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Ferrari target reliability as drivers promise to fight fair
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Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  25 Jan 2014   |  3:12 pm GMT  |  346 comments

With comprehensive regulation changes leading to radically different machinery for 2014, Ferrari Technical Director James Allison has targeted reliability as the key target for the team’s F14 T, which was launched this afternoon.

Allison, who joined the team late last season from Lotus, insisted that while new power units and changes to the aerodynamic regulations will create performance differences, it will be a team’s ability to finish races that will have a major influence on this year’s campaign.

“The 2014 season sees us for the first time in many years having free development of an engine from a clean sheet of paper and that’s going to bring a level of variation of power between the various engine manufacturers that makes the engine a much more important competitive factor in 2014 than it has been in previous years,” he said.

“The rules on aerodynamics are also very new,” he added. “The rate of development we have aerodynamically through the season will be very steep and the importance of aerodynamics to the championship is going to be at least as important as the differences in power levels between the various engine manufacturers.

“However, if I had to choose one thing that was likely to be the dominant factor for the whole season I would choose neither the level of power or the aerodynamic development. I would say that this year reliability is going to be absolutely fundamental.”

Echoing the technical director’s views, Fernando Alonso added: “One of things we need to have under control is the reliability of the car and to try to finish the first races of the season. That will be one of the main difficulties this year. As far as we are able to finish all the races without any problem we would be happy, and then the performance will arrive.”

Alonso, of course, will this season be paired with Kimi Raikkönen and while some observers have predicted that the partnership could be fractious, the Spanish driver insisted that he and Raikkönen will race for the team first.

“We will follow whatever the team priority is and we will try to do our best to win both championships and bring back to Ferrari some of the success it has had in the past,” he said. “The best way to achieve that is to race at 100 per cent every race to try to bring back points for the team and for ourselves. To do that we need perfect harmony and to follow the team’s priorities and do what the team asks.”

Raikkönen, too, maintained the party line and when asked what would happen if the duo find themselves racing on the same stretch of track insisted that he and Alonso “know what we have to do”.


“I don’t think there is any way of telling [what would happen]. Every situation is different,” said the Finn who is returning to the team with which he won the 2007 title. “We know what we have to do. We will race other. We respect each other, but you try to come out on top. There’s a lot of talk from outside about problems and that kind of thing but inside the team there is a very good feeling and hopefully we can bring both championships to the team.”

As for the F14 T, the new car, as with others seen so far, features a steeply dropped nose. However, unlike Lotus’ E22, which has a two-pronged arrangement, or McLaren MP4-29, which features uprights on either side of the thin nose, Ferrari’s solution is a sculpted though significant step down from the front bulkhead leading to a relatively wide and flat nose.

Under the skin, too, there are relatively few similarities to the car’s predecessor, though the team has chosen to continue with pull-rod front and rear suspension.

Alonso admitted that the new car and the new regulations, which promote efficiency though tight fuel controls, may influence driving style in F1 this season. However, the double world champion added that is looking forward to the challenge.

“I think in 2014 F1 will change a lot with the regulations,” he said. “Those will have some implications on the driving style so I’m looking forward to discovering this new Formula One.

“I think we have to be optimistic,” he added in a later online press conference. “Let’s say that there are no signs to be pessimistic. We are in a changeable time now with some big regulation changes but I think we are quite well prepared for that. The team has been working for a good time over the winter on the car. We have the technology, the people and the facilities to create and to be able to challenge in this new Formula One.”

Analysis of the car from the images available by JA on F1 Technical adviser Mark Gillan will follow.

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1

To Martin, thanks your reply to my earlier comments. As always, incredibly well informed and insightful!

Martin (or anyone else in the know-how) do you know if Ferrari has gone with a long or short wheelbase car this year? And if so, why?

Secondly, has James Allison has any input into this years design? If so, how much and what ideology has he brought to Ferrari?

Thirdly, do you think the Ferrari’s water jacket design has sacrificed ultimate light weight in favour of aero efficiency?

Fourth, did – or are – Ferrari still using Toyota’s wind tunnel for this years aero development? It doesn’t seem to have brought them much benefit into their total downforce making ability in the last few years.

