April 8, 2015

Leave your predictions: Ferrari for real?

Everyone and their grandmother has written a piece wondering if Ferrari will be able to repeat the exploit of Malaysia.

The conventional wisdom is no, it was a fluke: that track, the hot temperatures, the safety car, the bad strategy call from Mercedes.   China will be much cooler and with 80% of the laps spent cornering, the track will tax front tires more,  conventional wisdom  says Ferrari's won't be able to switch on the tires and Mercedes will be back to its dominant Australian and pre-season testing form.

But the again, conventional wisdom said Ferrari would not have been able to challenge until well into the season.

What do you think?

Let me add a couple of considerations you may or may not have picked up on:

1.  If the F15T is gentle on tires it means it must have balance and a balanced car will give Ferrari the option to play with strategy.

2.  Mercedes always planned on stopping early in Malaysia and running more primes. Thy used up all their new option tires in qualifying (used them in Q1 to save primes for the race).  Ferrari always planned on running long on option-option-prime.

3. Mercedes' error in Malaysia was stacking the cars in the safety car stop and not splitting the strategies.    Why?  Because if they pitted just one there would have been endless political issues of favoritism.    In China they might have to favor one driver....sorry Nico.

3.  Mercedes was indeed faster in the race but Ferrari had a more constant lap times throughout the stints.

4.  On the periphery of all this there is this talk of the FIA cracking down on fuel sensor cleverness.  It has been speculated that some teams may have figured out how to get around the 100 kg/h limit by allowing an extra volume of fuel to accumulate past the flow sensor bring the braking phase so that it can then be used during the subsequent acceleration.   It's a bit of a mystery,  it was brought up first on technical sites like F1Analisitecnica.com and then, earlier this week, by Autosport.  Will the FIA checks happen?  If so, who will be penalized if they gray area is "clarified"?  If this is indeed the case, why has it not gotten more play?

So check out the  practice time, especially in P2.   If you have the F1 app (and it actually works) keep an eye on the long run stints and what tires they are run on.  

Then let's see who gets it right!


  1. I think youll see Merc 1,2 and Ferrari 3,4, and within 15 seconds of each other...Barring any safety car or crashes... Would love to see Kimi get a fair run this time ... As perhaps 1 of the reds can beat Ros.....

  2. Hmm, I concur this will be a return to regularly scheduled programming for Merc. Hamilton, everyone's favorite sociopath, will win. Rosberg is definitely in danger of being thrown to the Ferraris because frankly everything is easier for Mercedes if he's just not fighting with Hamilton. I think Vettel can take him, leaving Rosberg 3rd. Something unfortunate will happen to Kimi and he'll end up fighting his way up to 4th after botching qualifying, again. Botas will return this week and manage 5th. Red Bull will reiterate that everything is broken because it's not going their way and it's all someone else's fault and losing is not as fun.

  3. I'll just say that Malaysian Grand Prix win for Ferrari certainly is not the last one for this season! The F15T is good, Vettel and Kimmi are in the seat. China? Really hard to predict anything...

  4. On normal conditions the Mercs will dominate unless they made another strategy mistake like they did in Malaysia.

  5. Is Ferrari for real? Is Ferrari for real?

    Does a wild bear crap in the woods?

    Is a pigs ass pork?

    Seb and Kimi are gonna finish 1-2 in China!!! You heard it here first!!!


  6. Fuel flow shenanigans, who'd have predicted that? I can't see how they'd be able to work an extra reservoir into the fuel system that would be big enough to make a difference though. The cars burn a couple pounds of fuel per lap, like 2 liters or more depending on the track (sources say Sepang is 1.71 kilos per lap). I suppose it wouldn't take more than an ounce or two of extra fuel in the pipe to make those straights a bit faster.

    Everybody talks about Ferrari...what of the Mercedes response? Behind the scenes, was there panic or a more measured response? That'll be more important, if Mercedes alters strategies to cover an emerging SF threat, how will it impact the weekend? I remember being told once that looking over your shoulder from the lead is a sure to come in second...

  7. Ferrari is for real but over the course of the season not just one race. Their biggest benefit is how obviously up happy Rosberg is. His unhappiness could lead to a run-in with Lewis. Plus, Lewis, as demostrated Malaysia gets rattled when things don't go as planned. I think his biggest weakness is that he doesn't adapt well to changes during the race.

  8. Well called in hindsight !!

  9. Woot! I would have loved to see someone pass someone else though. WEC was pretty darn good.


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