Nothing in Formula One happens quickly … apart from the moving cars, that is. Anything that is worth waiting for will usually make sure that you wait a good amount of time for it. Having just secured former Lotus technical director James Allison to their own technical lineup, Scuderia Ferrari are expecting immediate success — but it might be too soon for celebrations.
Take a look at Mercedes AMG; since 2010, there has been a fundamental issue with the car that engenders excessive tire wear. While the team has been able to curtail that to a certain extent this season, the problem has never left the car altogether. This is a problem Mercedes have faced for the past four years, and a beefed-up technical lineup has not gotten the job done completely.
This is why Ferrari should keep their expectations low at least for the short term. Ferrari’s issues encompass several aspects of their technical department, the first being their simulator shortfalls.
The Prancing Horse has been slow to embrace technology. Ferrari’s preference for real-world track testing has hurt them in the current era when there isn’t enough time or money to go to a track every day to test. Compared to the other top teams, Ferrari is a considerably behind in the simulator department.
But staring Allison most glaringly in the face is a dysfunctional wind tunnel. Ferrari had to abandon their own for repairs and improvements and, in turn started using the Toyota F1 team‘s old wind tunnel in Switzerland, but correlation issues have been cropping up on the track while trying to test new parts that have been developed in the wind tunnel.
This was the main reason Ferrari struggled so much last season to develop over the season, and is part of the reason Ferrari have been underperforming is recent races. Felipe Massa‘s form is more indicative of the actual competitiveness of the Ferrari than Fernando Alsonso‘s, so the team have their work cut out for them to ensure the latter can maintain a consistent and and impactful championship challenge.
With these problems conspiring against Ferrari, Allison will be hard-pressed to make any substantive impact on the team this season. 2014 could also be compromised, as work on that year’s challenger has long been going on. However, nothing can take away from the fact that Ferrari have made a phenomenal decision to hire Allison.