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Author Topic: Should Ferrari tailor SF90 F1 car to Vettel's strenghs to catch Mercedes?  (Read 844 times)

Offline John S

If Mark Hughes assessment, see the paragraphs below, of Seb's special prowess when allowed to use his natural style is correct it's perhaps possible to extrapolate that Ferrari only need to get closer rather than totally on terms with Merc - Vettel will then do the rest.  :swoon:

They need to build more rear stability for the Vettel magic to make the difference, and bring back glory days like Seb's Red Bull years.   

Before you all claim not fair on Leclerc just take a minute to note that Hughes suggests that Charles driving style is more flexible and so should not be disadvantaged.     

How he[Vettel] fares now in the quick-fire rhythm of the ‘European’ part of the season could be key to his whole future. This is dependent not only on Ferrari’s ability to develop the SF90 into a Mercedes match but whether it can do so in a way that allows Vettel to express his natural driving style – which, as we’ve seen over the years, is highly dependent on having a car with a lot of rear stability; a car like Ferrari has given him in the last two years.
Give him such a car and he finds big chunks of time on corner entry into slow and medium speed corners with his sudden, pitching turn-in. The greater the rear grip, the greater his advantage over more conventional techniques. But take that away from him – and he struggles. It’s a far less flexible style than that of Leclerc.

The notion that he was flattered by the Adrian Newey Red Bulls is nonsense. On the contrary, he exaggerated the speed of the blown diffuser cars, squeezed more from them than would drivers with a more conventional style. I spent many hours standing trackside watching him do it and it could be quite extraordinary to behold, the Red Bull’s rear staying planted long enough to get him turned but then beginning to slide before the apex – which Vettel would cure by counter-intuitively standing hard on the gas pedal. He could do it in such a fluid, coordinated way, every time. Mark Webber used to shake his head after looking at his telemetry. How could this guy, who in a normal car wasn’t as quick as him through a fast corner, conjure this magic?
There’s no inherent reason why this generation of car should not have the sort of planted rear he craves. So far this season, the Ferrari hasn’t had it – but did have during testing at the very track we’re now at. If that trait can be technically accessed, the next question is whether Vettel can conjure the desire to extend himself, extract the maximum from himself, live in that uncomfortable territory? Race after race, in the grind of a season, against opponents, within the team and outside of it, who are just so relentlessly good?

Courtesy Mark Hughes, excerpts from a longer piece on Motorsportmagazine.com 10th May.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2019, 01:00:50 PM by John S »


Racing is life - everything else is just waiting. (Steve McQueen)

Offline cosworth151

This makes sense to me. Seb is a proven winner but does seem to need a car set up to his liking. Ferrari needs to make a big change. I think this one would work for them.
“You can search the world over for the finer things, but you won't find a match for the American road and the creatures that live on it.”
― Bob Dylan

Offline Scott

It can’t hurt, and if Leclerc isn’t bothered by it, why not?
The Honey Badger doesn't give a...

Offline Alianora La Canta

If Ferrari could sort it so it worked better for Seb, they could sort it so it worked better for both its drivers. Most of the issues appear to be equally problematic for Seb and Charles.

In practise, I don't think Ferrari could deploy this development strategy, no matter how much it wanted to (and I could see Charles being OK with it if it gave Seb a chance of salvaging the title, even if it risked the car being less suitable for himself, because he's playing the long game).
Percussus resurgio
@lacanta (Twitter)
http://alianoralacanta.tumblr.com (Blog/Tumblr)

Offline Jericoke

If this is true, this is why Ferrari can't win.

It's not enough to have the 'best' of everything, it's a team, and you have to work together.  Why wouldn't the Ferrari be designed, from day one, to suit Seb?

