Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Greater Philadelphia, PA; U.S.A.
There is no doubt that Ferrari had a setup issue. Aero, suspension, dampening, tire temps: Definitely an honest issue there, but the gap isn't down to setup only. Mostly. But in re-reading and trying to grasp nuances of language, here is more insight below.
It is somewhat well sorted now that they never tapped into any other engine mode other than 'safe' / normal. People (me included), have inferred this was because of a cooling or reliability problem. Lost in the nuances of the Italian press and others, I think I have a bit more clarification:
Had to gain exact meaning in translation, and the engines were not pushed, but this was a strategy planned for Australia all along and because of reliability, but not because of a problem. Best I can tell is that Ferrari had determined the number of times and places where they'd access certain engine modes over the course of the engine's life, which must go 7 races w/out penalties. Going in, this did not include Australia.
For one, they were forecasted to be fast without engine mode turned up at times. Second, given the nature of the track, the return (lap time) on investment (wear) was also determined to be low. Finally, they never nailed the setup, so with straights that don't benefit from engine modes much (relative to other tracks), no high-speed sweepers and no other flat-out sections, and a car sliding in slow corners (pushing), it appears Binotti let cooler heads prevail and stuck to the strategy. Setting emotions aside, he determined, as an engineer first, that without the setup working, cooking the engines was worthless, other than adding window dressing and knocking 10 seconds off the gap to leader.
Last year, Ferrari was something like .6 down after qualifying, yet stuck close in race trim, because the setup was better, and it gave them a chance to pounce on a timely yellow/safety car.
I've created some confusion by raising the engine issue, but it is clearer now. Now we're all on the hook to see what happens next, so I'll be up again at odd hours watching practices, qualis, races and news articles I can barely comprehend. lol
LE 221/500, Rosso Alfa