Following another dismal qualifying performance, Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel have admitted that their 2020 F1 car, the SF1000 does not have the necessary speed they would need to compete at the front.
When drivers could test the limits of their cars on low fuel and on fresh soft Pirelli rubbers for the first time this year last weekend, it has become quickly evident that Ferrari were not sandbagging when claming during pre-season testing that their car lacked outright speed. After Charlec Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel claimed a seventh and an eleventh spot on the starting grid for the season-opener, the team was adamant to fight back by fast tracking some of its development for this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix.
However, the new front wing and floor did not bring the lift in performance the team had hoped for. This afternoon, it was Charles Leclerc to fail to qualify for Q3 by securing an 11th starting position while Sebastian Vettel was unable to take up the fight against his rivals in the last qualifying session and clinched P10.
Following his first appearance in Q3 this year, Vettel has revealed that his car did not have any front grip which was a result of his car not being able to generate temperature in the front tyres.
"I was glad qualifying wasn't delayed until forward to tomorrow, even though we were hoping for more. I think we tried everything we could but unfortunately it took too long to get the tyres, especially the fronts, up to working temperature. I was locking the fronts a lot and aquaplaning down the straight. On the last lap in Q3 I tried to risk everything, but I lost the car at turn 8 and didn't manage to improve.
„At least it’s a lesson we have learned for the next time we face these conditions. The forecast is different for tomorrow and in the dry, our race pace looks a bit better, but we are still not where we want to be,” he added.
Vettel’s team-mate Charles Leclerc said that while the balance of Ferrari’s 2020 car, the SF1000 is appropriate, it lacks speed compared to the rivals’ cars.
"We were just not quick enough today. When I look at the gap to the cars at the front, I am quite surprised. There’s definitely some work to do. In terms of balance, the car is nice to drive in the dry and in the wet it’s very similar. But yes, we’ve got some problems here and there that we need to solve and also I need to work on my driving in these conditions. Unfortunately, we had heavy rain when we went onto the second set of extreme wets in Q2, and we could not improve, which is a shame.
"I went for a more aggressive setup yesterday, which might have made my driving more unpredictable in the rain, so we paid the price today, but I am sure we’ve made the right choice for tomorrow and we’ll benefit from it."
Reflecting on the team’s upgrades, Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto said that the new parts failed to deliver the performance gain that the team had expected ahead of the weekend.
"A really disappointing day. We have to accept that the stopwatch doesn’t ever lie. In two qualifying sessions, albeit in different conditions, we have not been competitive, not only against those who have been our closest rivals over the past few years, but also against others, who up to yesterday were generally behind us.
„We worked very hard to bring updates to the car earlier than planned, but they didn’t show their worth on track. We have to work out why and change this state of affairs, which is just not good enough for a team by the name of Ferrari. We mustn’t get het up about it, but we cannot ignore the facts,” Binotto said.