(© Ben Johnston 2015)
Scuderia Ferrari are confident of closing the gap to the Mercedes Formula One Team in Malaysia this weekend.
The Italian outfit emerged as the Brackley based team’s main competition at the season opening Australian Grand Prix with four time world champion Sebastian Vettel ending his first race with Ferrari in third place behind race winner Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Vettel and team mate Kimi Raikkonen qualified for the race in 4th and 5th place respectively.
The pair showed that the new SF15-T is an extremely quick car and up until he was forced to retire from the race Raikkonen was on target for a top five finish in the Grand Prix. The weather in Malaysia could play a key role in the race due to its unpredictable nature and there is heavy rain expected over the course of Sunday’s race.
Speaking to the Ferrari website ahead of this weekend’s race, Scuderia Ferrari Technical Director James Allison commented saying:
‘Normally, we assess the tracks based on two parameters; the level of aerodynamic downforce required and the power needed from the power unit.’
Allison went on to say:
‘And if one looks at just these two parameters, Sepang is very similar to Melbourne. Therefore, the car’s competitiveness ought to be similar. However, in Malaysia, it’s much hotter and more humid and this is a factor that stresses both the car and the tyres. Furthermore, usually a sudden storm can require an immediate change of strategy: everyone is constantly monitoring the weather, but reaction time is always vitally important.’
Scuderia Ferrari’s Chief Designer Simone Resta discussed how the team will take extra steps to cool the car due to the extremely high temperatures at the Sepang circuit. Resta stated:
‘We have various demands to manage: reliability and performance, the latter both in terms of the power unit and the aerodynamics. We are still in the early stages of the season, therefore we need to establish an accurate understanding of our true level: in Melbourne, we managed a good top speed, which could be very useful on the two long straights of the Malaysian track. At the moment, our pace is pretty good too and, at a circuit like this, where tyre degradation is very high, it could prove to be an advantage for us.’
© Ben Johnston 2015