By a mere reading of the race results it may appear as if Leclerc’s P2 at the Red Bull Ring was a display of great performance by the new-born SF1000.
The Austrian GP season opener provided Ferrari with their first podium of the season, but the truth tells a completely different story: Charles Leclerc raced for his life around the Spielberg’s track and, taking full advantage of others’ misfortune, managed to climb his way up to a brilliant second in an underperforming car.
On the other side of the garage, team mate Sebastian Vettel was fighting against massive oversteer snaps of an “undrivable” SF1000, and paying the price of a self-caused spin. Possibly a wrong set-up made Vettel’s car not only slow, as Leclerc’s, but also unpredictable and the onboard footages are painful to watch.
But even on the warm-up to the race, on Friday and Saturday, when the Ferraris seemed at least well-balanced, the lack of pace was astonishing. The Scuderia found itself fighting against the McLarens, Renaults and Racing Points around 1 second off the Mercedes’ pace.
This massive warning alert woke up Mattia Binotto and the whole team, which -keep it in mind- assumed no one would show up in Austria with updates.
The original plan of bringing upgrades to the Hungarian GP was subsequently quickly changed, as a note from Ferrari on Monday made clear: “The SF1000 didn’t measure up, even compared to expectations ahead of the event,” a statement from Maranello reports. “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”.
But, Ferrari admits, this won’t bring them anywhere close to the No-Longer-Silver Arrows: “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.”