LONDON, England - Ferrari hopes its race pace will be more in line with its qualifying speeds this season after changes to the under-performing Formula 1 “power unit” through the northern winter.
IS THIS THE ANSWER TO FERRARI'S WOES? 'We had a number of issues with 2014's engine and power unit,' the team has said. So, will this car be better? Image: Ferrari
Technical director James Allison said after the team's online presentation of the new SF15-T car that it hopes will return Ferrari to the top of the podium after a blank 2014.
"We had a number of issues with 2014's engine and power unit," he admitted. "Early on in the season the power delivery was not particularly sophisticated and it was quite tough for the drivers to get the throttle response they wanted.
"It improved a lot during the season and we’ve taken that a step further for the SF15-T."
Ferrari failed to win a race in 2014 (for the first time since 1993) but has made big changes to management and technical staff. Allison, now in overall charge of the car, said the team struggled in 2014 to recover sufficient electrical energy from the turbo to be competitive and had “an unacceptably large gap" in performance relative to rivals.
He explained: "It was one reason why Ferrari's 2014 qualifying performance was relatively stronger than with race performance," added the Briton. "We’ve tried to change the engine architecture to make it a better compromise between qualifying and racing."
'STRONGER AND FASTER'
Allison said tweaks to the engine regulations that will allow Ferrari to continue to develop its power unit during the racing season (according to a system of 'tokens') would also help to close up on 2014 champion team Mercedes.
"It's quite galling to have an idea for how you might improve your car but not to be able to do so because the regulations would freeze a certain part of that design for a whole season.
"It’s frustrating to sit there looking at something on the shelf that you know can deliver more performance... so it is good to have the flexibility that we will enjoy in 2015 to keep that development programme going during the year.
"It will allow us, if we do a good job, to develop stronger and faster than we would have otherwise."
Allison also pointed to the more tightly packaged rear of the Ferrari as another area in which improvements had been made to both design and wind tunnel.