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Featured Will Ferrari really challenge Mercedes this season?

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Bethonie Waring, Mar 27, 2017.

  1. Bethonie Waring

    Bethonie Waring
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    Ferrari Mercedes.jpg Ferrari may have knocked Mercedes off of its pedestal in the first race of the season, but will it be able to consistently challenge the Silver Arrows this year?

    Sebastian Vettel took the race win in Australia after a strategic error saw Lewis Hamilton stuck behind Max Verstappen after the pit stops. It cost Hamilton the race, but Mercedes believe the race win wasn’t a definite even without the strategy mistake.

    “Ferrari was the quicker car,” Toto Wolff told Autosport. “The way Sebastian held onto Lewis, on his gearbox, we were pushing flat out and we were just not able to pull away.

    “There was the risk of the undercut and we also thought that the tyre wouldn’t last anymore.

    “And all that led us to the decision to put to avoid the undercut.

    “And then, coming out behind Max, who was fighting his own race, just lost us the race.”

    Hamilton, starting on pole, was able to get a good get away from the grid, keeping Vettel behind him. In recent years, that really would have been the end of the race, with Hamilton driving off into the sunset, but this time the Ferrari was able to keep up.

    Mercedes believes it was a mixture of an increase in pace from the Ferrari and tyre problems for Hamilton that kept Vettel right on his tail.

    “We didn’t firstly have the pace to be able to pull a gap, for example, to Sebastian,” Hamilton said. “We knew that early on. We continued on this road, which just didn’t end up working out.

    “There’s an area that we have to work on. Obviously our tyre usage is something we understand is where we’re losing. So we’re just trying to make changes to improve that in the future, which we will do.”

    After the race, Hamilton said that he’d been struggling with grip from the start of the race. He also said it was his decision to come in for fresh tyres, as the team feared Ferrari might try an undercut.

    The pit stop was the defining feature of this race for many but, even without it, Mercedes believe Hamilton would have had a fight on his hands with Vettel.

    Vettel believes otherwise.

    “I was struggling to keep up, but still hanging in there,” he said. “I knew I needed to be right behind him.

    “Once it was clear that he went in, there was no point to follow. We stated out, the tyres were still holding on, and the pace looked alright.

    “It was very tight. I knew Max would probably try something but I just kept in front.

    “That was obviously crucial for our race, I tried to push for as hard as I could for the one or two Max was still out to open a bit of a gap and control the race.”

    It’s also worth mentioning that Vettel was one of the drivers spending a lot of time testing the new tyres for Pirelli before the start of the season.

    It’s too early to say whether this is just a fluke, or we’ll see Ferrari consistently challenging Mercedes this year but, if Mercedes is right and the Ferrari was the faster car this race, it gives hope that we may have an interesting title battle on our hands.

    For more Formula One news and discussions head over to the RaceDepartment Formula One sub forum and join in with your fellow community members.

    Do you think Ferrari will be a real challenge this season? Do you think the team Vettel would have been challenging for the win without the pit stop mistake? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
     
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  2. Chris

    Chris
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    There's going to be a substantial development war between the top three teams. Mercedes and Redbull have proven records in recent years of being able to maintain their development pace and keep the 'ship' going in the right direction. Whereas Ferrari have often gone in the wrong direction, or just simply given up and focused on the following season.

    I really really really hope that Ferrari can keep up with Mercedes in the development race this season. It'll make for a championship of epic proportion :D And I'm a diehard Lewis fan, so as much as I'd love to see him win every race by a country mile, I am tired of one team dominating, so come on Sebby and Fezza, (and even the two Red Bull boys too!) give it everything :)
     
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  3. Andrew Harper

    Andrew Harper
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    I think it's too early to say at the moment.

    Melbourne is an unusual circuit. It's a street based type circuit, and doesn't require massive aero efficiency. It does require good mechanical grip though and the Ferrari seems to have that in spades. Will serve them well at a place like Monaco for example.

    Thinking about what Lewis was talking about on the radio, maybe the reason why the Mercedes cars were so good in previous years was the way in which they were very gentle on their tyres whilst still being quick. If that trait still exists on the new car with the more durable tyres that could explain the loss of grip he was talking about.

    Ferrari have got their sums right it seems, the car seems to be a tiny bit off on one lap pace maybe but it's a mighty race car and that will be key for the first few races.

    I always think we tend to get a clearer picture once we get to the European part of the season, but it's certainly interesting to see how the cars will develop.
     
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  4. Jan Larsen

    Jan Larsen
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    Vettel won that one because Verstappen was slow and held up Hamilton. Had Verstappen not been there then Vettel would have come out behind; game over. Melbourne is about stradegy mostly and Mercedes were on the backfoot when it came to that as soon as they realized they couldnt shake Vettel. Either they pit early and use new tires to their advantage but also risk getting stuck in traffic. Or they could wait until later and risk an undercut. Either way it was a lose lose situation. Whoever gets in front after the stop, wins.

    Now, China will be a different story. Its a power track (poor Honda...lol) with a huge straight and mostly high speed, sweeping corners. Traditionally Mercedes territory and will test how fast the cars truely are. I suspect Mercedes will sweep qually due to suspected better aero and marginally better power, particular in qually, but the race will be different with the better race pace and tire usage of the Ferrari. And if they cant get DRS to work at Shanghai, it wont work for the rest of the season. Unless FIA change it.
     
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  5. ThatRacingGuy

    ThatRacingGuy
    I drove 88 MPH last night... weird stuff happened

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    I sure as hell hope that Ferrari can Challenge Mercedes this year, a shame that Red Bull can't compete with them just yet.

    maybe 2017 is the year of F1 becoming F1 again.
     
  6. aphidgod

    aphidgod
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    At the very least Ferrari looks quick enough to beat the Mercs with a little luck, or if they make a mistake, whether on track, in the pits, or strategically. I think if they back this win up with a good result (not even necessarily a win or a pole, but a legitimate challenge) in China, we'll be in for a fun season.
     
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  7. Gui Cramer

    Gui Cramer

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    I don't think it is sustainable. Ferrari fired the guy responsible for the original development of this car, maybe it will last until the end of the season, maybe not.
     
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  8. slowcrash101

    slowcrash101

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    I think the tide will swing back and forth across different tracks. Albert Park is a very unique circuit, with longer straights perhaps Shanghai and Bahrain suit Mercedes better, and then things swing in Ferrari's direction again in Sochi.
     
  9. Strikeman

    Strikeman
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    I herd that Ferrari have a new special fuel rail for their engine that will help Ferrari be more competitive this year in races.
     
  10. slowcrash101

    slowcrash101

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    Fuel rail, or injector? I heard about a double anchor injector that's supposed to be more precise than a standard DI.
     
  11. Strikeman

    Strikeman
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    Yes I think that was it and I think it was both fuel rail and injector package from another company.
     
  12. Jan Larsen

    Jan Larsen
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    As far as I've understood it, the fuel/air mix gets mixed in a 'pre-combustion chamber' and then fed to the actual combustion chamber. It dosent produce that much more power, but the efficiency goes up. Its a system pioneered by Mercedes but essentially copied by Ferrari and with Renault and Honda working on their own versions.