After creating a significant points cushion to Red Bull in the first four rounds of 2022, a tough weekend in Imola has seen Ferrari slip back into the clutches of the Austrian team, with the Scuderia sitting just 11 points clear at the top of the constructor’s standings.
Reliability has been one of Ferrari’s greatest assets this year, especially in their rivalry with Red Bull, but the RB18’s pace will make it impossible for Ferrari to rely on reliability alone if they hope to reclaim the F1 championship after over a decade without the crown.
Effective upgrades will be critical if Ferrari is to sustain a championship challenge throughout the year, which will likely be decided on the victor of the ‘development war’ between F1’s two front-runners.
Ahead of the Miami GP, there has been great speculation about Ferrari’s planned improvements for the SF21. A new ERS system has been mentioned as a possible area of improvement, with some expecting the Scuderia to bring a significant upgrade package to Miami, in order to recover from their difficult weekend on home soil in Imola.
However, Mattia Binotto has dismissed the idea of a massive upgrade package or silver bullet. Instead, he has outlined Ferrari’s aim to address porpoising:
“We’re still working on the porpoising that as you can see is quite visible, certainly more than Red Bull. And in there, there is also performance to try to get”.
Porpoising soon became the buzzword of pre-season testing, and the start of the season has already made the F1 fandom well acquainted with this term. Ferrari does not struggle with this phenomenon to the same degree as other teams (most notably Mercedes) but it still presents a significant problem.
So far this year, whilst porpoising has been fairly prevalent on the straights, the SF21 is extremely stable under braking and high speed. This has meant that whilst the issue is far from resolved, Ferrari has been able to mitigate the impact of porpoising.
However, this is still not where Ferrari wants to be.
Mattia Binotto has not been afraid to admit Red Bull has tackled porpoising well so far, and will therefore hope for Ferrari’s upgrades at the Miami GP to be effective.
Miami will be especially challenging for teams struggling with porpoising, owing to its 1.2km straight heading into T17. No circuit on the calendar so far has had such a long straight, meaning that porpoising could become an even more pronounced issue.
It has also been suggested that porpoising has a negative effect on reliability, which, given it causes the car and all its intricate components to bounce around, seems a plausible hypothesis.
With the Miami GP weekend just days away, we await the possible impacts of Ferrari’s scheduled improvements.