That's how critical it is to Ferrari

Wolfgang Wilhelm
So critical is Ferrari
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M ercedes wins and wins. And excuses Ferrari for its defeats. 'We have never seen the true strength of Ferrari,' said Nico Rosberg strongly. In fact, Ferrari has not yet managed to get a race off the stage without breakdowns, collisions or defects. But there are also no signs that the gap to Mercedes will decrease dramatically if everything goes smoothly.

Sochi as disillusionment for Ferrari

Sochi was a disenchantment. Sebastian Vettel lost 0.706 seconds on the fastest Silver Arrow in training. Despite the engine upgrade. And Rosberg could have been faster. He broke off the last qualification attempt after a brake with the best intermediate time. The average of the starting grid for the first four races, the Mercedes are 0.65 seconds faster on one lap.

Kimi Räikkönen crossed the finish line at the Russian GP in an intact Ferrari behind two battered Mercedes. With 31.9 seconds behind Rosberg and 6.9 seconds on Hamilton. The world champion drove with the handbrake on for the last 16 laps because of his engine problems. Four of them faster than Raikkonen. The average lag in the race is 22.4 seconds.

11 to 6 tokens for Mercedes

So far the facts. The scores also speak a clear language. In the constructors' standings it is 157: 76 for Mercedes. Raikkonen and Vettel currently only see Rosberg with binoculars. One has 57 points to catch up, the other 67. Is that a preliminary decision? If Hamilton himself asks himself whether the World Championship train has already left for him, then the Ferrari drivers really have to do it.

Ferrari may be better than its results, but it already has one after four races way too big a backpack with you. Vettel is already driving with his third engine, his second unit of turbocharger, MGU-H, MGU-K and power electronics. There are five per component for the entire season. He can work out when he will have to serve the first sentences. Rosberg is still on schedule with all the elements. So the first unit. For Ferrari it is little consolation that Hamilton is just as deep in the swamp.

Ferrari's first engine revision in the area of ​​the combustion chamber devoured three development tokens. That leaves only six. Two morewill cost the modified turbochargers that are planned for the GP Canada. Objective of the measures: The turbocharger should generate more electrical power via the MGU-H without the engine losing power.

Mercedes also invested 2 tokens, but still has 11 in hand. And unlike Ferrari, Mercedes didn't have to inject a new engine into the system. The gasoline system is an external part. The next step should come with the series of the second engines at the seventh race in Canada.

Ferrari also loses time in the corners

Don't be fooled by the highest top speed in practice. Vettel was only faster than the Mercedes at the measuring point, presumably because he let Raikkonen pull him in the slipstream. The Mercedes wins over the entire straight. This also gives the Silver Arrows an advantage in terms of fuel consumption. As absurd as it sounds. Spending less time on the straight saves fuel. Because the maximum amount of 100 kg /h is injected less long.

GPS measurements document that Ferrari does not only lose time on the power sections. Vettel lost 0.25 seconds on Rosberg in turns 13 and 14 alone. The Mercedes are making up ground, especially in slow and medium-fast passages. This is due to the better traction, the less sensitive aerodynamics with regard to load changes and the car's rolling in curves. Ferrari is only on the ball in the fast corners. That's why the red cars in Barcelona will be closer to their big rivals again.

Since the test drives, we have heard of a major aero upgrade from Maranello that is still to come. Now again in front of Barcelona. But apart from retouching the brake ventilation, the diffuser and the front wing, the big hit has not been made so far. 'We prefer to take smaller steps to every race this year,' said Vettel in Sochi. Is that enough? Mercedes has announced an aerodynamics offensive for the Spanish GP.

Catching up at the speed of light

With every defeat, will the pressure from headquarters for Ferrari's mercenaries along the route increased. Head Indian Sergio Marchionne wants to see results for the money he has put into the World Cup company. What else should he explain to his shareholders? The Ferrari price has fallen since the stock market launch. The pressure to succeed has forced Ferrari to take technical risks over the winter and the impatience of the president will force the engineers to continue this policy as long as the goal is not achieved. 'We may have gone a step too far with the engine,' admitted team boss Maurizio Arrivabene in Sochi.

The real problem for Ferrari is in Turin. Because Marchionne makes unworldly demands. With sayings like 'We have to catch up with the speed of light. My picture of Ferrari is from the Schumacher time. ItIt breaks my heart to see us suffer like that, 'the Fiat manager continues to pour fuel on the fire. What he forgets: Ferrari has done a good job over the winter, improving its package by 1.8 seconds. Too bad that is Mercedes has increased similarly. Marchionne still has to learn that in Formula 1 you can only influence your own fate.

The powder keg is about to explode. Sebastian Vettel doesn't play the fire department for nothing. He tries to calm down to get the game and see things rather positively than negatively. Vettel stirs up hope with development stages that are promised to him. 'I know what is still to come. And I trust my people. 'At the same time, he tries to stifle bad mood right from the start:' Don't think so negatively, 'he urges the critics. That reminds us of Michael Schumacher when he supported Ferrari in 1996 after a series of breakdowns, where he only could.

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