Ferrari ‘amateurism’ must change

Vettel-Ferrari-Pit-Stop-Austria-2015-1

There’s and old saying in the Northern hinterlands of blighty – ‘the light is not worth the candle”. It appears Ferrari is now finally set to learn this fairly simple lesson.

Sebastian Vettel was on course for a fairly lonely trundle around the Red Bull Ring to take his 6th podium in 8 races, when relative disaster struck. His pit stop was woeful as the man on the rear right wheel gun, battled to engage the wheel nut.

Ferrari were fortunate that this happened in Austria. Had this been Vettel’s first pitstop at a number of the previous races this season, it would have cost the German much more than a one place drop in the field.

Ferrari have developed a system which could shave a tenth or two of a second form their pit stop time, by creating a relatively shallow thread that the wheel nut and rim are secured by.

The problem is cross threading the nut is relatively simple to do and this may mean the wheel is not secured to the car properly. This cost Kimi dear in Australia, as he was told to retire the car following a pitstop where a wheel was not properly attached to the car.

That alone was 10 or more points thrown away.

Ferrari’s pit stop stats for 2015 in fact flatter to deceive, because prior to the Austrian GP they were on average less than half a second behind Mercedes. After Vettel’s stop today, that statistic will look much worse.

There have been other pit stops this year where the threading of the nut has been problematic, though with less disastrous results.The Austrian GP was the eighth round of the 2015 Formula season, and finally the penny is dropping for Ferrari.

Maurizio Arivabenne is now demanding the wheel nut system be changed.

“We had a problem with the wheel nut, and it’s not the first time, so we have to make sure that it does not happen again.

“It was not a problem of the mechanics, it was our fault, and we have to make sure we fix it.

“We threw away one more time a podium for a stupid piece that we need to recover, we need to fix, as soon as possible.

“It’s not the first time, and for me it’s not acceptable.”

The potential saving of this wheel nut/rim system would need to be run for several decades perfectly to now pay back the actual time and/or points cost it has cost Ferrari this season.

Whilst the red team are improving quickly, there are aspects of their race weekends that are still clumsy and need improvement. Arrivabene has been slow to react to this issue and neither does it reflect well on James Allison who has far more experience than the new Maranello Team Principal.

Fernando Alonso suggested McLaren-Honda were making him look like an amateur in Canada – however the ‘numpty’ prize this weekend has been won hands down by Ferrari.

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12 responses to “Ferrari ‘amateurism’ must change

  1. It didn’t help that Seb was way off his mark, forcing everyone to move position.

      • I know Adam, but I just felt like leaking that memo. You know that’s how most controversies and scandals start. 😉😉

    • How much was he off? Also, his pit stop was 10 secs slower than normal, not really matters if he overshoot, does it now? Like what happened in Canada with red flag was worse but in the end didn’t effect his grid position that much because his team was not any better than this. Reliability+bad pit stop. Though you can argue if he had started ahead of Williams everything could have been different…

  2. Ferrari tried a new bit that was supposed to save them time if it worked right. The part’s risk outweigh the benefits and so now Ferrari must go back to the drawing board. There are many new people with the Ferrari team. Some allowance needed be made for that but, at this point in the season, the team should be work better together and running smoother than it is. The team needs pit stop practices and Maurizio Arrivabene needs to work on getting everyone together on the same page. A good team leader has the ability to do this and his leadership skills will be put to the test. If the these issues can get worked and the team can work better together, I can see Ferrari getting some more podiums through the season. If the issues can’t be worked out, it very well may end up costing Ferrari more podiums this season.

    • ” The team needs pit stop practices…” Great comment, Heidi!

      One of things I admire about Pat Symonds is him taking a full day out one of the valuable pre-season test sessions to drill the Williams team and drivers non-stop on pit-stops. It seems to help.

  3. 1.Australia race (Raikkonen)
    2.Bahrain practice (Vettel)
    3.Austria race (Vettel)
    And who knows what happened in Canada?….

  4. “Ferrari were fortunate that this happened in Austria.”

    Can you explain further?
    Since this is one of the shorter tracks, are the cars not closer together, so he risked losing more places.

  5. I love this perspective to evaluate the effectiveness of the system:

    “The potential saving of this wheel nut/rim system would need to be run for several decades perfectly to now pay back the actual time and/or points cost it has cost Ferrari this season.”

  6. So I have watched the pit video a few times and I noticed something I hadn’t before.
    If yo watch closely, the man that puts the new tire on can’t just set it up on the axle. It appears he must push the rim/and tire and hold it against the backing plate in order for the wheel nut to go on.
    If he lets go of the tire, it looks like there is a spring behind it that will push it out a few centimeters, and the nut will not go on.
    I am wondering if that is in fact true, and why it would be necessary.
    Any thoughts?

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