Ferrari 4 tenths of a second faster on straights as compared to Mercedes, Bahrain GP data has revealed as reported by AMuS
Bahrain GP might not have resulted in wins for Ferrari, but they certainly took home the moral win given how much faster their car was throughout the weekend. Had it not been for poor driving from Vettel and a short circuit in Leclerc’s car engine, Ferrari could have strolled home to a 1-2 finish.
But while Mercedes got their 2nd 1-2 finish for the season, they came out of the race looking worried. Charles Leclerc was leading the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton by close to 15 seconds when he lost his engine power and Mercedes hasn’t seen an opponent dominate in that manner in over 5 years now.
Ferrari looked like a car that had great downforce and was handling like a charm on the corners in Barcelona testing and that is what was giving them an advantage, most believed. But the data from Bahrain shows that Ferrari in fact are much much quicker than all other cars on the grid, but not on the corners, but on the straights. In fact Ferrari loses 1 tenth of a second on major corners as Mercedes is a car that seems to be doing better job of creating downforce.
Ferrari is obviously not inclined to pass along the information on what makes their car so much faster than their competition, with team principal Matti Binotto pointing to Mercedes’ better downforce as the reason they were slightly slower on the straights but simultaneously is the reason why they are quicker on the corners.
A difference of 0.4 seconds on every straight can not be explained away this simply though. “No one else can keep up,” said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. “Under these circumstances, it will be hard to beat them. With better air resistance, you make no more than a tenth (of a second), but not four or five. That’s sheer engine power.”
Ferrari 4 tenths of a second faster on straights as compared to Mercedes?
On the straights Ferrari hold 0.4 seconds advantage over Mercedes, but surprisingly, it isn’t Mercedes who are closest to Ferrari’s pace on the straights. McLaren clocks 0.3 seconds slower than Ferrari, making it 0.1 second quicker on straights as compared to the Mercedes. This shows good signs for the Renault engine on board the McLaren. Red Bull with its Honda engine comes in a lot slower at 0.6 seconds slower than the SF90 on the straights.
Ferrari gained 4 tenths on the 4 long Bahrain straights against Mercedes. The power advantage is around 40hp according to GPS data. Rival teams and even Ferraris own customer teams are puzzled.
AMuS (in German): https://t.co/OmzL4PAGZA
— Tobi Grüner 🏁 (@tgruener) April 8, 2019
While Mercedes and Red Bull engineers have been analyzing all the information available to figure out what makes the Ferrari faster, they have come up with no answer as yet. All data available on fuel, engine, combustion and design are being scrutinized to the last detail but no one seems to have an answer.
The engine can not be the answer because other cars running the Ferrari engine do not have the same advantage on the straights and this year, the rule changes mean Haas and Alfa Romeo are running the exact same engine as Ferrari.
While the teams try to figure out how to catch up with Ferrari, Ferrari themselves can not be too pleased with themselves. Their advantage hasn’t resulted in any wins and while Mercedes have a couple of 1-2 finishes, Ferrari only has one 3rd place podium for the season.
Will the trend continue or will we see another reversal at the Chinese GP? We shall soon find out. But one good news for the Ferrari fans, China and Baku have even longer straights compared to Bahrain, so if this advantage holds, expect the prancing horse to deliver two really strong performances.