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The secret of the Ferrari upswing: Joker up front

The secret of the Ferrari boom
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F errari is one of the newcomers this season. From 4th to 2nd place. The Reds have halved the gap to Mercedes over the winter. More than one lap in a racing thrill. Technical director James Allison reveals: 'In Melbourne we gave away 20 seconds behind Williams in the first third of the race.'

50 percent car, 50 percent Auto

That would mean that Sebastian Vettel would have been only 15 instead of 35 seconds behind winner Lewis Hamilton at the finish. Mercedes strategy boss James Vowles had already warned in the run-up to the GP Malaysia: 'Raikkonen's second stint in Australia was damn fast. Even under the condition that he was on a different strategy.'

But how was that Maranello miracles possible in just one winter? Ferrari has been investing a lot of money in upgrading its technology and personnel for a year. The Italian sports newspaper 'Gazetta dello Sport' puts the stake at 100 million euros on top. The wind tunnel and simulator were modernized, and the engine department got the latest test stands. It goes without saying that Allison cannot make friends with Red Bull's latest savings proposals. 'A wind tunnel ban would come too early. CFD is a wonderful tool, but without the protection in the wind tunnel the error rate would be too high.'

Allison distributes the progress 50 percent each between the car and engine. 'In the car, 80 percent go to aerodynamics and the rest to more efficient cooling.' According to Allison, the SF15-T is a car that was 'born normal'. In other words: The development work began as usual in June. 'With the predecessor, we only started development in November 2013, despite the major rule change.' And paid for it.

No ultra-short nose for Ferrari

Allison has been the head of the overall project since the major restructuring. This means that the drive source is also his responsibility. The engine department receives great praise: 'It found the weak points early on and demonstrated a lot of know-how and courage in developing the engine. Errors in this area can be dangerous because they are more difficult to correct than with a car.'

For the rest of the season, the Ferrari engineers kept 3 development tokens more in hand than Mercedes. It doesn't sound like much, but it is a lot when used properly. Allison explains: 'You can use 3 tokens to do the completeModify cylinder head. The extra tokens are of course only an advantage if we can also convert them into extra performance. '

Ferrari is also stepping on the gas with Aero development, even if not many new parts have come to the car yet 'We have an aggressive program,' promises Allison. The short nose is also an issue. Ferrari's chief technology officer also believes that a short nose has aerodynamic advantages. But he qualifies: 'With us it is because of the position of the front chassis -Schotts not be ultra-short. We wouldn't pass the crash test there. 'That is exactly Red Bull's problem.


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