Is Jarno Trulli complimenting or complaining about Ferrari?

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Bahrain, 2008, 3 | Ferrari S.p.A.Drivers don’t pay compliments to other drivers or other teams very often. On the face of it, Jarno Trulli seems to think Kimi Raikkonen should start clearing a place on his mantlepiece for the 2008 FIA F1 World Drivers’ Championship trophy:

When you watch Ferrari’s performance on the track your arms drop [in amazement]. They brake where they want but, above all, they accelerate where they want, when I always have to be careful giving power, which is no longer managed by traction control.

But in January Trulli suggested at least one team had found a way to re-create the banned launch control systems:

Having analysed the behaviour on the track both now and in the tests in December, the changes between them are many – and in several cases suspicious.

Traction control and launch control are different systems but both are concerned with reducing wheelspin. Is Trulli suggesting that Ferrari are using an illegal traction control device?

Toyota and Ferrari tested on their own at Bahrain for six days so Trulli will have had plenty of time to take notice of what they were doing.

Last year Ferrari ran away with the first race of the season at Melbourne and Kimi Raikkonen scored a crushing win. But after a change to the rules governing the underside of the car, which Ferrari were believed to be getting around with a flexing floor, their advantage over the rest of the field was lessened.

Is Trulli sending out messages that he thinks Ferrari have gotten too far in front of the rest of the pack and need to be pegged back? Here’s what else he had to say:

In my opinion they are at least half a second faster per lap, even with respect to McLaren. The championship already looks over to me before it has started.

The last time Ferrari and McLaren tested side-by-side was at Valencia three weeks ago, where there was very little to choose between the cars. In the Bahrain test Raikkonen posted a quickest time of 1’30.015, almost a second quicker than Trulli’s 1?óÔéĽ??30.994.

Which leaves two questions: are Ferrari really that far ahead of everyone else? And is Trulli trying to nobble them?

Photo copyright: Ferrari S.p.A.

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26 comments on Is Jarno Trulli complimenting or complaining about Ferrari?

  1. What, by putting a sensor, power pack, parallelogram lever, an actuator on the back of the accelerator pedal, and using a tiny microprocessor to smooth out the throttle,, who would do such a thing?!

    Or an adjustable resistance piston (oil for adjustability) and letting it “compensate” for the pressure applied to the pedal.

    Oh wait,, did I just come up with two ways to cheat,,
    crap!

  2. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th February 2008, 22:07

    Sounds like you know your stuff! I take it both those things you’ve described would get around the standard ECU?

  3. I don’t see why they wouldn’t, as the whole point would be to hide a mechnism and tiny powerplant that is reponds to throttle input and forward G-forces only (mems accelerometer )

    The tiny batteries would have to kick ass, but it’s a mildly conceivable notion,, worth the time to shove an engineer or two at it for a kick knock together and see if it works
    Scrutineer,, “Weird pedal”
    team tech, “yeah, they like thicker heavier pedals now,, it’s the new thing”
    “ok, tra la la la la ” (that’s the scrutineer singing to himself while skipping away).

    Who knows if it’d work, just my crazy 2 cents for how to get around something as isolated as an ECU box,, simply optimize the info going into said box. The pedal would be the prime location, and as it would be able to be considered a mechanical part of the pedal, (yet in no way adjusting electronic input and output to the ecu box) It seems it would somehow be a possibility. Maybe an all mechanical system (ie, no electronics, just a valved piston assembly on the linkage)

    Then again, its just the wild ramblings of a weirdo. No one has ever let me drive an F1 car,, (fools) but if they’re really doing something,, you can be sure its vastly more clever than my silly thoughts.

  4. Wesley said on 13th February 2008, 23:26

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Our new technical advisor: Fred Schecter

  5. I reckon Fred’s onto something there – a mechanical system that “manages the throttle at lower speeds” instead of “reducing wheelspin” – a mere interpretation of the terminology really, is completely viable. I guess we’ll just have to see how fast this Ferrari is come March :>

    Still, gotta love the pre-season excuses, “it’s not us that’s slow, it’s them that are too quick – they must be cheating”.

