Calado: Ferrari will begin 2019/20 WEC with "slow car"

Ferrari will begin the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship season with a "slow car", fears James Calado, because bad weather at Spa scuppered a Balance of Performance adjustment.

Calado: Ferrari will begin 2019/20 WEC with "slow car"

Calado and his teammate in the #51 Ferrari 488 GTE, Alessandro Pier Guidi, dropped out of contention for the 2018/19 GTE Pro title in a snow-affected Spa race earlier this month, despite finishing second behind the Aston Martin of Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin.

The Briton admitted the result was only possible because of the conditions and that in a fully dry race both the two AF Corse-run Ferraris would likely have finished last and second-to-last.

Unlike the other three cars in the class, both Ferrari and Aston Martin had their last BoP change made prior to last November's Shanghai race, with the current automated system designed to issue a new BoP if required every two races.

However, because both the Shanghai round and the Spa race were wet, the existing BoP will apply for Ferrari and Aston for one more short-distance WEC race - the 2019/20 opener at Silverstone - before another change occurs.

"Because Shanghai was wet, we didn’t get the change we hoped for," Calado told Motorsport.com. "[And because Spa was wet] we’ll go into next season with a slow car again.

"We’re at the maximum we can be, absolutely. There’s nothing more to give in terms of power from the engine, set-up… the only thing we can change is tyres really.

"The others have managed the BoP situation quite well, and they’ve improved their cars. Generally in WEC, we’ve seen a raising of the game, but I think Ferrari can see that happening and we have to do the same."

Calado reiterated concerns voiced by Ferrari stablemate Davide Rigon in the run-up to the Spa race, namely that a lack of straightline speed is not only making it hard for the 488 GTE to pass GTE Am class cars, but also placing a greater strain on its tyres.

He said: "If you look at top speed [in the speed traps] it’s 8 or 9km/h [difference], but in the middle of the straight, it’s probably 10 or 12km/h. And they can run more downforce.

"We’re trimming, trimming, trimming all the time just to be able to overtake Am cars in a straight line. There are good Am drivers and you don’t want to get stuck.

"For BMW and Ford, they can just overtake on the straights, save the tyres. We have to brake later, slide, go over kerbs; it’s a knock-on effect of having poor straightline speed."

Calado is hopeful that the Le Mans 24 Hours won't be as difficult as it was for Ferrari last year, because the showpiece race falls outside of the usual auto-BoP system.

He said he believes the Prancing Horse can compete if the 488 GTE can be brought within 5km/h of the fastest car in the speed traps.

"We’re hoping it’s not going to be as bad as last year," he said. "We hope we get something for the poor performance last year. You never know, but I think we’re confident we can do well.

"We don’t know what the others are hiding or not hiding. The Fords and BMWs are stonkingly quick, I don’t know if they’ve any more to give; maybe that’s their maximum. All we need is straightline speed, to at least get us within 5km/h so that we can hang on."

The recently-revealed BoP for the Le Mans test day has given the 488 GTE a modest weight reduction as well as a small turbo boost increase.

#71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO: Davide Rigon, Sam Bird, Miguel Molina

#71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO: Davide Rigon, Sam Bird, Miguel Molina

Photo by: Marc Fleury

shares
comments
Ford reveals retro liveries for WEC farewell at Le Mans

Previous article

Ford reveals retro liveries for WEC farewell at Le Mans

Next article

ACO hints at future success ballast system for LMP1

ACO hints at future success ballast system for LMP1
Load comments
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide Prime

Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Prime

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Prime

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success.

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car Prime

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car

The JW Automotive Engineering team won twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours with ageing Fords and was considered the heavy favourite to add more victories to its tally after partnering with Porsche. But despite being armed with the all-conquering 917, this formidable combination was never as successful in real life as on the big screen.

Le Mans
Aug 15, 2021
Why Jose Maria Lopez isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio Prime

Why Jose Maria Lopez isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio

Having twice missed out on Formula 1 and reinvented himself as a touring car driver, Jose Maria Lopez has had a rocky ride to becoming a four-time world champion. One more would put him level with his nation's favourite son, but there's another prize he would value far more than the honour of matching Juan Manuel Fangio's tally.

WEC
Aug 14, 2021
The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial Prime

The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial

OPINION: After 24 Le Mans 24 Hours participations, 50-year-old Emmanuel Collard will be absent from the grid this year, stuck at the mercy of his gold driver grading. But, while he's not motivated by breaking start records, the French veteran is determined to return to the field next year.

WEC
Jul 24, 2021