#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 7th April 2015

DNandC

A Daily Round up of Formula One news, inside whispers, opinion and comment. Today,

Ferrari has Mercedes in its sights

Force India looks towards Shanghai with mixed expectations


Ferrari has Mercedes in its sights

It appears we are in for a real hard racing Formula 1 season this year. No one saw the Ferrari win coming in Malaysia, competitive yes, but win was a long shot.

Since the Malaysian GP Toto Wolf as said that the Ferrari win was a wake-up call to Mercedes and they will now have to accelerate their development cycle and rethink their strategy for the year. But are they really in danger of the red Ferrari wave?

Paddy Lowe seems to agree with Wolf saying there is serious competition for this world championship.

Ferrari for their part is playing the game of ‘official’ challenger to perfection. Speaking to Sport Bild Ferrari’s technical director James Allison said they “have some aerodynamic improvements coming and these will be brought to the car as quickly as possible.

Allison continues, “The aerodynamic regulations are still young, so there is a lot of potential.

While that may be the case let us not forget Kimi’s plea last year at the Austrian Grand Prix when his race engineer told him he has two tents to make up to catch Button and he remarked “well give me more power!” And as we know now, Ferrari has done just that.

In Jerez Sauber showed remarkable speed even though the aerodynamics of the car was less than desirable. When TJ13 spoke to a member of the Ferrari technical team they said they were pleasantly surprised with the performance gains but were adamant they were real.

A lot has been said of the performance of the individual power units but are we seeing the emergence of another ‘perfect storm’ at Ferrari? They have James Allison, a very capable technical director, they have a quadruple World Champion in Vettel, a fast but perhaps not the fastest second driver in Kimi and a flamboyant team principal in Maurizio Arrivabene.

It is still early in the season but if Mercedes are starting to look over their shoulder perhaps this season will be exactly what the doctor ordered for F1!

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Force India looks towards Shanghai with mixed expectations

Having had a delayed start to the season for their 2015 challenger Force India has had mixed fortunes in the first two races. After scoring some points in Australia the next race, Malaysia, proved to be much harder with both drivers finishing outside the top ten. Using Australia as a measure of performance and success would be pushing it though but as ever Mallya saw some positives from Malaysia.

Reflecting on the first two races he pointed out that both “Nico and Sergio showed their fighting spirit and enjoyed plenty of TV airtime as a result. Both weekends were valuable learning opportunities for us as we work hard to improve the VJM08.

He credits his team for building a reliable car but acknowledges there is still a lot of development to be done.

Everyone in the team deserves credit for the strong reliability of the VJM08, but there is a long way to go on the development path. We know the areas we need to improve and I’ve been impressed with the attitude of the team. The morale is strong and we will keep fighting hard to score as many points as we can in these early races.

Early it has to be because as a team Force India does not have a very good track record of in season development; so close to beating McLaren last year yet so far.

While Mallya is hopeful of some points in China it Nico Hulkenberg does not appear to be that positive.

The Hulk thinks that the Chinese track is very similar to Sepang with a “mix of everything – low, medium and high-speed corners,” putting a big emphasis on aero performance. With the fast corners putting a lot of strain on the tyres Hulkenberg is expecting high degradation to be a big factor this weekend.

While considering it “a fun track to drive and a challenge to get right” he is not going to China with any expectations.

I’m not going there with any big expectations, but we’ve got to believe we can fight for some points. It wasn’t possible in Malaysia, but we certainly put up a good fight and will keep working hard. I think our performance level will be similar this weekend.

For Perez things are not much better. Although he is looking forward to getting back into the car the Shanghai International Circuit has not been one of the best tracks for him.

Speaking before this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix Sergio said “Shanghai has never been the luckiest circuit for me. It was only last year that I scored my first points there. It’s a track that I enjoy because of the unusual characteristics. Turn one is a real challenge, especially in qualifying because you need to carry so much speed into the corner, but it’s easy to run wide and lose a lot of time.

“The long back straight is also interesting because you get a lot of drag races. It’s where horsepower and top speed are important. Sometimes you see three cars wide and lots over overtaking into the hairpin. It’s definitely the best passing opportunity of the lap.”

If the Force India cars will be doing the passing or will be passed remains to be seen though. Whatever their performance, Bob (the builder of not so fast cars) Fernley revealed today that their B-Spec car will not be ready until late June at the Austrian GP. This appears to be yet another knock on effect from the cash flow issues the team suffered when paying suppliers during the winter. This, coupled with the decision to switch to Toyota’s Cologne wind tunnel seems to have hampered their 2015 development.

