How Ferrari kept it cool in Malaysia


Although Sepang’s sweltering conditions and high temperatures probably helped Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel’s success in the Malaysian Grand Prix shows how much of a step forward the Italian team has made over the winter.

Technical director James Allison has confirmed that the new SF15-T is his first actual brainchild since the British designer and engineer joined Maranello from Lotus in mid-2013. Now overseeing the entire technical department (chassis and engine), Allison has designed a car that is very gentle on its tyres. This was already a key feature on his previous machines, namely the race-winning Lotus E20 and E21.

According to Allison, this year’s improvements come from the whole Ferrari package.

"In pure lap time terms, the gains are almost equal – chassis and power unit," said the Ferrari technical director. "On the chassis, as normal, the lion's share of the gains are aerodynamic, because that has the most authority to put lap time on the car.

"On the chassis side it's 80/20 aero versus some quite useful gains that are made in the cooling efficiency of the car that are then translated into aero by allowing you to run tighter at the back. So (the improvements are) across the board."

The power unit design has been overhauled in order to increase the electric power delivered by the MGU-H. Head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer, who also came from Lotus as Allison’s right-hand man, has enjoyed greater freedom to shape the SF15-T thanks to more compact coolers on Maranello’s latest charger.

It is this very aspect that turned out to be a critical performance factor in the Malaysian heat last weekend. So let’s see how Ferrari’s cooling system has improved to help Vettel emerge a winner in Sepang.