The encouraging performances of the red car in Canada and Austria have led Ferrari fans to expect positive results in the challenging British Grand Prix, which takes place this weekend. At Silverstone, the new, more durable Pirelli tires make their debut to cope with increased aerodynamic load. Marco Froio, a 37-year-old Italian engineer specializing in tire management for the Scuderia, explains the challenges of the British track for the SF-23.
On paper, the Silverstone track may seem less suited to the characteristics of the SF-23, even though Ferrari is the team that secured victory in last year’s British GP with Carlos Sainz, marking his first Formula 1 win.
The official Ferrari website asked Marco Froio, a 37-year-old Italian engineer and tire management specialist for the Scuderia, to provide insight into the Maranello team’s journey to England.
We’re racing at Silverstone, a very demanding track that presents many challenges for the driver and car. Tyres are also worked very hard here. Can you explain why?
Marco Froio: “Silverstone is definitely one of the most demanding tracks on the calendar for the tyres. There are two factors in particular that make it so tough: the high average speeds and the fact that there are many high speed corners. The first of these creates high vertical loads which stresses the structural strength of the tyres, while the second leads to extremely high lateral loads, especially on the front left. This leads to high wear and overheating so the tyre ends up working at a far from optimal temperature.”
As from this race, Pirelli is introducing tyres with a new type of construction. How do these differ from their predecessors?
Marco Froio: “The reason Pirelli has decided to make a change from the current tyre specification is down to the fact that in the first part of the season, we have seen higher loads than those predicted from the simulations received from the tyre supplier at the end of last year and, because the continuous developments the teams are bringing to the track have led to a significant increase in the amount of aero downforce the cars can generate, downforce which passes through the tyres. Therefore, this has prompted Pirelli to strengthen the construction of the tyres to increase their resistance to stress, without having to resort to a significant increase in the minimum prescribed pressures. And the decision to introduce this construction at Silverstone is precisely because of the stresses this track puts on the tyres.”
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Tell us a bit about yourself, how you came to Ferrari and what it means to be part of the Scuderia in Formula 1?
Marco Froio: “I got a degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Sapienza University in Rome and, before joining Ferrari about eight years ago, I worked as an aerodynamicist in a wind tunnel. Being part of the Scuderia is a unique opportunity for me, as I have been able to make my passion my work and it allows me to progress alongside some of the best people in the business. It is something to be proud of, but there is also a sense of responsibility to the many fans who support us in all four corners of the world.”