Uncategorized

Ferrari’s Engineering Dilemma

Photo: Scuderia Ferrari.

Heading into the 2016 season, Ferrari were very keen to dish out the battle cries in the hope of hunting down the all dominant Mercedes team. A management reshuffle saw Maurizio Arrivabene replacing Marco Mattiaci in becoming team principal and Jock Clear finally arrived from Mercedes to help run the technical team, so the signs were looking good for the Scuderia that they were going to live up to their own expectations.

Since the opening Australian Grand Prix in March at least two victories have clearly slipped through their fingers as well as many other good results through poor strategy calls and unreliability; it’s clear that whatever the plan was, it hasn’t been executed properly or was missing certain details in the run up to the season.

Unfortunately after the opening race James Allison’s wife Rebecca passed away very suddenly and he immediately flew home to be with his family, he did return to work not long after, but it is understood that he is due to leave the team to return to work in the UK to be closer to his family.

Jock Clear could very take over engineering operations for the short term until a long term option is found; but the question turns to who do Ferrari turn too?

It’s been no secret Arrivabene has been in talks with former technical director Ross Brawn, one of the great architects of Ferrari’s dominance in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The talks involved a chance for Brawn to perhaps return to the team in some capacity, even possibly as a consultant, but Brawn has turned down the opportunity.

Ross Brawn has been in retirement since leaving Mercedes at the end of 2013 and hasn’t looked back to Formula One since enjoying his exploits (which include fishing among other activities). Brawn recently made a public appearance at the Goodwood festival of speed, he stated in an interview with SkyF1’s Martin Brundle with regards to a potential comeback. “Never say never about any of those sort of things, but I’m quite content doing what I’m doing and nothing has come along that I would be motivated and interested in.”

So who could Ferrari get for the long term?

James Key, current technical director at Toro Rosso is a well renowned technical expert in the F1 paddock and could well want to take on such a huge project with the Scuderia. However, Red Bull are keen not to let him leave, potentially grooming him to replace Adrian Newey if and when he decides to leave the Red Bull team.

Paddy Lowe is very well bed in to the Mercedes team and has been one of the most involved with the creation of the current Mercedes package that has been on top of F1 since 2014. Could Ferrari attempt to prise him away from the German squad for a new challenge? It’s a highly unlikely scenario, but in the world of Formula One, nothing is impossible.

Whomever Ferrari bring in will surely have a huge challenge on their hands on all fronts, whether it’s the technical side or the management side, they must be prepared to get stuck in and succeed as it’s clear Ferrari are not willing to put up with the poor results any longer.

Bridging the generations

As we enter the 2015 season, the 65th Formula One season to be officially contested, I have felt it’s time to examine a few subjects that have been hanging on my mind.

Engines

In 2014 we began a whole new era of Formula One when the sport went to Hybrid power for the very first time, many criticisms came forward about the speed and noise of the new era.

What was the clearest picture though, the sport had to go down this road sooner rather than later otherwise it would have faced extinction, Renault were not interested in carrying on the V8s and nor were Mercedes, we also would not have Honda coming back into the sport after a 6 year absence.

The fans of old are still even crying out now for a move back to V8s & V10s where fuel consumption is higher and faster, but with serious pressure on manufacturers to explore a greener option and Formula One being the global sport it is with hundreds of millions of viewers around the world, the change was right and needed to happen.

All the engines last season managed to complete the season using 30% less fuel in 2014 than 2013 which is a phenomenal achievement, all of this while being no less than 3-5% slower than the pace of 2013, producing more horsepower and torque whilst having up to 40% less downforce, surely this a great success for the hybrid era, and with power levels increasing for the new season, I’m hoping this trend can continue.

Always looking back, not forward

We are now in 2015, if we look back 20 years, we had only just lost the great Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher had won his first title, We go back 40 years and Niki Lauda was preparing for the 1975 season in which he would win his first title in a time where safety standards were still sub standard and drivers were dying every season.

It’s clear to see how quick the sport has come in years since, we are using 1.6 litre hybrid turbo engines now where 20 years ago a three litre V8, V10 or V12 was the engines of choice, but what I have found is that many fans of the sport are continuously making cries that Formula One needs to go back to the good ol’ days.

But I ask. What are the good ol’ days? In times gone by we’ve had a 28-32 car grid, but pace difference was so enormous the lower teams couldn’t even qualify for the race some weekends. Are those the good ol’ days?

The point I have tried to make to every fan, whether you are younger fan or an older fan of this great sport, we must continue to look forward and embrace this new future that Formula One is offering, and not look back to the past where we may have enjoyed great times before, but the sport has a lot more to offer in the future.