Fifth, does anyone agree with me that Ferrari have struggled relatively to the Bulls, Maccas and Branws/Mercs the last few years because those teams have invested in advanced simulation techniques, while Ferrari culturally relied on the old empirical way of development – ie testing on their private track – and the Italian stallion is struggling to adjust to simulation software to develop its F1 cars? I know that sounds a bit simplistic, but, isn’t it fascinating that since the testing ban came in since 2009 Ferrari have never out developed their rivals during the European season at any time.

PS Martin, totally agree with you on the Red Bull producing more overall load than the Prancing Horse. I noticed last year Fernando and Felipe were struggling with turn in/mid corner oversteer, suggesting that the rear axle of the Ferrari lacks downforce relative to front axle. This problem was particularly acute at Suzuka, Korea and Abu Dhabi. Also noticed Ferrari had poor traction at some tracks as well.

2

Funny comments here, really looking forward to this season.

so i understand very basic aero but wont that nose at 150mph deflect air over and past the air box ? hmmm ferrari slowest top speeds this year.

3

There seems to be a misconception on this forum (and in general) that all Ferrari F1 cars are pretty and the epitome of style and beauty. Unfortunately, Ferrari sometimes creates an F1 creature so ugly it makes your eyes bleed! Just look at the 1979 T4 and 1980 T5, my god those two cars from the Scuderia were ugly; they were basically a red wart with 2 axles. And to cap it all, the ugly 1980 T5 was slow, unreliable and outclassed by the gold old Cossie DFV teams. The 1986 Ferrari f1/86c was a podgy old thing (and didn’t win a race that year as well), and who remembers Michael and Eddie 1996/97 machines which looked a puffa fish that had binged on burgers? And recently, there was the 2009 Ferrari, a bloated pig of a car if ever there was one – especially compared to beautiful, slim, elegant Brawn of that year. Ferrari had made some glorious looking machines for F1, no doubt about it: the 1989/1990 640’s driven by Gerhard, Our Nige and Professor Prost were automotive works of art, and with Ross’s guidance the F1 machines of 2000 to 2005 were truly lovely to look at – and pretty effective as well. I noticed that Top Gear was made this point too: we all think Ferrari’s are pretty because of their names; but they have some stinkers in their time, so don’t be surprised that this years car looks terrible.

4

Remember the new cars are a response to a host of new rules. The cars have been under development for more than 18 months to date. They all use the same FIA mandated deformable side impact structure, each team is free to profile the intakes, guide vanes and lower surface at the tray.

In the case of the Ferrari I think the wide nose is interesting because of the way it rolls off the upper edge. Ferrari may be considering the fact F-1 cars moving laterally tend to shroud the outboard sidepod intake, the rolled upper edge of the nose could reduce the turbulence and its effect on volume into the sidepods thus giving a marginal, but important increase in thermal efficiency. This year is going to be about energy management; be it fuel , kinetic, electrical or thermal. The F-14 T (think “Top Gun” and the Grumman F-14 “Tomcat not FIAT) is the first integrated car/power unit developed under one roof we have seen so far. McLaren, Williams, Lotus and Ferrari have each come up with different solutions to a very complex problem, can’t wait to see the new Red Bull and Mercedes.

This year the technically inclined f-1 fans are going to be challenged as never before to understand the subtleties of this amazing conflict we call Formula 1.

5

James,

There is already a rumor going around, the three engine suppliers are in a fight about the safety of the turbo. It seems Merc and Renault have a safety cover around the turbo while Ferrari not, thus saving some kilos in an area where you dont want any weight (high above CoG).

Is this true or is there more news to it ?

6

Interesting thought. When most people think ‘turbocharger,’ they think of the bomb-proof 10 pound lump of metal in their car or truck. It stands to reason that the units used in F1 will be a lot lighter, possibly to the point that they won’t be able to contain a turbine failure?

