Ferrari aiming to fast track its upgrade package

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Following its poor showing at the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, Scuderia Ferrari aims to respond to its huge performance difference to the dominant Mercedes W11.

Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto has acknowledged ahead of the season-opener at Spielberg that his team’s 2020 car, the SF1000 did not live up to the Maranello-based outfit’s expectations.

The fabled Italian team has completely redesigned its 2019 car that dominated the field in terms of straight-line speed, but it could not keep up with the cars of Mercedes and Red Bull when it came to the cornering speed in low- and middle-speed turns. For 2020, the team has, therefore, followed a completely different approach to its aerodynamics concept.

When the field travelled to Barcelona for the pre-season testing, Ferrari quickly realized that the car did not produce the on-track results it had hoped for. Binotto has revealed at Spielberg that the team found out that correlation issues between the on-track data and the windtunnel results had led to Ferrari’s woes with its SF1000.

Despite collecting a podium finish thanks to Charles Leclerc’s second-place finish in the Austrian Grand Prix, the qualifying results showed the real pecking order – the Monegasque’s best lap time was 0.984 off Valtteri Bottas’ lap time with which the Finn secured the pole position for the season-opener. Leclerc’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel did not even manage to fight his way into the last qualifying segment at the circuit where he previously always excelled.

While many of the teams brought upgrades to the season-opener, Ferrari planned to introduce an extensive update package at the Hungarian Grand Prix which has been designed by following a different aerodynamics path. In a statement released on Monday, Ferrari has revealed that it will work its heart out to debut some solutions of this upgrade package at this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix, bringing the manufacturing process of some of the parts forward.

„It has also been an intense day because Charles Leclerc’s extraordinary second-place finish certainly hasn’t lessened the rigour applied to the judgement of the performance of the Scuderia’s package for the start of the season. The SF1000 didn’t measure up, even compared to expectations ahead of the event.”

„Because of this, development has already been going on at full pace for some time. This is in the hope of bringing forward to next weekend the introduction of the aerodynamic package scheduled for the Hungarian Grand Prix – or, at least, some of its components.”

Fast-tracking a part of its upgrade package might not only raise the SF1000’s competitiveness slightly, but it could also enable the Scuderia’s engineers to check the effectiveness of the new components that are set to divert the aerodynamic behaviour of the team’s 2020 car to a different path.

„It’s not that these new parts are expected to completely bridge the gap compared to the front of the grid. But the progress in terms of lap time could allow the team to move up the order and put the drivers in a better condition to be able to display their talent. Moreover, it’s about checking that the chosen direction of development is the right one, precisely because it will be possible to do a true back-to-back on every upgrade.”

Ferrari’s CEO Louis Camilleri said that his team needs to gear up immediately and in order to achieve that, the Scuderia will speed up its development schedule.

"We know there’s lots of work to do. This is certainly not the grid position that a team like Ferrari should have and we have to respond immediately. It’s clear that we have to improve on all fronts. The only solution is to react and I’m pleased by the immediate reaction and the work that Mattia and all his team are putting in at every level. This is not just to bring to the track today what was scheduled to be ready tomorrow, but also to speed up the programme of development for the coming races.”

The Egyptian has underlined that Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto enjoys his trust. „This is the response of a united team which is rolling up its sleeves and facing the problems head-on, without crying about it. We are at the start of a new cycle with a long term plan. Any setbacks will certainly not change our chosen course and I have every confidence in Mattia and the team in addressing our shortcomings,” Camilleri concluded