(Motorsport-Full.com) – As on 18. February the first generation Formula 1 cars 2019 Ferrari rolled out of the garages in Barcelona, brimming with self-confidence. Sebastian Vettel set the first test best time of the new year, Charles Leclerc repeated the best time the following day. The Scuderia maneuvered itself into the favorite role – a mistake.
“We were definitely very quick in the first week of testing. At least we thought that we were very good would be strong, “admits Mattia Binotto in retrospect. “To be honest, we thought we had a clear efficiency advantage over all of our competitors.”
Half a second ahead of the competition, Ferrari calculated on the competition after the first week of testing. “We had a lot of confidence that we would experience an obvious season.” This was also due to the first feedback from the drivers. Vettel and Leclerc reported “a lot of grip, especially in the rear and good stability when braking.”
Australia-Tempo warfare “cold shower” for Ferrari
Im overall classification of the first week of testing Leclerc and Vettel finished eighth and ninth. In the second week of testing, the German drove the absolute best time (1: 16. 221 minutes). “We knew that we were dealing with a completely new tire situation because the tires were new. It was very cold, but the feedback from both drivers was very positive.”
Vettel and Leclerc were both have been very happy with the steadiness of the vehicle. However, the competition reacted quickly: Mercedes brought the first updates in the second week of testing. “If you look at the best times of the second week, we drove exactly the same time as Hamilton,” says Binotto. 0.0 03 seconds the Briton dragged the last stamp behind Ferrari.
“He was able to keep up our pace furthermore, became means he was warfare faster.” Especially in the second week, the teams experimented with little fuel and different engine modes. The silver arrows caught up with Ferrari in this segment. Nevertheless, the Italians were not worried.
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“We traveled to Australia with great confidence. We thought we would fight for victory.” The warfare was not so. If Binotto's troop set the tone in cool temperatures in Spain, Ferrari in Melbourne was seven tenths of a second short of the silver Pole Location . In the race, Vettel and Leclerc in the fourth and fifth places lost about one second per lap to the silver arrows.
“That was a cold shower for the whole crew. We only realized that our efficiency wasn't going to be good enough. ” There were good reasons for the disappointing result at the start of the season, among other things the Scuderia made mistakes in the cooling and the engine management.
“Those were just a few things that went wrong at the time, but we were generally too slow to meet our expectations. ” First the crew had to realize that there was a backlog on Mercedes, only then could you react.
Lowlights Spain & Hungary: One minute behind
The first spotlight of the year immediately followed in Bahrain. Newcomer Leclerc prevailed in his second qualifying for the Reds and took pole. The back then 21 – Year-old led the race over long distances, but fell victim to a reliability problem with the drive and then dropped back to third place.
“We could have won this race,” said team boss Binotto , Nevertheless, his troop was relieved after the Bahrain Efficiency. “We thought maybe Australia was just a nightmare.” But the following races already showed that Ferrari is not fast enough.
“It took a while for us to realize that our car was not the fastest,” says the Italian, the 2019 new in the team boss role warfare, too , He speaks of certainly four or five races, especially Spain and Hungary that are remembered as negative highlights.
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On the winding routes in Barcelona and Budapest the weakness of the SF 90 clearly H. Terrifying: Vettel could not undercut his time from the second week of testing in Spain qualifying ( 1: 16. 272 minutes ). At the Hungaroring he was third more than a minute behind the winner Hamilton ripped open.
The team manager's biggest weakness is the lack of reaction to the performance. “It was taking too long,” he says. Because only at the beginning of the second half of the season could his team set the tone at the top. After an encouraging race from Leclerc in Austria (fight against Verstappen lost in the end), Monegasse attacked in Belgium and Italy.
Scuderia also surprisingly won in Singapore, the first and only for Vettel this year. Thanks to a update that focused more on downforce in the corners, the energy-strong Ferrari was also able to do better in the winding passages.
Misconception in the first half of the season
However, the crew lacked consistency to fight for victory in every race. “We were confident that the stability, grip and steadiness of the car became a concern, but we realized that on routes like Australia, China or Spain that wasn't the descend warfare. Only a few routes matched USA, like Bahrain or Azerbaijan. “
Ferrari was mistaken:” We thought we could challenge our rivals in the first half of the season, but with a few exceptions that wasn't the descend. ” The danger was recognized too late. Only in the summer break did you react, the updates then worked well.
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“We were under a lot of pressure because the expectations are very high, after all we are Ferrari.” The good performance in the winter tests built up even more pressure. At least the crew had been united in this segment. “We have the right spirit and were able to address the problems.”
However, Ferrari was out of the season behind Mercedes. “Especially in the corners, at least we addressed this weakness in the second half of the season and showed that the crew is able to develop in the right direction. This is the obvious news from this year.”