During last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, in which Scuderia Ferrari cruised to a one-two victory, Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team Boss Toto Wolff was heard playfully suggesting that the Italian team are being favoured by Pirelli, after driver Lewis Hamilton once again struggled to get his tyres working in the correct operating window, and ended the race down in seventh place.
The race in Russia earlier this season was also a problematic grand prix for Hamilton in terms of tyre management, as was Bahrain for team-mate Valtteri Bottas, and Mercedes are at somewhat of a loss to understand why that is. Ferrari on the other hand have endured no such issues so far this year, and seem to have the perfect balance with the tyres, all sewn up.
Wolff jokingly stated that the reason Ferrari are able to better manage this year’s rubber is an “Italian mystery”, a claim Pirelli CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera was not too happy about.
“The tyres are the same for everyone.
“Perhaps Mercedes have been used to lots of success and now face an uphill task, but they will come back.
“However, with engineers that have worked like a team, Ferrari has done something that no-one expected. You have to give them credit and you have to be satisfied by the work of an Italian team.”
Sebastian Vettel took part in countless hours of pre-season testing of the 2017 prototype tyre for Pirelli, and many believe the data accrued during these sessions, even though the German was driving a mule car, gave Ferrari valuable information that the other F1 teams have not been privy to.
The German is well known for his meticulous and detailed, almost Michael Schumacher-esque devotion to the workings of the car, and his ability to relay his analysis from testing back to the team, has clearly been a considerable boost to their understanding of an area that seriously plagued their own performance last year.
Ferrari have used every possible avenue open to them to turn their fortunes around this year, after a dismal 2016 that yielded no victories. Mercedes now have a real fight on their hands if they are to retain their title this season, and for fans of the sport, that can only be a good thing!
“It was a very serious piece of work on the part of Vettel and Ferrari.
“Vettel was always ready with humility, to test when others were ‘not available’ and the results are the fruit of a lot of passionate work from a team that is totally focused on winning.”