Ferrari have been the surprise of the season just one race into the 2015 F1 calendar this after struggling for pace during 2014. the Scuderia has found improved form to become a serious challenger, if only for the third step of the podium. Mercedes are still the superior package and in pure performance the Ferrari isn’t any faster in relative terms to the Mercedes than it was last year.
However Ferrari have made enough changes to advance ahead and become the second fastest team on the grid which wasn’t the case last year. Sebastian Vettel replaced Fernando Alonso after the Spaniard jumped ship for McLaren believing the Scuderia’s best days were not going to materialise anytime soon in 2015.
However McLaren are simply unprepared having suffered the worst reliability of all the teams during pre-season testing. A new engine partnership with Honda is renewed after over two decades apart.
However McLaren faces many trouble times with an under performing before any performance can be extracted and this was underlined after their humiliation in Australia.
Vettel’s former team, Red Bull, are seemingly in the wilderness, their power has ebbed away with a Renault engine failing to deliver and their chief of design and F1 genius, Adrian Newey, pulling out from the F1 limelight.
So Ferrari are more upbeat as they head into this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix weekend, James Allison, Scuderia Ferrari’s Technical Director, took time out to discuss the specific nature of the Malaysian GP track “Normally, we assess the tracks based on two parameters; the level of aerodynamic downforce required and the power needed from the power unit,” said James Allison.
Alison also added “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, its 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.”“Even the car’s cooling system is seriously tested at Sepang, 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.”Sepang International Circuit