Enrico Cardile, the Head of Performance Development at Scuderia Ferrari, says this weekend’s updates to the SF1000 will complete the programme that started at the Sochi Autodrom last month in a bid to improve the pace of the car.
Ferrari introduced a small aerodynamic update for the Russian Grand Prix and then brought more updates to the Eifel Grand Prix two weeks ago. They are bringing a further update to the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve for the Portuguese Grand Prix in a bid to help bring both Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel up the order.
The team currently sit sixth in the Constructors’ Championship with just six races remaining, and these updates are aimed at closing the gap to those in front of them and for 2021, where development will be limited due to a freeze in regulations ahead of the bigger change to them in 2022.
“We already introduced a few small modifications to the car’s aero package in Sochi and added others at the Nürburgring,” said Cardile. “In Portimao we will have a further update, mainly to the diffuser, completing the programme set out over the past few months.
“The most important thing is to get confirmation that our development is on the right track. Indications from the past few Grands Prix are positive and we hope the same will apply this weekend. We have to consider that, more than ever this year, development is aimed at the following season.
“All the same, we still expect to see a performance improvement with the SF1000: it would be very useful to at least find ourselves heading the group of cars and drivers currently fighting within just a few tenths for places four and lower.
“Only a couple of times this year have we been able to fight for a place in the sun on the second or third row and our aim between now and December is to be consistently fighting for those places. But then, precisely because this part of the grid is so close, it takes hardly anything to find yourself fourth or twelfth, but that’s all part of the game.”
“Seeing ourselves down in sixth place hurts”
Cardile says Ferrari will be using the two development tokens available to them to improve the rear end of the car for the 2021 season, as the team feel that is where they will be able to gain the most.
“With the proviso that each team has its own design philosophy, our belief is that the rear end offers the biggest margin for improvement,” said Cardile. “I say that not just because it’s the area of the car where pretty significant changes have been introduced in the technical regulations, but also we believe that because of the way our car is laid out, we could really make significant progress.
“That’s why we’ve decided to spend our two tokens allowed in the rules, in this very area. Because next year, it will not be permitted to modify all the basic components of the car, but only some and the FIA sets a token allocation for each of them, with all teams having two tokens available.”
From 2021, there will be a limitation to the use of wind tunnels in Formula 1, so Cardile knows it is essential for the team to maximise their time both in the simulator and on track to develop the car this year ahead of the regulation changes.
“It is essential that we know the concepts we are working on now are the right one, so as not to lose time in 2021,” he said. “From next year on, the number of hours available will be in inverse proportion to a team’s position in the previous year’s Constructors’ classification: the higher placed you are, the less time you are given. The difference won’t be huge, but in Formula 1, each minute of testing, be it on track, on the test bed or in the wind tunnel, is precious.
“However, I’m not joking when I say our aim is to make up ground this year. When we look at the standings, seeing ourselves down in sixth place hurts and we are well aware that it is not a position worthy of Ferrari.
“We absolutely want to improve, for us and for our fans who still support us with passion, even at difficult times like the ones we are going through now.”