Offline jimclark

First there is no Vettel "magic". A driver cannot make a car do something it's not capable of doing doing. That's just plain old physics. Ferrari just getting "closer" wouldn't be enough.
Thus as Mark Hughes states: "How he [Vettel] fares now in the quick-fire rhythm of the ‘European’ part of the season could be key to his whole future. This is dependent not only on Ferrari’s ability to develop the SF90 into a Mercedes match but whether it can do so in a way that allows Vettel to express his natural driving style..." If the car is only closer in performance, it still ain't gonna win, no matter who's driving it

Anywho, they don't share a car so it would then be up to each car's crew to set them up for their driver, as always. It is then up to each driver to derive the car's potential (hypothetically matching the Merc) to beat Hamilton or Bottas, as they seem to be deriving there mounts' best. ;)
« Last Edit: May 24, 2019, 12:03:51 AM by jimclark »
"Those were the days my friends. We thought they'd never end..."

jimclark

Offline Alianora La Canta

If this is true, this is why Ferrari can't win.

It's not enough to have the 'best' of everything, it's a team, and you have to work together.  Why wouldn't the Ferrari be designed, from day one, to suit Seb?

There are a lot of teams that would pay a lot of money to know how to "bake in" a deliberate advantage for one driving style over another. It would make recruiting decisions so much easier if they knew in advance to hire two drivers with similar style (if attempting an equal-number-1 arrangement) or with opposite styles (if attempting a 1-2 arrangement).

However, teams don't yet know how to do this with any sort of reliability; the best they can do is find something that works and then develop it iteratively (leading subsequent cars to retain whatever driver preferences the previous model had). That was how Red Bull was able to get a design that favoured Seb. They stumbled on the 2010 design by coincidence while looking for the optimal overall design, iterated it into 4 titles, then moved away from that when regulations required them to look elsewhere for speed, with the resulting lack of optimisation for Seb. You could argue that Ferrari has never found a design that truly favours Seb, and this is the closest they've come to it since 2015 (ironically, that one started to be designed before Ferrari knew Seb as coming)... ...and I doubt this model will be seen as good enough to stick with iterative improvement for 2020!
Percussus resurgio
@lacanta (Twitter)
http://alianoralacanta.tumblr.com (Blog/Tumblr)

Offline Jericoke

If this is true, this is why Ferrari can't win.

It's not enough to have the 'best' of everything, it's a team, and you have to work together.  Why wouldn't the Ferrari be designed, from day one, to suit Seb?

There are a lot of teams that would pay a lot of money to know how to "bake in" a deliberate advantage for one driving style over another. It would make recruiting decisions so much easier if they knew in advance to hire two drivers with similar style (if attempting an equal-number-1 arrangement) or with opposite styles (if attempting a 1-2 arrangement).

However, teams don't yet know how to do this with any sort of reliability; the best they can do is find something that works and then develop it iteratively (leading subsequent cars to retain whatever driver preferences the previous model had). That was how Red Bull was able to get a design that favoured Seb. They stumbled on the 2010 design by coincidence while looking for the optimal overall design, iterated it into 4 titles, then moved away from that when regulations required them to look elsewhere for speed, with the resulting lack of optimisation for Seb. You could argue that Ferrari has never found a design that truly favours Seb, and this is the closest they've come to it since 2015 (ironically, that one started to be designed before Ferrari knew Seb as coming)... ...and I doubt this model will be seen as good enough to stick with iterative improvement for 2020!

I realise that designing an F1 car is easier said than done, and designing it to suit a specific driving style is an order of magnitude harder.  HOWEVER, I also know that designing an F1 car is a series of trade offs, balancing a car better to handle corners or straights, suspending more weight over the front or rear axle etc.  Vettel and the designers should be working on the same page to decide which tradeoffs make more sense.  The way this article is written it sounds like that never occurred to Ferrari; that they just built a car and are now getting around to adjusting it to suit the #1 driver.

I have no idea if Mercedes uses that philosophy, or if they just got lucky in that the car suits Lewis (and much more Valterri this year)

Offline Alianora La Canta

As far as I am aware, Mercedes doesn't deliberately tailor its car to either driver. Great drivers require fairly similar basic things from their cars, and as Ferrari is deficient in those areas, it has to fix those first. After that, iteration tends to take care of getting cars that are increasingly well-suited to the team's incumbents, unless one driver is particularly inflexible.
Percussus resurgio
@lacanta (Twitter)
http://alianoralacanta.tumblr.com (Blog/Tumblr)