The Ferrari 150º Italia is the fifty-seventh single-seater by Ferrari, produced to participate in the 2011 Formula 1 season. The choice of the name is a tribute that Scuderia Ferrari offers to the 150th Anniversary of the Unification of Italy and is presented on January 28, 2011, replacing the previous Ferrari F10.
The car has the classic red color with white inserts, with the Santander sponsor and a Tricolor (the name of the Italian Flag) on the rear wing to celebrate the unification of Italy.
The development of the 150º Italia follows the new regulatory directives of the 2011 season and sees the presence of some new elements compared to the past such as the reintroduction of the Kers, the presence of the movable rear wing known as DRS, the absence of the double diffuser and the F -duct, the latter prohibited by the 2011 regulation.
The F150 project was born under the technical direction of Aldo Costa, but was subsequently carried out by Pat Fry who took over from the engineer from Parma before the Monaco Grand Prix, due to the car's lack of initial competitiveness. The decision to remove Costa was taken by the president Luca Montezemolo, who had already asked for a fast and innovative car like the competition in January, on pain of a change at the top of the technical management.
Overall, the F150 turns out to be a mediocre car, lacking in terms of downforce and often struggling with the harder compounds supplied by Pirelli.
However, the updates brought during the season make it possible to archive good performances, even if on the occasion of the last Grand Prix of the world it is decided to interrupt the development by proposing, for the following races, solutions already adopted during the season, or experimental ideas in view of the 2012 (like the flexible front wing). The focus is in fact shifted to the 2012 car which, unlike in previous years, would have been built from scratch.
Aerodynamics is the most talked about part of the F150, as well as the one that created the biggest problems during the season. In fact, an incorrect calibration of the instruments of the Maranello wind tunnel, discovered only after a few races, led to the deliberation of solutions that later proved to be disappointing on the track and with a lower performance than expected.
This drawback also heavily affects the development of the rest of the car. In fact, during free practice for the Grand Prix, Ferrari is forced to carry out those tests that it should have carried out in the wind tunnel to decide on any new solutions, instead of focusing exclusively on finding the ideal set-up for the race, or on studying the tire behavior.
These problems identify the basis of the chronic lack of downforce which is only partially removed over the course of the season. However, the F150 manages to compensate for the aerodynamic deficiencies with mechanical grip, that is, that provided by the tires in the softer compounds and by the suspension.
Another of the key points of aerodynamic development is the issue linked to the blowing of the exhausts on the rear diffuser, which generates additional load with benefits also on traction in fast corners and on tire efficiency.
Unfortunately, the Ferrari system will not prove to be as effective as the Red Bull system. In addition, the F150 sports new side bellies more tapered in the terminal part, above all thanks to a push-rod type suspension revised in geometry with very inclined strut and extremely reduced spring-shock absorber group.
The choice to still use the push-rod scheme was rather conventional compared to the competition, which in the meantime has been converted to the pull-rod which allows for even more tapered sides to optimize aerodynamic flows. Compared to the F10, the absence of the double diffuser, the fin on the bonnet prohibited for the use of the DRS, and the F-duct stand out.
The F150 enters the first two seasonal test sessions in the hybrid configuration. Only during the Montmeló tests was the definitive version introduced with the ailerons in 2011 configuration, a new diffuser, and reduced air intakes. These solutions are adopted until the Spanish Grand Prix, where a new bottom is introduced in function of the blow-off exhausts, and a new Red Bull style beaten set-up.
For the first time since 2009, the controversial energy recovery system returns to the scene. In reality it had never been forbidden by the regulation, but a gentlemen's agreement between the various teams meant that this device was not used for 2010. To encourage the adoption of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System, the FIA raises the minimum weight of single-seaters to 640 kilos.
The KERS of the Ferrari is being developed in collaboration with Magneti Marelli. Compared to 2009, the evolution of technology allows a significant reduction in size and weight, so much so that about 20 kilos are saved compared to the F60. The storage capacity of lithium batteries has also increased, to prevent any overheating from compromising the efficiency of the accumulators.
The batteries are located in a compartment in the tank, to reduce wiring to a minimum. As far as performance is concerned, they are those imposed by the FIA as early as 2009: 400 kilojoules of usable energy, which is equivalent to about 60 kilowatts (82 horses) of power, for a maximum period of 6.7 seconds per lap.
Also, in terms of suspension, the F150 differs from the F10 in numerous details. First of all, to create a very compact rear, the rear suspension is revised which, while maintaining the push-rod scheme, has been reduced in size by tilting the strut forward and reducing the spring-shock absorber unit to the maximum. In this way, the advantages of the pull-rod should have been equalled.
The choice to still use the push-rod, however, proved to be rather conservative, since all the competition had converted to the more compact pull-rod. However, this choice, according to Nicholas Tombazis, should have paid off when adjusting the suspension as the push-rod is easier to fine-tune.
