Ferrari stick with pull-rod suspension after deciding to focus resources elsewhere
Both Vettel and Raikkonen prefer positive front end offered by push-rod layout; James Allison says slim rewards didn't warrant winter development time
By William Esler
Last Updated: 31/01/15 3:15pm
Ferrari technical director James Allison says the Scuderia opted to stick with pull-rod suspension in 2015 as it didn’t warrant development in that area.
The Italian team brought the design back to F1 in 2012 after an 11-year absence – Minardi had been the last outfit to run it in 2001 – in the hope of gaining an aerodynamic advantage.
However, with both new signing Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, who struggled with the behaviour of his 2014 car, preferring a 'positive front end', a reversion to a push-rod suspension seemed to be a logical choice.
"Ferrari have two drivers who prefer to have a sharp end and so to still have the pull-rod system is a big question mark to me," says Sky Sports F1's Ted Kravitz after seeing the first images of the SF15-T.
Raikkonen looked a shadow of the driver that had departed Lotus in 2013 and was comprehensively outperformed then team-mate Fernando Alonso last year as he battled a ‘sloppy’ front end. The Finn finished the season 106 points behind McLaren-bound Alonso, yet the team judged an overhaul of their suspension design to be an inefficient use of their time.
“Every year you set out what areas of the car you think you should put your effort into and improve them,” Allison explained.
“These are decisions that need to be taken carefully because when you make a choice to work on one part of the car, you are effectively making a decision not to work on another part of the car as you don’t have infinite resources. So you have to pick the things that you think will bring you the maximum amount of return for your efforts.
“Push-rod and pull-rod on the front has pros and cons on both. The pull-rod is probably harder to get light and stiff, but it is probably a bit easier to get aerodynamic performance from it. So it is swings and roundabouts and it was an area of the car that wasn’t felt to be a problem on last year’s car and therefore not an area that really merited investment in this time round.”
Ferrari's new hierachy have already admitted they are braced for a "difficult" 2015 and have targeted just two race victories in the new season.
The Sky Sports F1 Online team will be providing live commentary from all four days of testing in Jerez – from dawn on Sunday to dusk on Wednesday. Sky Sports News HQ will also have live updates from trackside.