«No secrets» between factory Ferraris and customer AF Corse in WEC

There will be a full data exchange between the works cars run by AF Corse and the satellite operation that is fielding the additional car for Robert Kubica and factory drivers Robert Shwartzman and Yifei Ye, according to Ferrari sportscar racing technical director Ferdinando Cannizzo.

“Everything, we share it. There is no secret at the end,” Cannizzo said. “At the end we have three Ferraris and we are aiming to have these three Ferraris fighting for the podium. So there are no secrets at all.”

Cannizzo said Ferrari is also keeping AF Corse’s customer entry into account while deciding the race strategy for the factory cars, essentially working as a larger three-car team on the pitwall.

“It’s three cars in mind, it’s better than two,” he said. “It’s more complicated, but definitely it’s better.

“We will support them in a way they can be a part of the game at every moment. You have to see three Ferraris, that’s it.”

Both Ferrari and AF Corse have stressed that the customer car is run by a separate team within the larger AF set-up. Ferrari as a manufacturer only supports the Italian team in managing the engine and the hybrid system of the #83 499P LMH.

Manufacturers are only allowed to run two cars on factory basis in the main Hypercar championship. Any additional cars are entered in what is called the World Cup for Hypercar teams, a division that was won by Jota last year.

AF Corse has a long history of running both factory and customer Ferrari cars in the GTE era of the WEC that ended at the Bahrain 8 Hours in November last year.

Cannizzo says running a third hypercar in WEC poses an extra challenge, but feels it will ultimately benefit Ferrari as a manufacturer.

«From a certain perspective it could be a bit more effort,» he explained. «But on the other side it will give us a lot more indication, more information that we can use and we can put to use in a race weekend for the development of the car, so that is good news for us.

«I think the effort will definitely pay off race after race.»

#50 Ferrari Af Corse Ferrari 499P: Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen

#50 Ferrari Af Corse Ferrari 499P: Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen

Photo by: Erik Junius

Apart from Ferrari, Porsche is the only other manufacturer to field customer cars in the WEC, with Jota and Proton running three examples of the 963 LMDh between them.

Last year, Jota’s independently-operated Porsche regularly challenged the works Penske cars, with Proton also showing flashes of pace despite only joining the championship from the fifth round at Monza.

Ferrari’s sportscar racing boss Antonello Coletta doesn’t see a problem if AF Corse is able to beat the factory team, as long as the Italian marque is running at the sharp end of the field.

Asked if he expects the customer #83 AF Corse to be on the same level as the works cars, Coletta said: “It’s possible.

“I don’t know the situation of Porsche, but I know very well the situation of Ferrari. Our three cars are exactly the same. 

“The cars are managed from exactly the same people because of the base of AF Corse. The technicians regarding the engine and electronics and so on are [from] Ferrari. The drivers are very consistent, so why not.

“For us this is no problem. Our target is to Ferrari in front of the rest of the grid. If Ferrari will be red or yellow it’s a secondary problem or matter. 

“For me the important issue is that Ferrari win the race and all the three Ferraris are the same cars.”

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