One of F1’s most respected technical journalists agrees that Ferrari is back on track after its disappointing 2014.
Giorgio Piola, a veteran of hundreds of grands prix as a technical illustrator, said the biggest step forward taken by the Maranello team is on the ‘power unit’ side.
“The car seems better overall and certain fundamental errors were eliminated,” he told the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat.
Piola claims Ferrari’s 2014 engine was designed with the car’s aerodynamics in mind, but it resulted in a lack of power and efficiency from the crucial ‘energy recovery’ and turbo side.
“This side has been fixed and now it works in the same way as most competitors,” he said.
Piola also said the move away from bosses like Stefano Domenicali and Marco Mattiacci has helped, as last year the team “seemed confused due to a lack of control”.
“Jean Todt had a lot of discipline,” he recalls, “and now I see Sergio Marchione and Maurizio Arrivabenen also as strong leaders.”
Piola also said the change of drivers is helpful to Ferrari, as the driving styles employed by Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso last year was so different.
“Now, Kimi and Sebastian Vettel’s styles are largely similar,” he explained, “and all the car development can be done in the same direction.”
He said Ferrari has also made changes in the area of front suspension, with the 2014 layout unable to be adapted that resulted in Raikkonen’s season-long struggle.
“Ferrari’s unique pullrod suspension is difficult to adapt,” said Piola, “but now with the new car, even this has been improved.”
At the end of the day, however, Piola does not think the changes have been enough to totally catch up with Mercedes.
“Certainly, we know that Mercedes is stronger,” he said. “How much? It is still impossible to say during winter testing.” (GMM)