The Ferrari SF15-T which arrived in Barcelona, was a revelation indeed. The aero department in Maranello looked to have been working around the clock as various estimates of the level of change from the car which ran in Bahrain were between 70 and 90%.
Kimi struggled with the new car and so reverted to the older spec aero for the Saturday and Sunday. He did though retain the new front and rear wings.
The gap to Mercedes in the race looked to be desperate, but even worse for Ferrari was the fact they were at least third best in the traction zones of sector three at the Circuit de Catalunya.
The flip side of this is that poor traction is primarily a mechanical problem, and as such Ferrari have confirmed they will this weekend be running the Vettel aero spec race car from Barcleona – together with the usual additional high down force items each team brings to Monaco.
So to improve their chances, Ferrari need a much larger amount of mechanical grip – this however may then affect how kind their car is to the unknown quantity of the super soft tyre.
Having to make such big compensatory adjustments could well mean Ferrari spend the weekend in Monaco chasing their tails, desperate to find the right balance. For fans of the Scuderia they must hope that Ferrari dealt with most of these set up dilemmas at the test in Barcelona last week.
But Ferrari have another concern for this weekend, in addition to their own car.
The slippery aero philosophy behind the Williams car, should mean the FW-37 isn’t best suited for Monaco. However, Rob Smedley is remarkably bullish. “In Barcelona we were quick in the parts of the track that are akin to Monaco, so are hoping for a decent weekend”.
This may be Williams’ best chance of a podium so far this year, though the exact configuration of their high downforce set-up will make or break any mechanical advantage they have over Ferrari.
The Williams car appears to have come a long way since 2014, when both FW-26 cars failed to make the top ten qualifying shoot out.
Monaco pickings since the turn of the millennium have been lean for the team from Grove. Montoya won the race for Williams in 2003, Ralph Schumacher having earned P3 the year before.
Besides that, Williams’ only other success in the principality was a 2-3 in 2005. Kimi Raikkonen in his McLaren Mercedes romped home, with Nick Heidfeld holding off Mark Webber for the second step of the podium.
By Thursday evening, we should have an inkling whether a William’s-Ferrari upset is on the cards.