Ferrari experienced a horrific series of races with fatal consequences over the course of the last races. The SF70-H proved to be the best race car in most of the recent venues, but misfortunes and technical gremlins hindered the team to unlock the car's performance.
While Ferrari could only trail Mercedes distantly at high speed tracks like Silverstone in the first half of the season, the Scuderia managed to gain considerably in terms of raw race pace. The Ferrari got alive recently on high-speed tracks like Sepang and Suzuka. The team managed to make big strides on the aerodynamic configuration of SF70-H.
Despite the pace, recent technical glitches have had a detrimental impact on Ferrari's title changes, but the general competitiveness of the SF70-H and especially the in-season developments which has been Ferrari’s Achilles’ heel in recent seasons can encourage the team for the future.
Ferrari have been playing with two different rear wing configurations in Japan. The first one was the usual high-downforce wing. In previous years, teams were forced to run almost the same high-downforce rear wing due to the its high position and very limited width. This year, however, brought a brand-new technical regulation which has enabled the use of smaller wings which produce less downforce with the obvious benefit of reduced drag.
Last year, for instance, high-downforce rear wings were a must in Suzuka. Now, Ferrari ran its medium-downforce wing which features a bow, a curve in its mid-point. The team decided to run this configuration in an attempt find the perfect compromise for high downforce in flowing first section of the track while not compromising top speeds from Spoon Curve up onto the hill, through the 130R corner into the chicane, making for a section that is about 16 second full throttle.
After the high ambient temperatures of Malaysia, Japan welcomed the F1 field with much colder weather on Friday and on Saturday before the temperatures rose on race day. Ferrari decided not to run the extra air intakes on the top of the cockpit which it used during the hot Malaysian GP weekend.