Ferrari comments about F150 & 2011

By on Friday, January 28, 2011

Q&A with Luca di Montezemolo

Chairman, you have asked for a car, which can immediately win.
Yes, I asked the team that with trust in the work we’ve done in the wind tunnel, setting the goal for improvement regarding last year’s car.

Aren’t you worried that maybe some rules this year might limit Formula 1?
Let me use this question for a constructive discourse concerning the Federation, where we recreated a good climate. Historically Ferrari has always been collaborative and has respected the rules. I think that last year, without triggering a revolution, we had an intense season with unforeseeable results. I think that we have to concentrate on three fundamental points: first, Formula 1 is based in an excessive way on aerodynamics, which is the point, which makes the difference. In the 1970s it was more about the engine and mechanics, now it’s all about aerodynamics.

Second, it’s about the tests: a sport on such a level can’t continue with such an absurd limitation regarding testing, in terms of development and in terms of safety, for our new drivers, who have to involved and have to be able to test. Last but not least the technology transfer. Formula 1 has to be more and more also a laboratory, a centre of advanced research for innovative technologies for tomorrow’s cars. The KERS is very important in this context and Ferrari as a manufacturer had and has extraordinary support in Formula 1. Just think about the F1 gearbox, modified chassis, electronics, flat underbody and many more in the road cars.

It’s mainly about expenses and the permanence in Formula 1. Formula 1 will always have high and strong investment. Who can’t make these investments will race in other series. Limited expenses are easily to avoid, we have to continue on the right track reducing costs, while the real DNA of F1 doesn’t change. But if we’re heading towards an equalisation towards the bottom of performance, then this is not good and the engines can’t be the same for all. Naturally costs are fundamental, but without loosing the sports essence. With serenity and dialogue you can improve a Formula, which already today is really extraordinary.

What about the future?: the rule regarding 4-cylinder engines can still be changed? We know that Ferrari is engaged for a 6-cylinder engine.
Yes, that’s true. I spoke to Todt and I’m glad the there is a different climate of dialogue than in the past. We’re engaged in technological challenges such as the FF: a 4-cylinder Ferrari seems absurd to me. We’ve not even built a 10-cylinder Ferrari and I’m still thinking that a 6-cylinder would have been more in line with the Formula 1 positioning on the market.

It’s paradoxical saying it, but calling a car today F150 and showing the Italian flag is a very strong signal. Don’t you fear that this might cost Ferrari some sympathy?
Over the last 20 years we’ve always sported the Italian flag on the car. And personally I always thought that it is important. 2011 is the year we are even more Italian and we’re proud being it. When we’re listening to our national anthem after a victory of our country it’s always very emotional. I’m not talking about politics, we want to concentrate on sports. Just like many sportsmen are moved by competing for the Italian flag, we are happy to show it on our car. It’s the symbol of a winning Italy, united in sports. I want to add that it is an important signal for an Italian company, which is moving ahead with the deep conviction of being it.

Sergio Marchionne said that he doesn’t exclude that Alfa Romeo might come back into motorsports: do you consider a synergy with Ferrari?
As far as Alfa is concerned, everything is possible, the brand is extremely sporty and connected to Ferrari since the early days of motorsports. There are many possibilities.

A question regarding the drivers: who of Fernando and Felipe will have more advantages from the Team’s new organisation?
I’m glad that you’re asking, because it is since 1974 that I am asked this question, since Lauda and Regazzoni. I told you last December that there won’t be a revolution and we worked on two points: First, we don’t insert too many people from the outside, only a few, with specific competences, culture and a way of working in very specific areas. Second, improving the facilities and the tools today’s rules bring with them, so more investment in aerodynamics and tests in the wind tunnel for example.
This doesn’t have any particular effects on the drivers. The drivers can give recommendations, talk about their impressions, can ask the car to be set up for their driving styles. But we have to put both drivers in a condition with the bets possible car. We restructured the organisation of the single teams, hoping that Massa will be competitive right from the start and Alonso with the same capacity as last year, where he showed that he is the best driver in the world.

In Germany they are talking a lot about Vettel coming to Ferrari: does that mean that someone contacted him for the future or is that pure fiction? The next Ferrari driver will be an exceptional driver from the market or a driver from the Ferrari Driver Academy?
I hope that he will come from the Ferrari Driver Academy, because that would mean that he’s a “top star”. Naturally Ferrari puts a driver in the car able to win. One of the ideas of the Academy is to have the next Scuderia driver in-house. There is absolutely nothing going on with Vettel, apart from the congratulations for a wonderful season and the fact that he knew how to benefit from the last race in Abu Dhabi.

Q&A with Stefano Domenicalli

Let’s talk about the name: F150. Where does it come from?
F150, because we want to celebrate the 150 years of Italy’s unity. I think that our Team represents ‘Italianity’ in the world, although we are an international team, with members from all over the world.

An obvious question: is victory this year’s goal?
A very simple answer: I think it is.

