SportF1The reasons why Ferrari lost downforce at Spa

The reasons why Ferrari lost downforce at Spa

Spa-Francorchamps was a real nightmare for Ferrari, and while Carlos Sainz’s podium finish made the weekend at the Belgian Grand Prix less bitter, the 27-second gap between the Spaniard and winner Max Verstappen is testament to the fact that the red car was never a rival.

In Maranello they will never admit it, but the F1-75 has lost performance because they have raised the ground clearance to comply with the introduction of the new FIA technical regulations. In the 2022 season, all the cars had a height feature, lower or higher, and some have paid more than others for the change.

Even Red Bull had to review its aerodynamics, but the RB18 lost much less load than the rest as it was a less sensitive vehicle to porpoising than the Ferrari, and the difference in Belgium was abysmal from qualifying, when the Dutchman led more than six tenths to Sainz.

The simulation of the Italians promised a competitive car, and from the first free practice session it was clear that to remedy the rebound against the asphalt, it was necessary to raise the height of the bottom, losing load, much more than expected.

Again, they got their homework wrong, and after they tried to scramble a temporary fix at Spa-Francorchamps , the car’s weaknesses were exposed. Being able to count on some downforce, the engineers opted to mount a very low wing, which they had studied in the wind tunnel, but the modifications already in the weekend itself left Ferrari without options against Red Bull, even in sections with full throttle.

Comparación de los alerones traseros del Ferrari F1-75 de Bakú y Spa

Comparison of the rear wings of the Ferrari F1-75 from Baku and Spa

The reality on the track revealed that the flat profile of the rear wing was something the Italians could not afford, because they failed to generate downforce in the second sector, where the characteristic good traction of the F1-75 should have shown off. Without Mercedes’ race pace difference to Red Bull remaining, Ferrari’s position shifted from contender for victory to defending against the Silver Arrows.

This is where you can see how lost the Maranello team was, in a grand prix that caught them off guard and caused them to say goodbye to any chance of winning the world championship.

Was it an isolated episode or has a downward curve begun for Ferrari? The doubts appeared in qualifying, where the rise in temperatures was not enough to reverse the situation [on Sunday there were 15 degrees more on the asphalt], because the Italians had no grip due to the loss of downforce and overheated the tires, nothing to do with the car with which they won in Austria thanks to their great management with the compounds.

Carlos Sainz achieved the miracle by climbing to the podium, while Charles Leclerc had to settle for a poor sixth position after a penalty for exceeding the speed limit in the pitlane. The Monegasque had to deal with a rise in brake temperature when a Max Verstappen tear-off got stuck in the cooling duct, causing an unexpected pit stop early in the race and burying all his options.

As it has been known, the one from Monaco, in addition, had to complete all the laps with a piece of carbon that rubbed the rim, and it was something that could have caused his abandonment at any moment.

The boss of Ferrari, Mattia Binotto , has not hidden that the situation in the Netherlands will be totally different from that of Belgium, but those of Maranello have chained two debacles in a row, so they must react in Zandvoort, where it is likely that some will be seen. aerodynamic changes. Some cooling openings or something different in the diffuser could be the options for the F1-75 to recover the load lost by raising the floor.

Fondo del Ferrari F1-75

Bottom of the Ferrari F1-75

The Dutch track is one where aerodynamic efficiency is king and, on paper, they should be a better fit than Red Bull, although the predictions are often wrong.

Italians are confident that Spa-Francorchamps was just a blot on their black calendar, and their fans will stay true to what is more akin to religion by buying nearly every ticket for the race at home, Monza, where they await a competitive Ferrari.

The appointment in Belgium could not show the real performance of the jump that they promise to give with the new 066/7 hybrid propeller that they mounted on Charles Leclerc’s single-seater, but it is likely that in the ‘Temple of Speed’ it will be seen what it is capable of .

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