The technical gallery of the Australian Grand Prix F1

Of the three races held, the Australian Grand Prix was arguably the easiest win for Charles Leclerc. It is due to an intrinsic quality of the Ferrari F1-75, which has not been very visible until now.

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After losing to Max Verstappen in Saudi Arabia, Charles Leclerc grabbed the ball by making masterful use of the intrinsic superiority of F1-75. The gap between the two drivers in qualifying in Melbourne is the largest seen in three heats (0”283), while the Italian single-seater’s race pace was impressive. The red car is competitive in all corners, excellently motorized, well balanced and smooth with its tires.

The diagnosis is identical to that observed in Bahrain and Jeddah: the Red Bull gains time in a straight line (though slightly less than in the first two laps), while the Ferrari is faster in the corners and under acceleration (thanks to its powerful engine and shorter gear ratio). But this time the tire factor came into play, highlighting another quality of the Ferrari:

“In Melbourne it is not easy to find the balance between slow and fast corners,” explains Mattia Binotto. We first focused on protecting the rear tires, and already on Friday we noticed that the front left midrange was starting to suffer from grainingfortunately very little. We have worked and Charles has also done a good job with the rubber management.”

While the Red Bull suffered from graining at the rear at the start of the weekend, the Ferrari, fitted with a traditionally steeper wing, did not. It also has more downforce in the front, to keep the front rubbers. It looks like the F1-75’s control window is bigger than its rival as far as we can see after three races.

Another factor: Leclerc and Sainz would have had slightly more power (around 5 hp), according to the Italian press. Since the start of the season, the Prancing Horse engine manufacturers have used block 066/7 with caution, methodically following a reliability data collection plan that stretches all the way to the Miami Grand Prix. Once the program has been completed and lessons learned, the power will gradually increase. It seems that the engine builders have anticipated things in Australia and given their riders a little more horsepower to fight the Red Bull straight-line advantage.

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While the RB18 gave its engineers a hard time, the Italian single-seater seemed immediately at ease… despite the spectacular bends at the end of the straight and approaching Turn 9.

“The pumping depends on the circuits, details of the winner Charles Leclerc. It was important in Bahrain, less in Jeddah and a little more here in Melbourne. It’s not ideal, but it doesn’t take much time. Ok, it’s not very comfortable in a straight line, but I’d rather have a fast car than a comfortable one.”

“That said, the pumping issue needs to be addressed, as it affects consistency. But it’s not that I could have gone faster without him. The only time it bothered me was when restarting, because I I wasn’t sure if I could brake hard in the first corner because of the bounce, otherwise it was fine.”

Like the other teams, the Scuderia the phenomenon of pumps (“porpoises”) when you put the car on the track for the first time:

“The pumping has surprised us all in Barcelonahas explained the creative David Sanchez at the start of the season on F1TV. We have determined what could be the causes of the phenomenon. In a few months, it will be considered a juvenile mistake, an inexperienced team mistake in the case. Today it’s easy to say we could have thought of it sooner.”

For now, the Italian engineers are controlling the phenomenon by adopting a fairly flexible suspension, but a new flat bottom is expected by Imola of Barcelona, ​​​​which will allow to lower the ground clearance and generate more performance:

“The cutouts in the flat bottom (being tested in Spain and Bahrain) served to stop the wobbling and position the car in the optimal operating window to work on the settings and put the drivers more at ease.” With these cutouts, we have lost some performance, but the medium-term goal is to design a new flat bottom, which will solve this problem and allow the car to express itself fully.

In Australia, the Scuderia tested a new diffuser on Charles Leclerc’s car on Friday morning. A small formwork has been added in the central area to reduce the expansion angle and distribute the energy of the outgoing airflow more evenly over the entire width of the grille. The part has only been assessed, as it will be part of a series of novelties that the team (which has also tested the deformation of the front wing) will undoubtedly introduce in Spain (Imola organizes a sprint qualifying, the teams will have less time to experiment) .

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