There are some novelties as far as the team is concerned. Would you like to tell us about it?
I think the main organisational change is that we’ve restructured the team of the track engineers. There are the vice technical director, Pat Fry, who coordinates Alonso’s and Massa’s engineers, Andrea Stella and Robert Smedley respectively, and Technical Director Aldo Costa, who remains the Head Coordinator regarding all technical aspects. We had a further improvement regarding strategies, introducing a new person with several different experiences, Neil Martin.

Alonso and Massa: how did you see them over the first weeks in 2011?
They are very motivated and ‘charged’. I’ve seen them in the last weeks and we spent some time together in Madonna di Campiglio during the “Wrooom” week. I have to say that they understand that this is, for many reasons, a very important year for them and they know that we all have to give it our all.

Competitors: who do you think will be Ferrari’s main competitors?
I think that we have to consider everybody before we start: the big teams, which all will be very, very strong – Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren – and there will also be some other teams, who could be some dangerous outsiders. And let’s not forget the great drivers – there are many World Champions. This will be a very hot Championship.

There are many technical novelties, many of them introduced to make it more exciting: do you think that there will be more overtaking manoeuvres?
I want to be a little bit careful regarding overtaking: it’s obvious that everything that has been done, especially regarding the mobile rear wing, was introduced to improve the possibilities of overtaking. To make sure that this system will reach the goal we all want, I think we need some Grands Prix to fine-tune the system. This remains one of the main goals to improve the races’ spectacularity.

In 2010 the season was very uncertain. Do you think that it will be the same in 2011?
I think so. It will be a very intense season, just like last year. I expect many teams to be able to win. The competition will be even harder and the uncertainty even higher.

From a personal point of view: do you feel obliged to win this year?
It’s not about obligations, but it’s about objectives. I’d say that this is and remains my and the whole team’s objective.

Q&A with Nikolas Tombazis

When did you start thinking about the project of the F150?
Tombazis: We started when the previous car touched the ground. That was in late January last year. We put some basic ideas together, started talking about the new regulations and how they would influence the main parts and we set up a programme in the wind tunnel to examine the new regulations.

Which were the most important parts in this challenge?
Tombazis: This project had several important challenges, because the regulations are quite different from last year’s. We had to reintroduce the KERS in the car. We’ve learned a lot about the KERS two years ago. But now we’ve got a new package, so the installation wasn’t the same. We had to think about that a lot. Another challenge was the mobile rear wing. This is one of the novelties in Formula 1 this year. So we had to plan a wing, which doesn’t influence the performance when it’s shut in its normal configuration, but which gives us the highest possible reduction regarding CD, which means highest possible speed on the straights during the qualifying or while overtaking. This was a very important project. A third challenge war the introduction of new tyres. When you change tyres you also have to change several aspects of the car, regarding weight distribution, suspension between front and rear, but also some aerodynamic aspects. Because the Pirelli tyres are new, we’ve got lots of work. This is almost less important thinking about the aerodynamic aspect: this year we can’t use a double diffuser. So we had to set a very ambitious goal: gaining the performance we lost without the double diffuser.

Which are the most innovative characteristics of the F150?
Tombazis: We’ve been working on different innovations for the car: some of ours and some new for Formula 1 in general. The rear suspension is really innovative, so is the rear wing system. But there are more novelties coming up regarding the configuration for the first race, which aren’t in the car yet, for example something for the rear wing and the exhausts.

Personally, as the planner, would you like to have more freedom during the planning phase?
Tombazis: Yes. It would be nice having some more freedom and more time. The regulations are more and more restrictive, but there is a reason for that. Otherwise the cars’ performances would be too high and maybe even the costs for Formula 1 would be higher than they are today. It would be very nice having more technical freedom to create even more sophisticated systems for the car. It would also be nice to have more time available between one season and the next, to work not in such a rush on some aspects of the car.

Do you think you reached the target, which has been set for this project?
Tombazis: We think we did. We set targets we think are very ambitious regarding the development in the wind tunnel, the car’s weight and the performance of some sub-systems. We think, based on our analysis, that we’ve reached these targets. Especially for the car for the first race. Having said that, the regulations are new and it’s impossible to know exactly where our competitors stand. I’m convinced that also they set themselves some ambitious targets. I’m confident in what we’ve done, but as long as we don’t see the cars on the grid for the first race, it’s a little bit difficult to answer this question.

A last question: do you feel obliged to win this year?
Tombazis: At Ferrari this is almost an obligation we have every year. And every year is the same. This is a stimulating pressure, but it never gives you a moment of rest in the work we have to do.

Q&A with Ferrari head of Engine and Electonics Department Luca Marmorini

Which are the interventions, which were possible on the 056 engine for 2011?
The engines are still “frozen”, so direct interventions regarding the engine performance are impossible, but we’ve been working a lot, especially as far as the reliability is concerned and to reduce costs. Regarding the reliability we were also working on the engine’s pneumatic concept, which caused some problems in 2010. This year we’ve reinstalled the KERS, which lead to a substantial change of the engine’s front. There’s a new dragging system for the KERS, a new crankshaft, and we had to change the cooling and lubricating systems a bit.

