Sakhir could present an opportunity for Ferrari

by Dec 3, 20200 comments


Ferrari‘s Head of Track Engineering, Matteo Togninalli believes this weekend’s race on the outer configuration of the Bahrain track could present an opportunity for the Italian team.

His claim will come as a surprise following the Scuderia’s struggles over the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, the Italian outfit and its two customer teams consistently posting times slower than in 2019.

“It’s pretty much a new challenge but with a few known parameters,” says Togninalli. “It’s true we’re racing at the same venue and on the same track surface, but it has different characteristics, as it misses out the slow section and the high-speed corners.

“The tyres will therefore have more time to recover in between corners,” he continues. “This affects the set-up and level of aero downforce, as well as tyre behaviour, given that they have to deal with 20 to 30% lower energy levels, particularly at the rear.

“So, some problems such as the overheating we saw last weekend should be less of an issue. In terms of efficiency, it is definitely higher than last weekend’s layout so I expect the cars to carry less downforce.”

Asked if the new elements and overall track characteristics will be an opportunity or a handicap,” he insists: “An opportunity, because it’s a fact that last Saturday and Sunday we suffered a lot with managing the energy exerted on the tyres, so we could be in a better situation in this respect.

“On the other hand, it’s clear that the SF1000 does not shine on high efficiency tracks,” he admits, “and engine performance is more important here and these two factors will be key.

“The most important thing is to get the most out of our package, which we were not able to do last weekend.”

Asked how much can be learned from last weekend, particularly in terms of tyre management, he says: “There are some areas we want to investigate to find ways of improving performance, in terms of the approach to the lap and in set-up, but we are still tackling a different event.

“For example, we will run qualifying differently, because it won’t be an easy task finding the right moment to go out, because of traffic and also, relating to what I said earlier, it will not be easy to get the tyre temperatures into the right window.

“There’s a lot to do,” he admits, “but we engineers like that.

“Other parameters that will need watching are fuel consumption and brake performance. The former will be pretty similar to last week, because on a high efficiency track you tend to run less aero downforce, but for the brakes, it could even more critical, especially in the race, when the heaviest braking points, like the first and last corner, will be tackled around thirty times more often than last Sunday.”


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