7

Will check it out

8

I think its fair to say that along with McLaren Ferrari have been serial underachievers in the last five years; no WDC or constructors titles; lack of clarity of thought and direction in design department; inability to out develop rivals throughout the European leg of the season and a lack of operational efficiency and questionable strategic decisions (remember that bizarre decision to bring in Fernando early at Abu Dhabi 2010, trapping him behind Petrov and handing a grateful Sebastian and Red Bull WDC which he has yet to relinquish?). Hopefully, both Macca and the Italian stallion will get their act together this year; that’s easy for me to say, but lets not forget Ferrari and McLaren have excellent facilities and big budgets and should be doing better then they been. But there again, Adrian is plotting another year of humiliation for the scarlet and silver cars…………..

9

Well if all else fails it will make a good slippery-dip for the kids 🙂

10

Has anyone considered the ramifications of a serious rear end collision ? Would the follower not bury himself underneath the leader car more easily ?

They are what they are chaps so let’s enjoy the season – until the last race………

11

James, I know it’s not strictly related to reliability of the car, although it is related to Ferrari: has anyone noticed that in recent years Ferrari’s weakest tracks have been Melbourne, Monaco and Hungary. All tight twiddly tracks with bumps aplenty and lots of high kerbs to jump over (I think that’s why Lewis is a Hungaroring specialist since he loves to attack the kerbs ferociously). In fact, Ferrari haven’t won at Melbourne since 2007, their race winning pedigree at Monaco is even worse with no winners champagne since 2001 and they have been woefully slow in Hungary over the last three years. As Monaco and Hungary are tight, slow and bumpy, this would suggest that Ferrari’s suspension compliance is pretty poor, as it seems the prancing horses are not able to soak up the bumps and attack kerbs with impunity. Also, Monaco and Hungary are ultra high downforce tracks suggesting that Ferrari’s ability to generate raw downforce is severely lacking. Also, agility and nimbleness are very important around Monte Carlo and the Hungaroring, so is it possible that the Ferrari is just too cumbersome on tight corners? I’m not beating up on Ferrari, but Ferrari’s lack of form at Australia, Monaco and Hungary does hint of an ongoing lack of suppleness and ultimate downforce potential.

Any thoughts?

12

Hi Gaz,

The Ferrari suspension is fine. You may recall comment on Mercedes’ FRIC hydraulic suspension. Aldo Costa brought that knowledge from Ferrari. If you want a car without suspension compliance, look at the McLaren. The Ferrari basically lacks downforce from the floor and exhaust blowing. The speed at Spa and Monza suggests that the efficiency is there, just not the total load.

Mark Hughes’ analysis of Hamilton is that it is his ability to quickly rotate the car with turn in oversteer and get on the throttle a fashion earlier that is a key part of his technique at the Hungaroring. The other thing to consider is that he’s rarely had a weak car there. The McLaren had the qualifying edge over Ferrari in 2007 and 2008. Once McLaren changed the front wing in Germany the 2009 was a match for anything in slow corners. Fuel loads meant he wasn’t on Pole. 2010 was the only time he had an off the pace car. 2011 was the Red Bull mid season lull. The McLaren suspension is great for wet tyre temperature. 2012 McLaren had the most downforce so Hamilton just had to control the race from pole and survive the greater tyre life on the Lotuses. 2013 a qualifying error from Vettel left the door open for a high quality lap. Track position and some efficient passing did the rest.

13

Dear Martin,

Thank you for replying to my comments and your immense wisdom and insightful knowledge! I agree with your comments, it’s just I find it too much of a co-incidence that Ferrari have been so poor at Monaco and Hungary in recent years. I think you hit the nail on the head: Ferrari have good efficiency, but not the total loading ability.

Actually Martin, that ties in with my comments on Ferrari’s aero balance being inferior to Red Bull over the years. When I talk about aero balance, I mean the ability to generate an equal load and distribution of downforce between the front and rear axles, and to have the aerodynamic centre of pressure right in the middle of the car. You may have noticed the Red Bull of the last few years runs more rake than any other car, certainly compared to Ferrari. You’re spot on Martin in pointing out that Ferrari cannot generate as much rear downforce as Red Bull, and I do wonder if Ferrari’s aero department can find the solution run this years new regs. We shall see…………..

