Formula 1

Ferrari bringing low downforce solution to Miami GP to combat Red Bull speed

The Maranello-based team has had a strong start to the 2022 campaign, winning two of the first four races as it knuckles down for an intense fight with Red Bull.

But the scale of the challenge it faces was made clear at last weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix when an upgraded Red Bull helped the team dominate – with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez bringing home a 1-2 finish.

While Ferrari has so far elected not to bring any major developments to its F1 car, it says there is still no rush to do so – with it opting to simply change the downforce configuration for next week’s Miami event.

The long straights of Miami will force teams to run in a lower downforce spec, with there being a big emphasis on top speed on the straights.

With Red Bull having had the edge in the speed traps this year, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is aware that his squad needs to deliver in such a configuration now.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Asked if there will be any major update coming for Miami, he said: “No, we will not have the main one in Miami. But still, we will have a few new parts on the car.

“Because Miami is a high-speed circuit compared to the ones we had so far, in terms of downforce, we will run something different compared to what we have.

“Hopefully the level of downforce we bring to Miami, we are quite confident it’s quite an efficient one. But we know as well that Red Bull has got a good medium/low downforce package as well, and they will be competitive.

“It will be a completely new track and new challenge, quite interesting, and I am pretty curious to be there.”

Binotto has also suggested the team will continue to make tweaks to iron out the porpoising problems it is still suffering from.

“We’re still working on the porpoising, that as you can see is quite visible,” he said. “We’ve got it, certainly more than Red Bull, and in there, there’s some performance potential as well that we need to try to get.”

One of the key performance differentials between Red Bull and Ferrari this year has been top speed.

At the start of the campaign, the Ferrari was better in acceleration and low/medium speed corners, while the Red Bull had the edge in high speed corners and end of straights.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75,Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18,Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB18

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75,Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18,Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB18

Photo by: Erik Junius

Binotto thinks there has been some convergence on characteristics, though, with Red Bull adding more downforce to stop losing so much in the corners.

Reflecting on the differences, Binotto said: “If I look at Jeddah, certainly they were a lot faster. If I look at Bahrain, there, the DRS effect was certainly powerful, and the way they were catching us on the straight was significant.

“But then if I look at Australia, I think that they put on some downforce, and the speed was very similar between the two cars.

“If you look at the rear wings they’ve got, certainly they increased the level of downforce. And I think when running on similar wings, we are pretty close on the speed as well. So, I don’t think there is a big difference in there.

“We know that we can improve our wings in order to make them more efficient, but I’m not expecting it to be an issue for certain circuits. We, as Ferrari, certainly will have new wings for medium-low downforce at the next races when necessary. And then it’s only a matter of compromise, and the compromise on what you believe is best in terms of not only qualifying lap time, but race pace, and tyre degradation.

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“There have been races where I think our choice was the right one. Maybe in Jeddah, or just for, let me say, for a few laps, theirs turned out to be the right one. But that, I think, is great: the fact that we may have different solutions, different set-ups, choices, makes only the race more spectacular.”



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