Pirelli’s F1 tyre guru Mario Isola, believes that the Scuderia are right on the money for the start of the new season this weekend. Going as far to suggest that Maranello will be mounting a serious challenge, to what has been 3 years of silver arrow dominance.
Isola took over Pirelli’s F1 paddock duties after Paul Hembery moved to a new role within the Italian firm, after what was six years at the head of Pirelli Motorsport for Hembrey. Isola believes that Ferrari have done a ‘good’ job in interpreting the new regulations, and maximising the mechanical grip provided by the new ‘fat’ rubber for 2017.
“I don’t know that, but it is clear to me that Ferrari is in good shape,” he said.
“Even if it is normal that we don’t see everything in the tests, I do believe that we have recognised in Barcelona the people that are strong.
“Personally, I would like to see a more complex fight for the world championship, and not just with Ferrari but also Red Bull and even an outsider like Williams.”
In an interview with Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport, Isola shed some light on the pending performance of the new-spec cars for 2017.
“Last year, the cars were reaching forces of 4G, but now we’re measuring figures at about 6G, so we can say that the new racing cars are nearly fighter planes.
“I am sure the drivers will be tired at the end of the race which could lead to errors and opportunities for opponents to mount an attack.”
Isola also alluded to fears that the new formula for this year may indeed make over taking, and the close following of another car more difficult. Something that the drivers also commented on during the Barcelona tests.
“We have more durable tyres and more downforce, so we will see less tyre changes and the drivers will find it harder to follow a rival closely.
“But I want to emphasise the positive aspect,” he insisted.
“We will experience less overtaking moves, but the fans will feel that these overtaking moves will be more real.”
So, as Melbourne gets closer, speculation continues to mount over ‘who’ really has unlocked the 2017 regulations and interpreted them the best. Isola refers to Ferrari, Red Bull, and an outsider like Williams. Is this the clearest indication yet that the teams occupying the top eight places will indeed be those, plus Mercedes?
One thing that Melbourne has told us over the years though, is that you can’t identify the true pecking order from the Albert Park race. Albert park can offer up some strange results in that sense, just ask Ferrari about last years race. They appeared to be closer than ever to Mercedes in Australia, but the red car got smaller and smaller in the Merc mirrors after the 2016 red flagged opener.
Anyway, not long now.