The simulative era of Formula 1 caught Ferrari unprepared. Having various tracks at their disposal for free testing was a huge advantage. It allowed technicians and drivers to field-test every small component designed and built. The validation process to make a subjective idea objective had no time limits. Unfortunately, Montezemolo decided to forgo this benefit, convinced that the then-dominance was not largely dependent on this factor.
However, over time, the opposite has become evident. It is worth recalling the seasons when the red team had one of the greatest talents Formula 1 has ever seen and who still races today, Fernando Alonso. During the 2012 championship, Alonso managed to fight for the title until the last race, despite the F2012, Project 663, often going slower once the updates were applied.
Fortunately, things have changed, and over the last decade, the Prancing Horse has been able to upgrade its wind tunnel and simulator. But a virtuoso guitar worth thousands of dollars does not make a good guitarist in anyone’s hands. It can certainly help, but nothing more. This is to say that besides possessing excellent tools, it is crucial to know how to use them effectively, considering that in F1, every small detail, even in this case, always makes a significant difference.
With the new regulatory framework that came into force in the 2022 racing campaign, the Maranello team gradually began to show a correlation that can be deemed good. The work of computers within the GES almost always reflected what happened on the track. It’s a necessary reversal of the trend that must be maintained and improved in the future. The next opportunity to do so is called Project 676.
Ferrari: Understanding the SF-23 is a crucial point of Project 676
In the Liberty Media-era F1, the “sprint weekend” was introduced. A media-driven concept to elevate the spectacle to the highest power. We’re talking about a series of weekends, which will be six again next year, where it was decided to give more prominence to the competition by abolishing the “boring free practices that only engineers like,” according to the thoughts of Stefano Domenicali, former Ferrari executive, now heading the Formula One Group controlled by the U.S. ownership.
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In this competitive context, the only hour available for tuning the car must be maximized. It goes without saying that arriving on the track with a correctly set basic configuration is crucial to taking the right path over the weekend. From this perspective, Ferrari has shown that it knows its stuff, presenting a simulator-studied setup that is almost always spot-on.
Enrico Cardile doesn’t hide it. The technical director of the red team emphasizes how the correlation in these cases has often been excellent. It’s a strength in race preparation obtained through hard work of analysis and study, providing technicians and engineers with the right tools to do a good job. Starting the race very close to the “ideal setup window” means having a significant advantage.
It all comes down to the ability to interact with the machines. The 48-year-old native of Arezzo explains how Ferrari has reached a level of “confidence” with which it approaches various tools like CFD, simulator, and wind tunnel. Asking the right questions means receiving appropriate answers to one’s queries. In this regard, part of the credit is due to the “cognitive tools” achieved, capable of understanding how to “translate into numbers” the car before resorting to computers.
However, unforeseen events are always around the corner. In such cases, when understanding is slow to arrive, being able to use one’s tools in the most correct way possible means hitting the mark. Through this process, hazy scenarios are cleared, and the problem, once the fog has lifted, reveals its importance. After all, to solve a puzzle, one must first be able to identify it.
Ferrari has finally achieved significant procedural maturity in this regard. An approach used during the last season to study, understand, and improve the SF-23. This approach is giving rise to Project 676. A car undoubtedly “different” that “sheds” the limitations expressed by the red team during the last championship and, at the same time, according to the protagonists themselves, is decidedly more competitive. The extent of this improvement remains to be seen.
Source: Alessandro Arcari for FUnoanalisitecnica