F1 / Third Quarter Financial Statements – Carlo Platella

The next round in Singapore will likely be the second for world champion Max Verstappen. A scenario radically flipped compared to what it was a few months ago, not only at the top of the standings, as Charles Leclerc appears to be on the run after the Australian Grand Prix. Performance hierarchies are also brokenRed Bull is currently overflowing and in stark contrast to the Ferrari that was springtime competitive to win in Barcelona, ​​Monaco, Baku and France, the latest race follows Silverstone’s successes and even more so than Red Bull. bell. Thus, a reversal has been identified in the foreground so that its roots extend beyond mere aerodynamic updates.

Simplifying the reflections in the field of aerodynamics only, and it can be said that during the development of the narrative Great emphasis is placed on the absolute values ​​of aerodynamic forces Load and resistance to movement, as well as their ratio, are an indicator of efficiency. However, the distribution of these forces along the length of the vehicle is equally important. In an ideal world, to take advantage of every bit of tire grip, one would like both the front and rear axles to be able to reach their own grip limits. However, in fact, this behavior is only approximated, with the difference noticing that it tries to direct the beam towards a slight direction or slightly overtake, also taking into account the preferences of the driver, in fact the car translator was called to enhance its capabilities. Problems arise when there are excessive imbalances, ensuring that one axle reaches the grip limit long before the other, which remains with an unused residual grip. If all of this in qualifying was obscured by the extra grip of the new tire, the problems would appear in the race in all its awkwardness. Vehicle instability and imbalance require the driver to sacrifice performance or make constant corrections, resulting in high tire wear.

All this highlights how much Performance and balance are two different concepts, Although not separated, where one requires the other. Implementation of updates is often aimed at intensifying the aerodynamic load intensity or decreasing drag, which in fact benefits the flying lap performance. However, their incorrect distribution creates budget imbalances that undermine tire management and the rider’s ability to fully exploit the potential that exists. Everything finds its structure in words Pierre WashRed Bull Technical Director: “Every time it’s tough when you theoretically try to develop the car for performance and then you find yourself stuck in terms of preparing to rebalance the car. This means that you have to give up a little bit of performance to get the right balance, which you want. I would say you lose some performance to improve it. It doesn’t mean it’s a lot, but it’s that kind of trend.”. With these dynamics, Red Bull and Ferrari were two opposing track champions.

At the start of the year Milton Keynes’ side were underperforming from their direct rivals, as evidenced by the Ferrari mogul’s six positions in the first eight rounds. The team in particular struggled to stabilize tire pressures and lap temperatures, finding less competitiveness on Saturday than on Sunday. “I think I have a good racing pace and then On Sunday, we can stabilize the pressure better and make the tires work betterAnd the Max Verstappen said after qualifying in Jeddah. “It’s very different from qualifying, you really have to prepare the tire properly and today it didn’t go well from that point of view”. Slowly Red Bull has regained performance in the season, thanks to the updates made to the car, starting on the other hand to tackle balancing problems, to further emphasize the duality between the two sides. The team revealed the biggest financial difficulties in conjunction with the introduction of updates in June and Julywhich requires several free practice sessions to find the optimal setup and suffers noticeable deterioration in the race, as in Austria.

Red Bull found itself in exactly that state that Wache mentioned of a stuck setup in terms of options to rebalance the car. The work contributed to its solution in many aspects: mechanical, aerodynamic and, last but not least, weight reduction. Not only was the RB18 overweight, it was also The increased mass determines an unbalanced forward-facing distribution of weightwhich feeds the chronic volatile. “The car was overweight and was in the wrong places. That is why he was misunderstood and tended to lock up”, explained Verstappen at Monza. It can also be imagined that the increased mass increased the mechanical load on the front end, which contributes to the impressive speed of the front axle in warming up, to the point of overcoming the opposite overflow and the struggle for stabilizing pressures. Once the mass to be managed is reduced Increased degrees of freedom to adjust the suspension unit, effectively “unlock” the setting. Once the lost balance was regained, Red Bull also regained performance and began to accumulate one victory after another.

On the other hand, Ferrari has followed a completely opposite path. In May and June, Cavallino already had a very powerful and well-balanced car, the management of decline was one of its strengths. The situation began to worsen with the introduction of the new fund in France, as Binotto explained: The evolution we brought to FranceThe latter, which is practical from an aerodynamic point of view, was done to improve mobility and for us it should have been an important step forward to reduce it. Inevitably, it also led to secondary behaviors, however desirable, but That today binds us in something.”. For Ferrari, a similar problem in terms of dynamics appears to have been repeated to that which was later solved by Red Bull, a performance increase that hurt the car’s budget management. All of this affects tire degradation in the race, which has become a limiting factor for F1-75. The team manager explained again after the Zandvoort race: “Both riders are already on Friday They were not satisfied with the car’s balance between high and low speed. This makes the car more difficult to drive especially in racing situations, where there are many laps and no mistakes can be made. On the single qualifying lap, there’s always the new tire that covers these issues, because it gives that extra grip somehow the rider with their sensitivity can turn on the flying lap.”

Of particular interest is the comment on balancing problems in the transition from high to low speeds. Indeed, from Binotto’s words, it appears that the updates to the F1-75 may have affected the center of pressure, a fictional reference point for the distribution of aerodynamic forces, prevalent at high speeds, and increasingly lower than the center of gravity, a reference to mechanical forces. This could have become more complicated for the Ferrari technicians Compensate for different vehicle behaviors, or rather disharmonious, at high and low distances. At Monza, the Maranello team ran comparison tests with the box version before the specs rolled out in France, to gather useful data to find balance and from there performance. Once again, the words of Pierre Washe are recent: “You have to give up performance a little bit to get the balance right.”

The higher the constrained degrees of freedom, the more “blocking” the setting becomes and the search for equilibrium becomes complicated. If weight distribution is one of those binding elements for Red Bull, One wonders if the ground clearance is incorrect for Ferrari. The problem with Technical Directive 039 is a thorny issue, as well as a question mark for those who have to risk an explanation from the outside. The TD039 has tightened the controls on underside wear, which could force the teams to raise the vehicle’s height above the ground. The union intervened with full knowledge of the factsaware of the presence of irregular panels on some cars, as attested by the words of Nicholas Tombazis on the subject: “After the first races we saw that not all of them behave in the same way and so it was necessary to harmonize this aspect.” So it is plausible that some cars have suffered more than others from the tightening of controls recently, with it doubtful whether or not Ferrari is among the teams worst affected, an issue on which there are conflicting opinions in the environment. Scuderia’s recent test at Monza with the old box, which the team has identified as a possible cause of the Reds’ budget woes, appears to give credence to Binotto’s words about little impact of the steering, without ruling it out entirely.

Regardless of the actual impact of the TD039 or not, the circus races after the summer break on stress-filled tracks like Spa and Zandvoort, where Cars crash to the ground due to steep cliffs He would have forced a temporary increase in ground clearance even without the latest guidance. Again, increasing the distance from the ground is equivalent to decreasing the margins of freedom for suspension adjustment, and back again to the “closed” setting state. The challenge for Ferrari between now and the end of the year is to get out of the vicious circle on a par with what has been done with Red Bull, and restore balance, race performance and possibly a win that will boost team morale by 2023.

FP | Carlo Platilla

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