the opponents have progressed faster than Ferrari.
Aerodynamic, chassis, power unit : these are the weakest point of he F14-T. A project that was developed badly and will continue to struggle to carve out a leading role in this season. The updates brought in Canada , proved to be unsuitable for the 059/3 cooling needs. This is a monumental error which occurred during the design of the 059/3, which clearly shows how Ferrari’s engine specialists and chassis engineers have not worked well together during the winter.
Ferrari new bodywork/sidepods design
This is affecting not only the engine performances but the whole car. Indeed the new bodywork and floor seemed to give the F14-T an acceptable performance level, but by putting at risk the power unit’s reliability, once temperatures rose up . The sector times chart above, clearly show the very poor traction (3rd sector times), this lack of traction is reflected in lap times, bad tire management and the inability to overtake (striking difference in traction between the Williams and Ferrari during the race out of the hairpin ). It’s pointless suggesting that the track was not ideal for the Ferrari. Red Bull proved otherwise by winning the race with Ricciardo and Vettel finishing in third place, this with an RB10 that is well known to be lacking top speed.
The next race will be held in Zeltweg, the former A1-Ring (now called Red Bull Ring), a totally different track in comparison to Montreal. At 99% – Mercedes will claim another dominant win, but pay attention to Red Bull which is rumored to be introducing a B-spec of the RB10.
Ferrari will be looking to return with a better response after the very poor performance in Canada, which saw the prancing horse not only well behind Mercedes and Red Bull, but also behind Williams and Force India.