Ferrari has a less competitive package - Vettel

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Ahead of its last season with Scuderia Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel has admitted that his team will commence the delayed 2020 F1 season with a less competitive package. However, the quadruple champion remains hopeful that his team can improve on its competitiveness.

Although Ferrari started the pre-season preparation hopeful, the Scuderia’s SF1000 looked off the pace during the Barcelona test runs in February. The car lacked of straight-line speed, a feature that was Ferrari’s SF90 main asset during the 2019 season.

Although almost four months have flown by since the pre-season testing, the decision to bring forward and extend the traditional summer shutdown to 63 days meant that teams have had a very limited time to work on their cars ahead of the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix. The scarlet-red team’s four-time world champion driver Sebastian Vettel, therefore, expects Ferrari to begin the season in low-key shape.

The quadruple world champion has revealed that the coronavirus situation had enabled him to spend time with his family and friends, something he has been hardly able to do since joining Formula One in 2007.

„It is no secret that we’re all really keen to get back on track, as it’s been such a long time now. At the start, the break was enjoyable, as usually we are always travelling around the world and we have little time to spend with family and friends, but the time has come to get back on track.

„I’m ready to give it my all, even if it won't be the same without the fans there supporting us. The Austrian track is like a carousel that goes round really quickly but I like it a lot, especially as it is high in the mountains which I love.”

The Heppenheim-born did not want to make a secret of Ferrari’s current situation by admitting that the team’s 2020 car, the SF1000 is expected to present no challenge to its rivals Mercedes and Red Bull.

„We have to be realistic when it comes to the pecking order seen at the tests, but we are not downhearted. It will also be unusual doing two races in a row here as for the second one we will have a lot of data to work with. What we do in the first weekend will have an important effect on the second,” Vettel concluded.

While Vettel spent his time during the last three months with his family and friends, Leclerc has been an active figure in virtual racing, winning two races of Formula 1’s sim racing competition. The two-time grand prix winner is looking forward to the season to get started at the Red Bull Ring, a circuit he enjoys driving on due to its characteristics.

“I like the Spielberg circuit very much, because of all its changes of gradient and its high speeds. It’s nice to be starting again there, even if we won't be able to see the support of our fans at the track.

„During the long lockdown, I spent time working on my physical training and also doing quite a lot of virtual racing on my simulator, having fun with other drivers and I hope it was also entertaining for those watching from home. But now it's time to get back in the cockpit of a real car. Last week in Mugello, we were able to get into a Formula 1 car again and I have to say it was really enjoyable to be back behind the wheel,” the 22-year old driver concluded.