McLaren vs Ferrari – best car of 2007?

This topic contains 11 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Sri Harsha 3 years, 2 months ago.

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    I recently had an interesting discussion with Nick (@npf1) about which team we believed had the best car overall in the 2007 F1 season. Was it McLaren or Ferrari? I picked Ferrari, he believed it was McLaren.

    When 2007 ended, at the time I believed that McLaren had the best car overall by a slim margin. The F2007 and MP4-22 looked faster than each other around an equal number of circuits, and the MP4-22 had better reliability.

    However, in hindsight, looking back at 2007 I just can’t help but feel that the Ferrari F2007 was really the best car of the season, and McLaren was flattered by its drivers.

    Both of Ferrari’s 2007 drivers, Massa and Kimi, went toe to toe against Alonso in equal machinery and both were brushed aside. Hence, how could both Massa and Kimi regularly beat Alonso in 2007, unless their car was clearly superior?

    Thoughts? Which car would you pick to drive for the season if you were an F1 driver in 2007, McLaren or Ferrari?


    Iestyn Davies

    Definitely the McLaren.. but was the Ferrari poorer in wet conditions in 2007, as it was in 2008? I would also say that Kimi/Felipe looked much stronger in the mid-2000s, than they currently do in the mid-2010s. Both are due retirement within the next two years, along with Button, while Alonso looks like he can ‘go the longest’ of that generation, like Schumacher or Barrichello before him, and possibly Hamilton, Rosberg or Vettel after him.

    My instincts say McLaren 2007 and Ferrari 2008, but McLaren really kept on developing the car for number 1 driver Hamilton in 2008, to make up for losing 2007 (which hurt the 2009 A-Spec car badly), while the Ferrari struggled chiefly in wet conditions and swung in development from Kimi to Felipe mid-year. So, perhaps there is merit in swapping around this order to Ferrari 2007 and McLaren 2008. But, whichever car has better reliability will always be a better championship car, as both are fast enough to win multiple races.

    PS. Checking the 2007 statistics, it seems that McLaren had a better qualifying car, while Ferrari took a lot of the race fastest laps. Hamilton also led the most laps that year, with Massa second, interestingly enough. Kimi set two fastest laps ‘out of frustration at not being able to pass the car in-front’.. if only he had DRS..



    @fastiesty how was the McLaren the best qualifying car that year if Ferrari had the most pole positions? On another note, laps in the lead is generally not as reliable as miles/kilometers in the lead. If one team dominates Spa and the other dominates Monaco, the team which dominated Monaco will “earn” a lot more laps in the lead. Ironically, this is exactly what happened in 2007.

    These are the statistics:

    Ferrari F2007:
    9 wins
    9 poles
    12 fastest laps
    204 points
    2622 km in the lead

    McLaren MP4/22
    8 wins
    8 poles
    5 fastest laps
    203 (218) points
    2411 km in the lead


    Iestyn Davies

    @kingshark Interesting.. I looked at the stats I could find on F1F, and it showed Hamilton as having the best average starting position, Alonso 2nd, with the Ferraris 3rd/4th.

    But those overall stats make it look very even, and of course I agree on the point about Monaco, as I knew something like that must have happened to get Massa 2nd in laps led despite less wins that the other 3 title protagonists.

    Looks like we will need to establish which car was best at which track and tot it up, along with reliability, to see which car is best over the season..




    I looked at the stats I could find on F1F, and it showed Hamilton as having the best average starting position, Alonso 2nd, with the Ferraris 3rd/4th.

    A lot of that has to do with the fact that Massa had to start 22nd in Australia and 14th in Hungary because of a car problem in qualifying, and Kimi had to start 16th in Monaco because he crashed in Q2. This lowered their average significantly. Without those silly mistakes, Ferrari were easily on par with McLaren over one lap.

    I counted the number of races where Ferrari looked faster and the number of races where McLaren looked faster.

    F2007: Australia, Bahrain, Spain, France, Great Britain, Turkey, Belgium, and Brazil. (8)
    MP4/22: Malaysia, Monaco, Canada, United States, Hungary, Italy, and Japan. (7)

    I did not classify either Europe (Nurburgring) or China, because in those two mixed condition races, they were too close to call. Ferrari looked faster in the dry parts of the race, while McLaren looked quicker during the rainy parts of the race.



    It was the F2007 that was the faster car. But it wasn’t by much. More wins, more poles, more race fastest laps and the most miles in the lead. From memory it also seemed to be the quicker car in race conditions at most circuits too as @kingshark mentioned. The only conditions in which it was easy to separate the cars was in the wet, where he MP4-22 seemed to be the better car.



    I’d say the F2007 was the marginally faster car, but was clearly less reliable and also worse in the wet. Therefore the MP4-22 was the better car.



    Raikkonen looked pretty fast in the wet all throughout 2007. He was the fastest driver in Nurburgring, but lost out due a mechanical failure. In Fuji he went from 22nd to 3rd, and in China he won.


    The only conditions in which it was easy to separate the cars was in the wet, where he MP4-22 seemed to be the better car.


    and also worse in the wet

    How much do you guys think was down to the drivers?



    Qualifying was (I think) still being run on starting fuel in 2007, so pole position was largely decided by strategy rather than outright speed. Fastest laps is probably a better indicator of the true potential of the car, but there are plenty of other factors. Fast over a single lap does not mean fastest over a race distance. In the end it’s speed over a race distance which matters most.

    I guess the real crux of the debate is whether the poor relative performance of Massa and Raikkonen to Alonso in the Ferrari over the past couple of years indicates that Alonso is a fundamentally faster driver and that the similar performance of the F2007 and the MP4-22 would have to take into account the ‘drag factor’ of Massa and Raikkonen’s poor pace. I think that’s a very simplistic way to look at it, and suggests that a driver’s ability is a constant year on year irrespective of the qualities of the car. Which is simply not the case at all.

    But for what it’s worth (i.e. not a lot) my own opinion is that the F2007 was slightly faster on average than the MP4-22, and it was generally down to the skill of Alonso and Hamilton that the McLaren beat the Ferrari as often as it did.


    Craig Woollard

    I always believed the Ferrari was a fraction quicker on more circuits than the McLaren, but it really wasn’t by a massive margin. Obviously McLaren having better reliability did help, and I do feel that the McLaren was arguably the best car of 2007, just. So when they had Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso as a driver pairing, you can’t help but think that they failed dismally that year by not claiming both titles, which they should have done.



    I remember I began to pay attention to the engineering side of F1 in that year, because of how often I heard that the significantly longer wheelbase of the F2007 was giving it an advantage on tracks with mainly high-speed corners like Magny-Cours, Silverstone, Spa, etc. (all of which they won AFAIR).

    On the other hand, McLaren just washed the Scuderia away on stop-and-go tracks like Monaco and Indy.

    It was very interesting.


    Sri Harsha

    I think 2007 had similar terms to 2012 in terms of who had Fastest car
    It swung with tracks more , If reliability counted then Mclaren and If Speed counted its Ferrari.
    When Ferrari has reliability its fastest with a margin perhaps 2 to 3 tenths at max. So i feel Ferrari is fastest that year over all with Best car is Mclaren

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