Again, you are spot on Martin about McLaren lacking suspension compliance and composure. The last few years all Maccas have had a poor ride quality as well. I always thought the 2009 Brawn that sent Jenson on his way to the WDC had superb suspension compliance and excellent ride quality: witness Brawn wins at Melbourne, Monaco, Valencia and even Monza where kerb hopping composure is required.

Lovely to talk to somebody who is such well informed, knowledgeable and insightful into the black art of Formula 1 design!

PS Martin, we haven’t mentioned tyres, and the effect they will have on the new cars. Presumably this years Pirelli’s will have a much stiffer sidewall to cope with the flexing from the extra torque?

14

Hi Gaz,

A thing to consider with the tracks at Melbourne Monaco and Budapest is that all of them are quite low grip surfaces, being quite smooth at the micro level from all the road traffic, and the Hungaroring is quite dusty. This could play a role in tyre warm up for qualifying as the loads through the tyres are reduced. Just an idea.

Re the tyres, it will come down to what tricks Pirelli has to manage heat build up. Greater longitudinal forces distort the sidewalls more, and distortion leads to the creation of heat. Material choices will influence this.

One thing I’d need longer to think about is the magnitude of the acceleration force compared to the braking forces. Due to the aerodynamic loads and the low CoG the rear tyres do almost 50% of the braking. Aerodynamic drag makes up a bit of the peak braking force, so how significant the change is in terms of peak forces, I’m not sure, but there will be more time spent with higher forces involved.

The peak acceleration of the 2014 cars will be less than the 2013, as there are points where the 2013 cars will produce more power and in general they will be lower geared. The average acceleration of the 2014 cars will be greater I believe as the V8s have a very limited range where the torque is high ~14000 rpm plus.

I’m familiar with the level of rake in the Red Bull from 2011 onwards, which allowed a greater working range of the floor while using softer springs to aid traction and shed some drag at high speeds by having the car squat.

Designers will look for a centre of pressure that is behind the centre of gravity in high speed turns as it helps a lot with stability and preventing drivers spinning. I found an academic paper on this from one of the Enstone engineers on this (I think Renault rather than Benetton era) but the principle hasn’t changed. In low speed corners it is less relevant as the driver has the ability to use the brakes and engine to influence car behaviour and there is much more human capacity to react. Now where the drag is and how the downforce is distributed are different things but they are related. Having a downforce distribution that matches the weight distribution might seem nice, but due to the desire to shed drag at high speeds and the varying weight distribution in corners due to the braking effect, it isn’t a primary goal. The front to read wing levels get adjusted to provide the best compromise for the corners on the track to keep the driver happy while shedding the right amount of drag at high speeds to get the race engineers happy with the lap times. Fundamentally, I don’t think Red Bull had an aerodynamic balance advantage over any of the teams, just an advantage in total load. Early in the season the Mercedes probably had an advantage in some corner types in terms of load, plus it worked its tyres very hard.

Just on suspension, I agree that softer generally seems to be a better way to go.

Cheers,

Martin

15

Alonso was second in Melbourne last year..

Monaco has been a weakness for quite a while. They are long overdue a win there.

I think it’s clear that Ferrari hasn’t had the most downforce for ages, since the Schumacher times in fact.

16

If it is fast, It will be beautiful!

17

Kinda weird but if it’s fast winning that’s the game.

18

It looks like the mouth of a nurse shark. It’s a shark, but the least dangerous one.

Hope it didn’t get killed by Flipper the dolphin.

But there is hope, wiki says nurse sharks can suck there oppenents into their mouth. So i hope for Ferrari that means they will come into the slipstream easily.

19

The front end looks like this because of their choice of the push pull rod arrangement…most other teams have not chose this strategy…will it work…who knows…for now

20

I like the fact that the cars are looking so different, like f1 in the 70s and 80s. These last few years the only thing distinguishing each car was the paint job to a large extent. I loved the mad and crazy f1 designs in the 70s. Long may it continue.

21

James, how deeply was Rory Byrne involved in the development of the car ?

