Thursday, 16 September 2021 - In Monza, McLaren took what Ferrari wasted in MonteCarlo.

Like every edition, Monza is able to offer various ideas of a technical nature, as well as give emotions on the track, and for this reason, it is one of the most interesting events on the Formula One calendar.

The temple of speed has always made it possible to see cars with the most atypical aerodynamic configurations on the entire calendar, precisely because of the characteristics of the Monza circuit.

The very long straights, separated by violent braking with slow chicanes, favor single-seaters with very low, almost neutral wings, which are practically not seen in any other races in the world championship.

The 2021 edition, if we want, was even more particular than the past race, since the current season we know is a transitional and conservative one for many teams, which are already technically and economically projected to the development of the 2022 wing-cars.

Focusing on the fight for third constructors place, Ferrari and McLaren expected a different Italian Grand Prix, almost the opposite, with the English team very convinced that the technical characteristics of the circuit matched well with the MCL35M, vice versa for Ferrari.

However, both teams performed above their expectations, with McLaren delivering a masterful overall performance, not just in the race, but throughout the weekend, and Ferrari finishing in second place as a team in terms of points collected.


The return to success after 9 seasons (with a brace for another) was by no means accidental. It is true that the contribution came from the retirement of the two championship leaders Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, but both McLaren's were always close to the top positions.

The Orange team in Monza laid the foundations for a possible podium already in qualifying for the sprint race, showing a potential top. The final victory was the culmination of a perfect weekend, in which none of the drivers or mechanics made any mistakes.

At a technical level, the MCL35M of Ricciardo and Norris was equipped with a rather light set-up, one of the most aggressive among the various teams

The car designed by James Key is known to be a single-seater with great efficiency, as is the Alfa Romeo and is home on fast circuits. The trump card McLaren played right on the set-up, further exasperating its strength, adopting an extremely unloaded rear wing.

Illustration Credit: Rosario Giuliana
The mobile flap of the DRS in Monza had an extremely reduced chord, while the main profile was almost neutral. This made McLaren extremely fast on the straights, managing to be almost impregnable even for those following in the DRS zone.

In this regard, it is important to remember that the wake is all the more important when the wing of the car in front is large.

It should also be noted that the MCL35M is equipped with a Mercedes Power Unit, and the extra horsepower of the engine designed in Brixworth, first brought to the track between Silverstone and Hungary on the official car (Mercedes W12), by Spa also on customers, (McLaren, Williams, and Aston Martin) all met in Italy.

“The engine is a great engine and it helped us a lot,” an insider from McLaren told us.

The long-wheelbase also gives a certain stability in the fast corners, such as the Parabolica, where Ricciardo and Norris always managed to slightly open the gap from their pursuers.

Even on the front axle, James Key's car has adopted a very unloaded wing, with the last two flaps (the ones that allow you to adjust the incidence) substantially cut to reduce the resistance to advancement to the minimum possible.

Illustration Credit: Rosario Giuliana
With the double at Monza, McLaren returned to occupy third place in the constructor's championship with eight races to go, effectively managing to maximize the result in the only seasonal chance of victory.


If it was a great celebration at McLaren in Monza, the same cannot be said for Ferrari.

However, the Maranello team was aware of the difficulties that would arise on the Monza track, the post-weekend statements by the two drivers, as well as those of Mattia Binotto, were clear.

The team arrived in Monza with the awareness of not being able to give great joy to the "fans", but with the certainty of not repeating last year's horrible performance with the SF1000.

The SF21 is a car that compared to last season is a clear step forward.

We have often emphasized that, despite the various limitations deriving from the freezing of the macro components, the work done by the Maranello technicians was excellent.

Since the SF21 was a close relative of the SF1000, there were many limits to be corrected: power unit, front axle, and rear instability. The latter was also chosen because that macro area of ​​the car was the most limited by the 2021 regulatory changes and where Ferrari thought and hoped to make the most profits.

The Monza track, on paper, did not go very well with the SF21 due to a matter mainly related to the Power Unit: the 065/6 Evo proved to be a clear step forward compared to 2020, however it still pays 25 HP from the most powerful Mercedes power unit, 15 HP from Honda.

Some problems in terms of reliability were seen on Friday in Charles Leclerc's car, with the Monegasque having to mount the old unit (the number one unit). Monza is a very demanding track for engines, where you are full throttle for almost 80% of the lap.

The updates regarding the hybrid part are eagerly awaited on the Ferrari, ready to be implemented in Turkey, if all goes well. In fact, some hybrid components from the past season are still present on the current 065/6.

Mattia Binotto spoke of "change in technology from the hybrid side" because the red will be increased so significantly, as anticipated by Michael Schmidt AMUS,  the voltage of the electrical unit, approaching the 1000 V threshold, a value with which, Mercedes has worked with for a couple of seasons already.

In general, the higher the voltage, the higher the efficiency of the entire system. This will also reduce the size of the components.

Hence the words of Binotto regarding “hazardous materials” for which “formal approvals and certifications are needed”. Also to be simply transported.

If it weren't for the Power Unit appearance, Ferrari at Monza could have had a better performance without a doubt. It remains to be stressed that overall the weekend was anything but a disaster.

The Monza circuit has characteristics that were not so detrimental to the Italian car, beyond the long straights. Ferrari has always behaved discreetly in rear limited circuits, that is, those tracks in which it is important to have great traction, and to generate grip mainly on the rear axle.

Compared to McLaren, in terms of set-up, the Ferrari did not present a car that was too light, on the contrary, the rear aerodynamic configuration chosen by Ferrari is practically identical to that used in Belgium and Azerbaijan.

Specifically, the rear wing of Monza featured a main plane with little wing angle, but with a movable flap with decent size. The only change with respect to Spa concerned the removal of the gurney flap, to reduce part of the drag.

Illustration Credit: Rosario Giuliana
An aerodynamic configuration like this allowed Ferrari to still be fast in the DRS zones. Other music obviously when it was necessary to defend oneself in the straights with the mobile flap closed.

The fact that we did not choose a set-up that was too light was to avoid penalizing too much the front axle which we know is and will remain the weak point of the SF21 at the end of the season. After the problems encountered in Belgium, a more conservative set-up was chosen to guarantee better tire management.

Due to a slightly heavier set-up, the SF21 showed excellent times in the central sector, where the two Lesmo curves are present. 

In terms of actual updates, a new front wing was used on the Ferrari.

The new wing specification features 'cut' flaps in the innermost part to balance the lower rear load while eliminating drag.

Illustration Credit: Rosario Giuliana
If it couldn't have been more than that at Monza, the bitterness of the occasions that vanished at Silverstone and above all in Monte Carlo remains in Ferrari's mouth. Ferrari has had its own chances of victory but has never managed to achieve anything concrete, unlike Alpine and McLaren.

In the fight for third place, with eight races remaining, the battle remains close. McLaren certainly took advantage of his own chance of victory, maximizing the result with a brace.

From now until the end of the season we should no longer see big changes on the cars and the values ​​on the field will be conditioned mainly by the adaptation that the cars will have in the various circuits. It will therefore be essential from now on not to waste opportunities, being ready if Mercedes and Red Bull should make any mistakes.

Written By: Rosario Giuliana and Piergiuseppe Donadoni

Illustration Credit: Rosario Giuliana

Original Link in Italian

No comments:

Post a Comment