MAY 24, 2015
Mercedes to let drivers race in Monaco
When asked how Ferrari expects to fare in Monaco with the 'super soft' tyre, Sebastian Vettel grinned early this weekend: "I hope super-good!"
The Italian team struggled a fortnight ago in Barcelona with its new upgrade package.
Some wondered whether the 'fuel flow issue' was to blame.
The FIA has clamped down harder on its restricted fuel flow regulations, suspecting some top teams might have devised clever systems to sidestep the spirit of the rulebook.
So as the governing body delves deeper into understanding the respective systems up and down pitlane, some believe Ferrari has had to abandon its clever solution.
The Kolner Express tabloid said engine chief Mattia Binotto has now tried to "compensate" for the loss with a modified energy management setting.
The SF15-T car passed scrutineering checks in Barcelona, and again in Monaco.
Team boss Maurizio Arrivabene, however, thinks the Monaco weather is the problem, as Sebastian Vettel lagged the Mercedes' pace by eight tenths in qualifying.
"Sebastian did a very good job," he told Italian television Sky. "We had only expected the sun to be out, which is better for the tyres for us."
Indeed, while the 2015 Ferrari is good at managing the softest tyres in Pirelli's range, it needs to be combined with hotter temperatures.
"The Ferrari does seem to disproportionately lose laptime at lower temperatures," said Mercedes chief Toto Wolff in Monaco.
"Every car has its particular DNA, but our car is generally very strong with no specific strength or weakness."
The other issue for Ferrari is that the 'super soft' is not even particularly soft, according to drivers up and down the grid.
"I guess I'm going to have to choose my words carefully," said pole sitter Lewis Hamilton after qualifying. "These tyres ... they're very hard. Considering they're the soft and super-soft, they're incredibly hard."
So with Ferrari struggling again in Monaco, fans can at least look forward to an unfettered battle between Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg on Sunday.
"We will not interfere," Wolff confirmed. "Our drivers know what they're doing.
"Although Monaco is a special case, where you can end up in the barriers much more easily than elsewhere, we have not had any incidents in the last races so there is no need for us to influence anything from the outside," he promised.