In 2005, Ferrari is back from its fifth consecutive Drivers 'title, and since 1999 has also won the Constructors' title. An endless streak of successes, marked by undisputed domination and total resignation on the part of the opposing teams, aware of the excessive power of red and the enormous difficulties in being able to interrupt the winning streak of Ferrari.
The superiority of the F2004 therefore suggests a 2005 marked by the Maranello team, but the Circus is shaken by the FIA.
The Federation decides to introduce significant regulatory changes, which have inevitably generated an infinite number of controversies, because with these choices they go to undermine the strengths of the new Ferrari, the F2005, the same ones that made its ancestors legendary and impregnable.
In no time at all, the climate heats up: has the FIA really changed the regulation to interrupt the triumphal march of Ferrari?
The security issues
At the end of 2004, the single-seaters set impressive lap times on numerous circuits, which will remain undefeated for more than a decade, to which must be added superlative top speeds, often above 370 km/h.
As fascinating as they are, the very fast single-seaters of 2004 need an overhaul, ideal for guaranteeing the safety levels imposed by the FIA. Nobody has to say anything about this aspect. However, the choices made by the Federation do not fully satisfy everyone.
News related to aerodynamics, reliability and tires
From a technical point of view, the 2005 single-seaters are born with striking changes: the front wing undergoes a rise of fifty millimetres, useful for reducing aerodynamic load. In addition, the rear extractor profile has been removed, contributing to the reduction in efficiency of the single-seaters, equal to 15%.
As if that weren't enough, the FIA has imposed new directives for the engines, which must cover a distance of 1500 kilometers, equivalent to two complete Grand Prix, twice as much as in 2004. These aspects make everyone agree, and even Jean Todt supports the changes planned for 2005.
On the other hand, what makes the Prancing Horse and the media turn up their noses are the impositions on tire management, given that the new regulation provides for a single set of tires per qualification and race. From the point of view of performance, it is clear that such regulatory legislation goes against Ferrari, which has been collaborating with Bridgestone for years to develop tires capable of further improving the performance of the Italian car.
The Japanese company has succeeded in this aim, developing rubber with textile fibers in 2004, putting the duration of the tires in the background; after all, Ferrari pit wall often opts for strategies with more stops than the rival teams, and the close collaboration with Bridgestone influences the creation of tires capable of fully satisfying the Ferrari's strategies.
In 2005, the Japanese tire supplier, in order to adapt to the new regulations of the Federation, must completely overhaul the design of its product, working hard to reduce degradation over the long distance, at the expense of performance.
On the contrary, all the other top-ranking teams, such as McLaren, Renault, Williams, Bar and Toyota, are fitted with Michelin tires, and the French manufacturer has precisely focused on the development of tires capable of completing long distances with very little degradation; in practice, already at the first Grand Prix of the season, all the teams equipped with Michelin tires reach the checkered flag by completing qualifying and the race with a single set, without any particular management problems.
Trying to rebalance the values on the pitch can be a positive aspect for sport in general and for the spectacle, but in this case everyone, between the FIA and the other teams, seems to have declared war on Ferrari, with the intention of putting it in enormous difficulty.
Controversial regulation, but was the F2005 following in the footsteps of the F2004?
The tires in Formula 1 have always played a decisive role, and any regulatory changes such as that of 2005 are capable of generating enormous advantages for some teams, and unfavourable situations for others.
The F2005 has certainly suffered strong repercussions, but from a technical point of view, what does the Ferrari car look like?
Designed by Aldo Costa, the new born from Maranello features a lighter and more rigid frame, specially designed to meet the need to reinforce the side panels, thus increasing resistance to the most severe crash tests.
The innovations also affect the bellies and the deflector area, since the sides are revised according to the new location of the cooling system, and the bonnet is modified, as well as the aerodynamic appendages on the bellies and the exhausts, no longer with the periscope shape. Furthermore, the aerodynamic profiles that accompany the end part of the exhausts are eliminated, now incorporated almost entirely in the bodywork.
The front wing is raised to comply with the new regulations, but in the central part, now free from any constraints, an additional low profile appears, aesthetically not beautiful, but very efficient and functioning.
The rear suspension has been revised, both to improve the dynamic behavior of the car, thereby obtaining the best possible efficiency from Bridgestone tires, and to optimize the aerodynamic performance of the rear area.
The bottom of the car is also redesigned both to adapt to the new gearbox dimensions and to comply with the new rules. In the design phase, the braking system and electronics also undergo significant changes compared to the F2004.
It is not clear how much Bridgestone tires penalize the F2005, but it was generally accepted that the new car from the Prancing Horse falls short of the monstrous F2004, and the Renault R25 and McLaren Mp4/20 are top-level cars, but in all likelihood, without the hitch linked to the tires, Schumacher could have played a leading role in 2005 too, perhaps without winning the title, but at least avoiding remaining anonymous for a whole year.
Modified engine to improve attacks
The 055 engine derives, for the most part, from the latest version of the 053 engine mounted by the F2004: the main changes concern the position of the attachments to the frame as well as to the gearbox. While maintaining the transmission positioned longitudinally, the entire rear structure is modified to try to make the most of the dimensions of the new carbon gearbox, further reduced compared to its predecessor being made of titanium and carbon fiber.
Given that the new sporting regulations in force require the use of the same engine for two consecutive Grand Prix, the aim of the designers is to create an engine capable of maintaining an adequate level of performance, doubling the distance available. Shell also supplies the team from Maranello with gasolines and lubricants specially prepared for this purpose.
An abrupt halt
"The world cup this year depends on your shoes".
This is how Luca Cordero di Montezemolo addresses the great head of Bridgestone, Hisaho Saganuma, alluding to the importance of tires.
But as expected, the Japanese tires fail to adapt to the 2005 regulation. Precisely for this reason, Ferrari falls violently into an abyss, transforming itself from absolute dominator to a team very far from the top: the F2005 gets only one pole, conquered thanks to Schumacher, in Hungary, and only one victory, in the controversial United States of America Grand Prix, when all the teams equipped with Michelin tires decide to boycott the race due to the safety problems generated by the French tires on the elevated corner of the Indianapolis circuit.
Without the questionable episode of Indy, Ferrari would probably have ended the year without ever climbing to the top step of the podium.
After an encouraging second place obtained by Schumacher on the Imola circuit, the expectations for the new car were disappointed by the subsequent results, unsatisfactory when compared with the successes of the previous year, which already seem light years away.
The F2005 collects a second place in Montreal and on the Hungaroring circuit, and a third place in Magny-Cours with Schumacher. But the following season the Red will be able to react in a great way, completely overturning the hierarchies established in 2005.
Simone Pietro Zazza