Let’s enjoy it.

What Can We Expect From F1 In 2015?

wolff-hamilton-rosberg-abu-dhabi-2014

Now that we’ve entered 2015 it’s now time to look forward the coming season instead of looking back on the old, we have plenty to look forward to in the coming months.

Revival of McLaren-Honda

alonso-button-mclaren-2014

In 2013 McLaren announced that they would be re-uniting with legendary engine partners Honda, after their abrupt retreat from the sport at the end of 2008 it was hard to imagine them returning to the sport so soon, with the new hybrid engine regulations it seems that they’ve been tempted back into the fray of F1, It also appears that they are not coming back to just make up numbers on the grid. Honda have invested heavily into their new engine program as well as the McLaren team and have stated that they want to be winning upon their return, signing Fernando Alonso and keeping Jenson Button is the best line-up possible to do the job as well as I have said in a previous article. Honda wanted a big name signing to join the team and in bringing Fernando in certain has done that. We’ll have to see in winter testing if there are any signs of improvement from the Woking outfit.

Vettel’s move to Ferrari

Vettel-Ferrari

Towards the end of 2013 we found out Sebastian was leaving Red Bull Racing, his home since he was a young boy, it was confirmed nearer the end of the season that the poorest secret of all was that he was joining the Ferrari team alongside Kimi Raikkonen. With Ferrari in a massive state of rebuilding it would be hard pressed to imagine Ferrari fighting up the sharp end of the field, but with James Allison the chief designer finally developing the new car all the way through and massive restructurings in personnel with a new team principal in Maurizio Arrivabene and including poaching Jock Clear from Mercedes, Ferrari’s position on the grid this season will be a massive mystery, Sebastian’s idol was Michael Schumacher and he has said he would love to emulate him by helping rebuild Ferrari, question is. How long if at all will we see a Ferrari revival?

Continued Mercedes domination

IMG_1488

2014 saw Mercedes take the grid by storm in the all conquering W05, it was an engineering masterpiece that finally broke McLaren’s record of 15wins in a season, had Mercedes not have reliability issues they could have easily won all 19 races. It has been reported the Mercedes engine developers have said that they can find up to 60-100hp in the winter break for the new hybrid engines, this is an astonishing amount given the short time they have to achieve this. The W05 will also be evolved into the W06 this year, with any team always looking to improve the cars can the gap to them be closed down by anyone else or will the gap widen even more and leave Lewis and Nico to fight out the title once again?

Mexico’s Comeback On The Calendar

mexico-grand-prix-1992

In 2013 we heard rumblings that the sport may once again return the to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, in 2014 we finally had it confirmed, the last race we saw here was in 1992 (see picture above) with Nigel Mansell won it from Ricardo Patrese and Michael Schumacher following him up to the rostrum. The circuit is very fast and flowing but was renowned for being very bumpy, with some funds being invested into the circuit to bring up to modern standards. I’m also hoping that while improvements have been made, the circuit will keep it’s traits and give the drivers a great challenge when we arrive for the event in the autumn. With Sergio Perez being the only Mexican on the grid for the race as Esteban Guttierez was ousted from Sauber, I would like to hope that Ferrari will give Esteban a Friday outing but with it being a new circuit I doubt that it may happen. It’ll be great to get all nostalgic once we arrive ready to begin a new future in Central America.

Overview

With winter testing not very far away, like me I’m sure you’re all very keen for the action to get started once more, we can breathe a sigh of relief that the phallic noses are banned but we can also hold our breathe because the teams are only allowed to use 4 engines this season instead of 5 this means a huge undertaking for the engineers and designers, but it’s all part of the magical and wonderful world of F1 we all come back for time and time again.

69 days and counting until Australia.. Time is ticking!

@lilgodf1

 

 

Feeder Series Crisis?

IMG_1471.JPG
As it stands, we could be looking at 3 years in succession where the GP2 champion has not been picked up by a F1 team the following year, Davide Valsecchi, Fabio Leimer and possibly Jolyon Palmer could not get seats in F1 for one reason or another.

Drivers from Lower Formulae seem be getting chances more than GP2 drivers as well as drivers with financial backing, we all know that there is a lot of financial difficulty going on in F1 at present due to the way the concorde agreement dishes out the money come seasons end.

But is it fair that the champion of what is supposed to be the main feeder series to F1 gets missed out 3 years running while other competitors from the series get picked up to F1?

I would say not, we could need a reshuffle of how the feeder series is arranged perhaps?

What do you think should happen?