Did you remember the KERS, which is back after two year: what’s new here?
The KERS 2011 has to follow exactly the same specifications like in 2009. So there are the same performance and energy levels. Based on the experience in 2009 we redesigned it more efficiently, reducing its dimension and weight. At Ferrari the KERS has been planned with an eye on budget control. All costs regarding development have been reduced and the operative costs have been analysed and reduced to make the KERS manageable also for the small teams.

The client teams can use the KERS provided by Ferrari. Is this an advantage for us?
Increasing the number of tests on the track is always an advantage. Using the partners and teams in a constructive way to drive with the KERS is a positive aspect, considering that we’re talking only about a few units per year and only a few tests before the start of the season. So it’s definitely an advantage regarding performance and reliability that there is a second team to develop the KERS.

From an operative point of view, how did you prepare yourself for this new season?
The technique is always the same, it’s been consolidated. Lots of work and many activities. We’ve done many long runs, but this year it’s even more difficult, because we have to do the long runs with the engine, the KERS and the gearbox of the new car, so we have been preparing ourselves very well and we think that we can reach a very good reliability until the start of the season.

As far as the consumption is concerned, what has been done?
The consumption remains one of the most important aspects regarding the performance. This year we also have to consider that the KERS is positioned inside the fuel tank. If you don’t want to create a much longer and much wider car, keeping the consumption under control is one of the most important issues during the development in winter. Here it is an advantage that Ferrari has such a long-serving partner like Shell in the area of fuels.

Do you think that the combination of KERS and mobile rear wing can really facilitate overtaking manoeuvres?
On paper and in our simulations it does. In 2009 we could already see that the KERS provided some advantage, although not systematic, during overtaking manoeuvres. The possibility to reduce aerodynamic resistance, combined with the extra horsepower provided by the KERS, could definitely make a change in terms of speed, which, if the car in front can’t use the same, will facilitate overtaking.

A last question: Personally, do you feel obliged to win this year?
Certainly. Obliged and inspired.

Q&A with Aldo Costa

There are many changes regarding the regulations for 2011. Which are the ones with the major impact on the F150 project?
Costa: The major aspects with the most impact on the project were connected to the aerodynamic development. The car will change a lot. The double diffuser, the F-duct, is gone. The driver can’t change the car’s aerodynamic set up anymore. The underbody won’t have any ‘holes’ in the central part anymore. This is a fundamental change. The rear wing will be movable, so that the driver can overtake the car in front of him and use it in the qualifying according to his needs. The KERS is back. Although we’ve improved its size, it’s still quite big. Therefore the technicians had to redesign the car’s layout. There are also new safety rules. We participated in the changes the Federation made to improve safety on the track, which is always extremely important.

Would you say that this car is more of an evolution or a revolution compared to last year’s single-seater?
Costa: Due to the new rules the car should be a proper cut compared to the previous one, with new concepts and lines of development. As far as the looks are concerned the rules keep them quite unaltered. The cars look like the ones from last year, but from a technical point of view they will be really different.

How will the F150 as we see her here today will evolve over the next weeks?
Costa: The car’s evolution has been planned with two big stages: one during the winter tests, where we will mainly develop the area of the mechanics, which means that the car’s structure, the chassis, the gearbox and the suspension will remain the same for the first couple of races. The aerodynamics is simplified and temporary for the first tests, waiting for the real aerodynamic development for the first race.

According to you, which were the most demanding challenges regarding this project?
Costa: Starting from scratch with the car’s rear, because the double diffuser and the F-duct are gone and there have been some clarifications regarding the car’s underbody: these were the main challenges and why we had to start from scratch rethinking the whole project.

This year there is a new provider regarding the tyres: to what extent are the Pirelli tyres still a question mark?
Costa: The project and the evolution of these tyres happened in a very short time frame: Pirelli had only a couple of months to develop the tyres. I think they’ve done some really good work, but there’s still a lot to do. We have to test several compounds, while we are already in a good and reliable condition as far as the tyres’ construction is concerned. There’s still a lot to do and it’s a very important issue. We have to use the winter tests as good as we can to set up the Pirelli tyres.

How do you get ready for the debut on the track?
Costa: The structure and the method have progressively changed over the last years at Ferrari: we were used to many miles on the track. But now we only have 4 days in February. There is no time to resolve fundamental problems as far as the car’s reliability is concerned. Therefore this work has to be done on the test stand. That’s why at the moment we’re testing the car’s substructure on the test stand, checking its functionality and weariness, so that we can go on the track with a reliable car.

Personally, do you feel obliged to win?
Costa: A short question needs a short answer. One word is enough: Yes.

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