22

That is a good question and one I aim to find out more about. Certainly involved for some time as a consultant, but how hands on was, he? That’s the question.

23

Dolphins nose, I love it.

25

The FI4T even had a FIAT decal on its nose.

26

I don’t think it’s an ugly car, not when compared to Lotus’ anyways! It’s a toss up between this and McLaren’s MP4-29. The dropped nose kind of reminds me of that of the McLaren MP4-18’s + the Ferrari F2001’s – albeit in a very exaggerated manner.

Hopefully this car proves quick, and Fernando can finally clinch his much deserved – and painfully elusive – 3rd word title!

27

Deserved?

Hardly.

28

I’ll never understand the proclivity of websites and blogs to fail to link to source material. It’s poor form.

For more photos and videos of the F14 T see:

http://f14t.ferrari.com/en/

29

Please – we’ve been scarred enough already 😉

30

Yes yes! Bla, bla, bla… All those above who have said the nose is ugly or whatever, need to remember this:

Form follows function.

The rules are to blame, not the teams. Everyone is on the same path. They try to extract the max aero efficiency from what the rules allow. If Newey’s baby has also the same pronged nose don’t blame the design teams. Blame the FIA and their over protective rules. Come on! Racing is dangerous. What’s next? Rubber made cars? Soft perimetric barriers? Padded trees? For Christ sake! This is F1. It is a dangerous sport. And let me close stating F1 cars have been until this aero era, the best engineered and developed cars, beautiful machinery, not these… you know what…

31

“The rules are to blame, not the teams. Everyone is on the same path.”

And yet the Lotus looks way nicer, and the Sauber.

32

At least the F14 T doesn’t have a nose that looks like….something obvious….we all know what those finger noses look like.

THANK YOU FERRARI.

Furthermore, I’m no expert aerodynamicist, but I’ve done plenty of reading pre-launch. Some who ARE experts say there is a clear advantage to a wide, rounded nose, as seen on the F14 T. Read up before you pass judgement….

33

“Furthermore, I’m no expert aerodynamicist, but I’ve done plenty of reading pre-launch. Some who ARE experts say there is a clear advantage to a wide, rounded nose, as seen on the F14 T. Read up before you pass judgement….”

Good job on the reading, but none of that stops it from being ugly, even if it is fast.

34

I fear this may actual end up being one of the prettier cars …

35

Its Interesting noting that people here are just discussing about the nose of the cars & not other distinguishing features.

I am amazed to see Ferrari will 30% smaller side pods compared to that of McLaren & Williams car designs. Also The engine packing looks very tight in Ferrari. I can’t compare Lotus as their picture leaks are more concentrated on nose and i can’t clearly see their side pods which would have given us indication of the Renault V6 unit.

McLaren & Williams are using Mercedes engine which maybe requires more cooling and thats what James Allison is trying to say about reliability.

Will be interesting to see and compare the Renault power teams with their engine packing & exhausts.

36

This is what is seems to contradict the message coming out of the release, surely if you wanted to increase reliability the first thing you would do was to make sure cooling was foremost. The sauber car looks very tight too, which I would more expect from Red Bull, and we know that cost them in 2009.

37

There’s a suggestion that the Ferrari power unit might use more water cooling for an aero benefit but a weight penalty. Some other design choices by Ferrari suggest a focus on weight minimisation, according to Craig Scarborough.

38

The lower amount of cooling on the Ferrari compared to the others is very interesting, seeing as this is a real priority with the turbo cars

39

Am I the only one who actually finds the Lotus’ nose to be the most attractive? The asymmetry is fine, it even reminds me of the spaceship from the first Alien movie.

The Blue Proboscis Monkey is next. Bad, but I think I’ll learn to ignore it soon enough.

Ferrari. Dust Buster? Italian Heffalump? It’s bad from some angles, fine from others.

Last by several laps is the Godawful Flying Nostril. Every time I look at it, I get flashbacks from the from Total Recall (the fist one!!) scene where Arnie is pulling the red tracker ball out his nose!

40

“Am I the only one who actually finds the Lotus’ nose to be the most attractive? The asymmetry is fine,”

Nope, it’s not just you.

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