The front suspension is also modified, in fact the greater height from the ground of the nose has led to the modification of the attachments of the suspension triangles with the steering arms located lower, and no longer incorporated into the upper triangle fairing.
However, to see a true evolution of the F150 one has to wait until the 2011 British Grand Prix, where Ferrari brings numerous innovations thanks also to the fact of having solved the problems in the wind tunnel. These innovations mainly consist of new ailerons that are able to guarantee greater load, new sides thanks to the introduction of a new suspension, and other small aerodynamic details.
The second important evolutionary step takes place at the Belgian Grand Prix, where a new front wing with double flaps is brought, a new rear diffuser combined with a new exhaust configuration, and a rear wing slightly revised in profile. Also on the occasion of the same Grand Prix, the rear suspension introduced at Silverstone was abandoned to return to the previous one, but without particular benefits.
The solutions seen in Belgium are then maintained for the Italian Grand Prix, except for the adoption of profiles with more exhausts designed specifically for Monza, in order to favor top speed.
Starting from the Italian Grand Prix, the development of the 150th Italy is interrupted, and for the following races the aerodynamic configurations already seen during the year are adopted, or tested according to the 2012 project. Among these, the flexible front wing on imitation of the one used by Red Bull.
Having been established by regulation to block the development of engines starting from 2006, the engine of the 150º Italia is the well-tested 90° V8 Type 056 mounted for the first time on the 248 F1. However, aspects related to reliability, consumption and pneumatics are developed, in addition to those related to the reintroduction of KERS, such as the crankshaft, cooling systems and lubrication. Overall, the V8 056 has 10% less fuel consumption than in 2010, as the fuel tank is reduced to make room for the energy recovery system.
During the season, the numerous problems related to Red Bull-type blown exhausts are addressed, namely the use of exhaust gases as an aerodynamic device aimed at sealing the diffuser on the air flow passing under the car.
Initially the F150 is limited to using the so-called cold blowing before moving on to hot blowing like Red Bull and McLaren: this solution is basically based on using particular engine mappings such as to inject unburned petrol into the exhausts during the release phases which, igniting, allows to have a constant flow of exhaust gases on the diffuser even with the accelerator closed.
However, these particular mappings are used only in qualifying, because prolonged use would compromise the reliability of the engine; therefore, more conservative solutions are adopted in the race. To try to make the most of this phenomenon, different configurations of the exhausts are adopted during the season, depending on the circuit.
On the occasion of the European Grand Prix, the modification of the mapping between qualifying and race is prohibited, while in the British Grand Prix, hot blowing is banned because the only function of the engine must be to make the car move, and not to act indirectly as an aerodynamic device.
However, starting from the next Grand Prix, hot blowing is readmitted, as long as the mappings are not changed between qualifying and the race.
Contrary to expectations, the rear push-rod proves to be disappointing, as it limits the performance of the car when using the tires in the harder compounds. To overcome this problem, on the occasion of free practice for the Canadian Grand Prix, Ferrari introduces a new rear suspension that would later be adopted from Silverstone.
The most important consequence of this new component, always of the push-rod type but further revised in geometry, is to be gentler with the tires and at the same time more effective. In fact, compared to other competitors, this new suspension takes longer to warm up the rear tires, which however can last a few more laps.
At the same time it helps to make the hard compound tires work better, which until now has been the Achilles heel of the F150 as the previous suspension did not make them work in the ideal temperature range, negatively affecting traction and leading to a rapid consumption. Another consequence of this new component is to improve the quality of the aerodynamic flows on the diffuser.
A hectic season
The first contact of the drivers with the F150 takes place on the Fiorano track on 28 and 29 January 2011. These tests, organized mainly for promotional purposes, mostly serve to have a general idea of the car before the collective tests in Valencia, Jerez and Montmeló.
On 1 February 2011, Ferrari and most of the teams take to the track at the Spanish circuit of Valencia, to carry out the first day of official testing. From the beginning, Ferrari has been concerned with studying aerodynamic flows and becoming familiar with the new tires, in order to understand which direction to take in the development of suspension and aerodynamics. The first two days of testing saw Alonso driving the F150 without encountering any problems but, when it was Massa's time, the breaking of a clamp caused an oil leak that ended up on the exhausts causing a fire. This inconvenience did not discourage the Brazilian, who set the best time at the end of the day.
The two subsequent sessions in Valencia, as well as those in Jerez and Montmeló, underline that Ferrari, compared to Red Bull, is further behind but still ahead of the McLarens which show reliability problems with the exhaust system. Finally, in Montmeló you can see the definitive version of the F150.
The first race of the season in Australia is a cold shower for Ferrari, as unexpectedly the F150 is also behind the Mp4-26 which, having replaced the exhausts with more conventional models, are faster both in qualifying and in the race.
Similarly, the gap in qualifying with Vettel's Red Bull seems to have even increased. At the end of the race Alonso will be fourth and Massa only seventh. The only consolation is the fastest lap in the race scored by Massa, and the fact that the F150 is not far from the Red Bulls in terms of race pace.
