Suderia Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto has revealed that tyre temperatures issues were behind the team's dreadful performance on the opening day for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Ferrari endured a really difficult Friday at Spa where it powered Charles Leclerc to his maiden F1 victory last year. The Monegasque ended up 15th fastest while his team mate Sebastian Vettel could only finish down in 17th spot.
The Ferrari-powered cars were expected to struggle around the 7.004km Spa circuit where straight-line speed is vital to get a good lap time, especially over a single qualifying lap, but the Scuderia was surprised by the extent of its struggles on Friday.
It was also surprising that both Alfa Romeo Ferrari drivers managed to end up ahead of Vettel and Leclerc while the Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean were not far away from the German despite missing the majority of the Friday running. That clearly indicated that the underpowered engine is not the only problem for Ferrari at Spa with team boss Mattia Binotto suggesting that tyre warm-up issues could explain the struggles.
Reflecting on yesterday’s performance, Binotto acknowledged that „we were definitely not competitive."
“We had problems getting the tires to work," he added. "We lack grip when braking and accelerating and therefore generally lack of performance in the car. If you can't find the right window, the tires won't work properly either. And if you don't have grip, you won't be fast in the second sector."
Both Vettel and Leclerc were complaining about the same balance issues in their post-practice debrief which indicates that the problem is not driver-specific.
"It's the same situation on both cars, so it has nothing to do with the drivers. It's just about how we adjust the car to get the right tire window, he said.