I just don't understand how they could have caught up so much. Especially since they couldn't get the coanda / downwash exhausts to work properly last year, they have way less experience than the rest of the grid on that front. And it seemed like they never cracked the exhausts. I just don't buy that they could overhaul any of the top three - including Fezza.
- Ferrari, even in a bad year, come up with a top-three car (the only exception in the last 15 years being 2009, a year with massive rule changes, not continuity like this year (correct me if I'm wrong))
- Their budget is still reported to be significantly bigger than Mercedes.
- Ferrari are now just refining a concept which was working well by the end of last season. In contract Mercedes must be making wholesale changes to bridge such a big gap; they can copy the essential features of other cars but ultimately their 2013 machine must be underdeveloped relative to Red Bull / Ferrari who have continuity. McLaren is a question mark, with such big changes to the front end of the car. They could end up moving forwards, backwards or treading water relative to the other teams' development, but with their budget and the pedigree of the MP4-27, I don't think they will be behind Merc.
I fully expect Mercedes to have closed up the gap to the front-running teams to be much more competitive than 2012, but I just don't think they can overtake anyone when the rules haven't changes and when they were so far back last year.
It’s not only that they have caught up some, but the others have also dropped some performance; remember the flexing wings are now, or they should be, history, and the flexing helped seal the floors, especially on the RBR, and latterly the Mclaren. They cannot do this anymore. The DRS can only be opening in one or two places on the track now; this benefited RBR enormously last year.
Let us also add they had the most to make up, in a stable rule period. The top cars are looking at refining 0.01 seconds, whereas Merc had a couple of seconds to make up. Merc didn’t get their heads around a few things last year, which they appear to have done in testing.
I just think things are going to be that much closer this year, due to the regs being stable, and due to them removing the items which made the other cars uber sticky. I also happen to think the drivers will make much more difference this year, due to it being so much closer.
I could also be massively off the mark. But I have a feeling if Merc are only 0.5 off the top runners, then the gap can be closed. I don’t think there’s a silver bullet this year either (no pun intended), so I can’t see DD, or EBD type thing coming into the sport.
To be frank, I haven’t looked forward to a season as much as I have this one, for a long time. Could be the year the drivers made the difference, and we all want that.
Edited by Hairy, 26 February 2013 - 12:48.