Ferrari, why are you so fragile?  The background of the Baku disaster

The double technical knockout worries the Cavallino on the issue of reliability: Leclerc betrayed by the engine while he was in the lead, as already happened in Spain, and Sainz stopped by a hydraulic problem. Accelerated development under investigation

by the correspondent Giusto ferronato

– baku (azerbaijan)

Twentieth lap of the Azerbaijan GP, ​​Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari in command. The Monegasque took the long finish straight and from his F1-75 here is a white cloud rising into the sky. End of dreams, the Cavallino World Cup 2022 probably went up in smoke like this. Because Red Bull scored a double with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez and because now the Monegasque’s disadvantage in the standings from the Dutch world champion is 34 points after eight races. It is not something that cannot be bridged, but now, when the Cavallino seemed to have taken the right direction, the problem by definition, reliability, has arisen. How come?

first the horses, then the duration

The most immediate answer was provided by team principal Mattia Binotto after the race, above all performance was sought at the expense of reliability. People had come to Maranello for years in which the engine has been a weak point, a lot of work has been done taking advantage of this revolutionary change in the technical regulation to focus on something that would finally return to giving horses and top speed. The department headed by Enrico Gualtieri achieved the result, because finally a Ferrari capable of flying, winning two races and achieving repeating pole positions has been revised, as demonstrated by Leclerc’s six winning qualifying sessions since the beginning of the season, including this one. last Azerbaijani race. But now we have reached the eighth round and the wear of some components has evidently started to show the rope. The focus was essentially on performance at the expense of reliability. The reasons for such a choice? A fatal forgetfulness? Obviously not, plus the search for a compromise, but yesterday proved to be a short blanket.

fewer hours at the counter, difficult recovery

A calculation has been made. First of all, there is a restriction of the regulation to be considered, namely the freezing of these new power units for 4 years. In developing an engine, therefore, the Cavallino technicians first sought power, because once this was found, for 4 years it would no longer be possible to work on a significant increase in it. But to do this, given that the same regulation imposed limits on the hours at the counter, it was evidently had to sacrifice something in the search for reliability. The Cavallino explained that it did not discount either on performance or in the search for robustness. But yesterday’s GP showed that something went wrong and now solutions will have to be found as soon as possible. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be that easy because you can’t run the engines on the bench unlimitedly. The regulation has introduced limitations both to the benches and to the hours of development in the wind tunnel, simple and immediate solutions will not be a walk in the park, and in the meantime Red Bull is moving away.

already in canada risk of penalties

A lot of course will depend on what the Cavallino technicians discover on Tuesday at the factory, when the power unit will be analyzed and the telemetry will be analyzed. In Canada Leclerc will have to mount a new engine, the third, and if he were forced to replace the turbo as well, he would already be penalized on the starting grid, given that the component was broken at Montmelò (together with the MGU-H) and the Ferrari. replaced him in Baku. The positive side is that, being a fresh engine, and therefore with a reduced mileage, the problem that forced him to retire yesterday should not be repeated in Montreal. But for the following races? And when the new unit has accumulated another six or seven grand prix? Questions that now need to be addressed taking into account that Sainz was also knocked out yesterday, he due to a plumbing problem. And yet the Spaniard is already using the second engine mounted for precautions in Imola after the heavy “scordolata” in Australia.

pilots don’t understand

According to Leclerc, there is a bit of concern because the Monegasque himself is unable to explain what happened: “We are fast and we did not have any particular technical problems in the first part of the season – he said after the race disconsolately – now instead it seems that we have some. more than in the beginning. But the fact is that we have not changed huge things, if anything we have made improvements, so it is difficult to understand why what happened “. And Sainz also did not give many reassurances to the Ferrari fans: “I find myself in a bit of the same situation as Charles, it is the first time that I accuse a hydraulic problem – said the Spaniard – I am convinced that the team will analyze, we are a united team. , we are not happy but we will make up again, already in Canada. We need to understand the specific problems, stay calm and united, knowing that it is not a good day for the Ferrari fans. But the championship is long and we need to stay positive “.

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