D this is no longer a coincidence . Ferrari leads the drivers' world championship after eight of 20 races with Sebastian Vettel. And Ferrari is only 24 points behind defending champion Mercedes in the constructors' standings. A Ferrari could have won each of the eight races. On the plus side, there are three wins, eight podium positions and always two starting positions in the first three rows. And not a single defect.
Ferrari has cleaned up all of its construction sites. The car no longer has any weaknesses. The engine is on a par with Mercedes. When it comes to tire management, Ferrari is ahead of Mercedes. The processes are right. Twice after the third training session, the drive unit in Vettel's car had to be replaced in dire need. Ferrari managed both engine changes in under two hours. And the first drive unit is a long-runner. When Vettel crossed the finish line in Baku, the combustion engine had 4,822 kilometers on the clock.
Ferrari has got a new face. A different spirit is blowing through the team from Maranello. Not everything is sympathetic. Ferrari closes itself off like an oyster to the public. Under the pretext of having to concentrate on the matter at hand. What one has to do with the other is not entirely clear. Mercedes and Red Bull are also focused on winning. And still communicate.
Ferrari is lobbying the FIA again
You could have guessed that something had happened to Ferrari back in winter. The racing team successfully lobbyed against the networked chassis. The FIA tightened the thumbscrews. Mercedes and Red Bull had to go back to conventional systems. No matter what they say: Ferrari's action hurt them. And used Ferrari. Ferrari was also wide awake during the tire tests for Pirelli. The engineers modified the 2015 car in the right places and committed the regular drivers to action in order to learn as much as possible about the wide Pirelli tires.
This is a new quality from Ferrari. For years they had maintained a clean image, swallowed everything when the competition poached in the gray areas of the regulations. Now you do it yourself. The opponents complained about the flexible underbody on the SF70H and the rear wing that fold back at top speed. Everything fizzled out. The FIA takes the position: Where there is no plaintiff, there is no judge.
Alsothe subject of oil in gasoline fits into the image of the new Ferrari team. We don't know whether Ferrari was involved at all because everyone involved is silent about it. There are a few clues, nothing more. What is certain, however, is that Ferrari asked the FIA last winter whether there was a specification for oil and whether it was allowed to use different lubricants. It is allowed because, unlike petrol, oil is hardly regulated. The mere fact that Ferrari is taking care of the subject shows that the technical department in Maranello has been well rested since Mattia Binotto took office.
Ferrari is also well rested in tactical terms
Ferrari has copied the past from others. Now you set your own standards. The trick of keeping the side pods short is difficult to copy because it would interfere too much with the aerodynamic concept. Bet that we will see modifications to the stem in front of the cooling inlets in other cars in 2018? Just as HaasF1 has now started copying Ferrari's rear wing trick. In order to fold back in a controlled manner with maximum load, the rear wing needs a stable anchor point, i.e. two stilts.
Ferrari has also done everything right in terms of the overall concept. With such a big leap in the regulations, you ideally have a car that is easy to understand, easy to drive, easy to set up and nice to the tires. The Mercedes W08 is the opposite. Toto Wolff called him a 'diva'. As one engineer describes it: “Our car will never be one that is easy to drive or easy to set up. It is a new struggle on every racetrack to optimize it. We have more potential for that. If everything fits, we are faster. ”
Ferrari is also more cheeky at the command post. In Australia and Russia, a late pit stop lured Mercedes from the reserve, in China and Bahrain an earlier one. At the Monaco GP, world championship leader Vettel was elegantly brought past Kimi Räikkönen and didn't care much about the screams of the hardliners afterwards. Perhaps the Ferrari strategists in Montreal slept a little because they underestimated the damage to the front wing. But they did everything right with the second pit stop.
And in Baku Ferrari was particularly well rested. Actually, Vettel should have come back on the track behind Lewis Hamilton. His pit stop lasted 2.3 seconds longer. But Ferrari delayed Vettel's entry into jail as long as the regulations allowed. And in the two laps Vettel made up 3.2 seconds on Hamilton.