  6. Thanks,, I’ll ask Kieth about joining the advisory committee, Hah!!!

    Poor old Jarno, a man who should’ve worn red at some point,, alas,, the frustration must be too great to watch anyone but Badoer roll around for the Scuderia must be maddening!

    If there is some “traction control” out there, that isn’t totally kosher, it’d be interesting to see how they’re doing it.

    If it isn’t in the pedal as that nut suggested (oh, right, me) what not create a circuit system and sandwich it between connectors and bulkheads? That way it just looks like it goes through a big chunk of carbon, but the power in the system could run the circuitry and control inputs better.

    Besides that, does anyone ever know what happened to the system they were forced to stop working on at Prost before they had to shut it down? That still lurks in my brain as a big question mark, (I think it had something to do with regenerative braking, or active suspension without electronics (both were theorized at the time) but I never heard a thing about it.

    Cheers (gotta get back to making hair dryers)

  7. A minor point: the rules regarding movable floors were not changed after Melbourne, the test for them was upgraded to prevent cheating.

  8. Journeyer said on 14th February 2008, 1:11

    Nice points made, Fred! I think any of the smarter teams would have at least tried a refined version of your idea. Or if they haven’t, and one of them happens to be reading this site… Hmmm…

    Oh, Jarno IS wearing red… TOYOTA red! :P

  9. Did Jarno consider the possibility that Kimi knows how to handle the pedal ?

  10. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th February 2008, 7:21

    Fair point Clive.

  11. Nathan Jones said on 14th February 2008, 8:00

    i dunno if anybody would be cheating, but wouldnt it b interesting to see what the outcome of ferrari being caught cheating would be!
    i hate them!
    all the years of thier dominance and not one complaint by a competitor yet get ferrari into a title fight and watch them head for the courtrooms!
    ’03 ’06 and ’07 anyone?

  12. Michael K said on 14th February 2008, 9:05

    Ok, what Fred is explaining sounds funny and I think that’s what it’s supposed to be. Smoothing out the throttle input is no traction control and would help if the driver had Parkinson’s disease. It would be impossible for a G-Force sensor alone to read when there is loss of traction or not without a lot of other information and obviously not using the wheel sensor. Does Ferrari have something which helps with traction without using the ECU? Maybe, but it won’t be a cushioned pedal…

  13. Yeah, maybe it’s not Ferrari, maybe it’s Kimi. I’m an Alonso fan, but I really think that when it comes down to it, Kimi is the man. Maybe he “brakes when he wants” and “accelerates when he wants” because he’s just not afraid, and not sleeping behind the wheels anymore.

  14. Keith,

    The most important is to put the issue on the table, as Trulli is trying to do. But who is the voice to make the FIA move herself?

    I think that only Frank have some dignity now to make some complains about this another Ferrari “tractiongate” and save the 2008 championship.

    Rgds

  15. Michael K

    Half funny, half serious,, while having Michael J Fox in a race car would be great, he’s better suited for hockey (Canadian). However, it seemed a reasonable area to probe, as it wouldn’t be “inline” with any electronics and a truly separate piece of kit. Isolating G-forces along the vehicle versus foot inputs is a rational (if expensive) proposition (3 different axis accelerometers and a processor could isolate forces enough for useful data), and could be truly separated from the ecu. Another option is something of the same nature, but in having an “over-ride throttle paddle” on the wheel, to fine tune throttle inputs at speed (mechanical linkage?) Eh, who knows,, just theorizing on a way around it more than anything, (rules, just tell you how to get around them). My whole point being based around a more controlled throttle application linkage applied to the input lever on the throttle. It would be a high tech application of a low tech solution (not a sponge/shock absorber, but an active throttle application management system).

    I’d be more excited to see that someone has really got a “legal” way around traction control,, or, in this case,, advanced throttle input systems, as true traction control works with engine braking, and even sometimes true braking systems (as you noted Michael).

    It’ll be fun to see as the season plays out what becomes of it all.

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