In Malaysia, the script seems the same: Red Bull impregnable in qualifying, and Ferrari that in the race approach them significantly and find themselves fighting with the reborn McLaren for the podium. However, a contact between Alonso and Hamilton just a few laps from the end nullifies the hopes of a podium for the Ferrari driver, who was in third position.
In fact, both drivers will be forced to stop in the pits to replace the nose and tires respectively. In the end Alonso will finish sixth behind his teammate. The Spaniard, like Hamilton, will also be penalized by twenty seconds for the accident, which however will not affect the final classification.
The subsequent Chinese Grand Prix confirms the McLaren's newfound competitiveness, which with Hamilton manages to overtake Vettel, who was struggling with tires just a few laps from the end, and to win an unexpected victory after the Red Bull domination in qualifying. The Ferraris, in evident tire crisis, even come behind Nico Rosberg's Mercedes with Massa sixth and Alonso seventh, who in the last stages pay more than a second per lap from the leaders.
In Turkey, the F150 manages to conquer the first podium of the season with Alonso, who comes third behind Vettel and Webber. The Spaniard also manages to keep pace with the two Red Bulls for a good part of the race, before having to give up when it comes to putting on the hard tires.
On the contrary Massa, who started tenth, ends out of the points. This good performance is mainly due to the Istanbul circuit not requiring a high downforce, and therefore the difference between very aerodynamically efficient cars, such as Red Bulls, and Ferraris decreases significantly.
In the following Spanish Grand Prix, Ferrari will instead touch one of the lowest points of the season. Despite Alonsos' excellent start, who finds himself in the lead and will command the race for twenty laps, the second part of the race turns out to be disastrous with the F150 in a clear crisis with hard tires. Alonso will finish the race fifth and lapped by a lap, while Massa is forced to retire due to an off track.
The subsequent Grands Prix turned out to be favorable to the F150. In fact, these are slow street circuits where Pirelli decides to bring softer compound tires, with which the F150 is more comfortable by masking its aerodynamic deficiencies. In Monaco Alonso finished second behind Vettel, and had to give up the German in difficulty in the last laps due to a red flag with consequent restart.
Massa is instead forced to retire after a contact with Hamilton. In Canada Alonso, who had been among the fastest all weekend, had to retire due to a contact with Jenson Button during an overtaking while Massa, after a spin during a dubbing, finished fifth, mocking Kamui Kobayashi at the finish.
In Valencia Alonso once again finished second close to the winner Vettel while Massa had to settle for fifth place once again despite recovering more than a second per lap on Hamilton in crisis with the tires.
The newfound competitiveness in these races is also confirmed by the good performances in qualifying which bring the Red Bulls significantly closer, despite the fact that they continue to be unbeatable on the flying lap. In these races, Ferrari is also able to keep a set of soft tires in qualifying, to be used in the race as opposed to the first races where it was forced to do more stints with hard compound tires.
Finally, at the British Grand Prix comes the first victory of the season by Fernando Alonso, who exploits a mistake by the Red Bull mechanics during Vettel's pit stop. Ferrari can thus celebrate in the most appropriate way the sixtieth anniversary of the first world championship victory, which took place on that track, while Alonso equals Jackie Stewart for the number of career victories.
Massa, on the other hand, comes fifth, immediately behind Hamilton in crisis with fuel consumption and tries, in vain, to overtake him at the last corner, also coming into contact with the British. This Grand Prix is also characterized by the controversy over the blown exhausts which were banned for this race and then readmitted, with some limitations, starting from the next Grand Prix.
The malicious argue that this victory came thanks to this ban but the blown exhausts make the difference in slow corners and braking, not in the long corners of Silverstone that face each other with wide open accelerator. The reasons for the victory are therefore to be found in the updates that Ferrari made to the F150 before the race, which guarantee greater downforce and better tire behavior.
The two successive Grand Prix in Germany and Hungary confirm the good form of the F150 which still conquers a second and a third place with Alonso, while Massa finishes fifth and sixth respectively with the fastest lap in Hungary.
In Germany the victory fades due to the excellent form of Lewis Hamilton who with his McLaren is at ease in the German low temperatures while in Hungary the rain once again favours McLaren, which prefers low temperatures and goes to win with Button. However, these good performances are undermined by the fact that Vettel in the first part of the season has accumulated so many points of advantage that he can afford to manage, while his opponents take away points from each other.
In Belgium there is a step backwards compared to previous races also thanks to the technical progress of the opponents. In fact, the F150 is back to having problems in bringing the tires up to temperature and Alonso, with medium compound tires, is forced to retreat from second to fourth place after being overtaken a few laps behind both Webber and Button.
In Italy, Alonso manages to grab the seventh podium of the season by finishing third. Subsequently, the Spaniard conquers the second place in Japan and Abu Dhabi, and a third place in India, so that the F150 ends its history with seven podiums, one victory, three fastest laps and a total of 375 world championship points, which allow you to settle in third place in the constructors' classification.