Ferrari are enduring yet another below par start to their season, and the popular theory is that the new V6 turbo engine built by the Maranello outfit is down on power and overweight, but it is now emerging that the F14T is also plagued with a major design flaw which is hampering downforce.
Autosprint have clamed that Ferrari’s 2014 challenger “suffers from a congenital defect in the design” which “to put it in a nutshell, is too narrow.”
However there is an additional problem facing Ferrari. Autosprint claim that sources within Maranello have revealed that in the effort to package the F14T as aggressively and effectively as possible, the extreme narrowing of the side-pods has sacrificed downforce.
In other words engineers have failed to optimise the balance between downforce and streamlining the F14T, too much emphasis on the latter being the root of the problem.
The issue is reminiscent to the problems suffered by Sauber last year with their C32, which was tightly packaged, but sacrificed valuable downforce as a result of the narrower sidepods.
This would explain why the F14T is quick to step out of line in medium fast corners, having caught out Fernando Alonso and more often Kimi Raikkonen on a number of occasions this season during race weekends and in testing. It has also proved to be quite a handful in the wet.
The engine issue, where the too small turbo is a problem and has no quick fix as the V6 power unit freeze is now well and truly implemented, with Mercedes clearly enjoying an advantage in this area. Autosprint suggest that Ferrari are expected to test solutions to the problem, with new wider sidepods on the list of items to be tested during free practice for the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend. (GP247)
Subbed by AJN.