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27 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 7th April 2015

  1. We had 2 articles in 2 or 3 days, first saying Mercedes ran underpowered engines in Malaysia so they have more performance in hand, and the other saying Ferrari has Mercedes in its sights. So which one is it?

    I hope the second one becomes the truth, but that’s all it is… hope.

    • Both, of course.

      Neither team will be standing still between Malaysia and China.

      • It wouldn’t be the first time that TJ13 is the first (and sometimes only) to report clearly private information not yet in the public domain. TJ13 broke to the world Renault’s catastrophic beginning to 2014, Red Bull’s zebra stripes in 2015 testing, documented in every little gory detail Caterham’s slow and painful death, etc.

  2. Ferrari is supposed to have another 20-30 horsepower in hand, an extra 100 million dollars invested for the remainder of the season and a shorter nose to top it off. Ferrari could well be equal to Mercedes by the end of the year. Maybe.

    • After 2014, after 2015 pre-season teasting and after Melbourne, it’s Mercedes’ chamiponship to lose. Imagine the publicity if Ferrari takes the fight to the last race or actually win one of the titles. How could Mercedes lose their advantage so fast? How could Ferrari gain it?

      Well, let’s wait for Chine and hope Mercedes boys don’t dissapera in the distance 🙂

    • And their car is already THAT good. Ferrari still has boatloads of performance in the bag.

      #ForzaFerrari #Seb5 #Blessed

      • Ok let’s not get carried away, for all we know that if and when he does design something, it could make car worse. So let’s wait and see what transpires… 😉😉

      • Other than Singapore 2010 tell me when Ferrari has developed a car within a season.

    • Isn’t he just saying that he directed the design effort, instead of actually designing any piece? The orchestrator of designers is then a designer himself, no?

      I think it was done to deflect and spread credit … new Inglese chief taking all the credit, while capable Italian underlings are overlooked by the F1 media, is not a situation Allison would want to have happen. Perhaps they’re lucky they missed out on Newey.

    • Do Technical Directors ever do any design work? Surely the point is to, well, direct the engineers who actually do the work as well as keeping an overall picture of what is happening.

      So, to say he hasn’t designed any of the car is probably correct but doesn’t mean he hasn’t had an influence on how the car has been designed.

      • That’s true, but there’s nothing to say he can’t, given his past roles as an aerodynamicist and chasis engineer.

        BTW, those were his words, not mine.

        • Design and development, even of a fairly simple – in F1 terms – part requires considerable focus. Where a technical director to get involved in that there would be a good chance he would lose focus elsewhere.

          As you say, no reason why he can’t other than it could distract him from the bigger picture.

    • Yeah but Allison picked the bits he wanted them to focus on, thus shaping the route they followed to try and be competitive with Merc. IMO, making it his car and his results. Plus his remarks re changing culture similar to Brawn going to Brixworth and saying not yet be more clever.

  3. Oh, I’m sure FI will be passing the McLarens quite often. I would imagine they’ll breeze past them down the long straight where the Honda hoover runs out of breath then the McLaren chassis will enable Fred and Jense to pass them in the twisty bit.

    Could be a race-long battle! 🙂

  4. Nico admits it hasn’t been the best start to the season. If Lewis wins in China and Ferrari challenge again for the win, he may start feeling that Merc will relegate him to a supporting role. Pressure’s on!

    By the way, still no news about Lewis’ contract. I guess they’re waiting for Thursday or Friday for an announcement?

  5. Re Ferrari has Mercedes in its sights

    Ferrari had a 1-2, 2 and 3 grid start and a solid car at the beginning of 2010, but during time, they evolved away from that. It will be interesting to see if the different personnel make any difference to the outcome as time passes.

  6. ” #F1 DAILY NEWS AND COMMENT: TUESDAY 7TH APRIL 2015 ”

    Today is the anniversary of Jim Clark’s fatal accident at Hockenheim in 1968.

    It deserves remembrance and respect.

    it should, at the very least, have been given a mention by TJ13…

    • It seems that many of our contributors are busy with real-life these days. You are kindly invited though to contribute a piece on Jim Clark. TJ13 will no doubt be happy to publish it. Feel free to contact us using… well… the “contact us” page.

  7. I expect to see Mercedes very focused and ready to get at the business at hand in China. I expect to see pedal to the floor and to do everything that the team can to get the maximum performance out of both cars and the desired results for the team. It will be interesting to see how Ferrari does in China. The win in Malaysia for Ferrari was a result of a better race strategy than Mercedes and I think Mercedes have made adjustments to make sure that it never happens again. Always striving to be the best. That’s Mercedes. I will be interested to see if Williams does better in China.

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