Despite improving the car’s balance for the all-important qualifying session, Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel ended up 13th and 14th after locking out the front row at Spa just a year ago.
The drivers have been complaining about the car’s balance since the first practice session on Friday. The long straights and full-throttle sections of the Spa-Franchorchamps circuit were always going to hurt Ferrari’s chances this weekend, but the fact that Scuderia’s customer teams Alfa Romeo and Haas were also within a couple of tenths of Leclerc and Vettel suggests that the Italian team is suffering from more issues.
Team Principal Mattia Binotto revealed after the Friday practices that the car cannot generate enough heat into the tyres, meaning that the drivers have little grip under breaking or even in the medium-speed corners.
Following the dreadful qualifying session Sebastian Vettel was not surprised that Ferrari has found itself in a very difficult position at the 7.004km Spa cirucit as the beloved track highlights Scuderia’s 2020 car’s weak points that is the chronic lack of straight-line speed.
"We need to stay strong and keep doing what we are doing as we knew this would be a tough weekend for us. We lose quite a bit on the straights and this circuit has a lot of straights. We are also struggling to get the tyres working properly. However the race is long so you never know what might happen.
"In the end I think today’s result reflects our real level on a track like this. We are ready to do battle tomorrow, I don’t think the rain can change a lot but for sure we will be trying anything, also on strategy, to bring home some points."
Setting a time that was over 1.7s slower than Lewis Hamilton’s pole position lap, Charles Leclerc will only start tomorrow’s Beligan Grand Prix from the 13th spot on the grid. The 22-year-old who scored his maiden Formula 1 victory at Spa in 2019 said that today’s results reflects what Ferrari’s SF1000 is capable of at the moment.
“I think my final was ok and that P13 and P14 was the best we could do today. We managed to improve the car balance since yesterday, but unfortunately we didn’t find the performance we were hoping for there.
Despite being aware that the „the race will be tough”, the two-time grand prix winner remains „optimistic. Hopefully, with a strong start, the right strategy, and good tyre management, we will be able to fight for some points.
“These are tough times for all of us, including everyone who is supporting us watching from home, and I will give my all to bring home the best possible result tomorrow for them. It’s important for everyone in our team to keep their heads up and stay motivated. Together we will work hard to find the cause of the issue we are having and address it,” said the Monegasque.
Ferrari’s Sporting Director Laurent Mekies was happy that the team could, at least,make improvements to the SF1000’s balance after a dreadful Friday.
"A very difficult qualifying with neither driver making it to Q3. This follows on from an even more difficult Friday, when we never managed to get the tyres to work properly. With very little grip, Charles, Sebastian and the team did what they could, turning the setup on its head to try and at least to get back to the performance level we had seen in previous races.
"Thanks to a lot of hard work from everyone, today was better than yesterday, but it was not enough to fight with our usual competitors. We also went for an aero setup aimed at tomorrow’s race, when the rain could be a factor,” he said.