Ferrari to fast-track F1 upgrades for Styrian GP - but no straight-line fix
Ferrari to speed up introduction of new aerodynamic package, but say they're losing up to 0.8s on straights; No engine upgrade 'soon'
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 07/07/20 8:29pm
Ferrari say they are aiming to bring forward their "significant" car upgrade to this weekend's Styrian GP, although are still not expecting to challenge at the front due to an alarming straight-line speed disadvantage.
The new aerodynamic package, which Ferrari said marked a big change of direction in their 2020 development, was initially planned for Hungary the following week but the team hope to fast-track at least some of the parts after struggling, even more than expected, in Austria's season-opener.
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Charles Leclerc spared the famous team's blushes by dragging the under-performing SF1000 from seventh on the grid to an unlikely second place on Sunday, but Ferrari still want to act fast for the second Spielberg race.
"The SF1000 didn't measure up, even compared to expectations ahead of the event," said Ferrari in a statement. "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."
The team added: "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."
The newly-named Styrian GP is live and exclusive on Sky Sports F1.
What has happened to Ferrari's speed?
Ferrari have made it clear that their new package is aimed at cornering, and not straight-line, speed - despite Mattia Binotto's worrying assertion that they are losing up to 0.8seconds on the straights. A far-cry from 2019.
The Scuderia were Mercedes' main challengers for the title last season, with their main asset being qualifying speed and, more specifically, engine power. They claimed nine pole positions, out of 21.
One of those came at last season's Austrian GP but on Saturday, Leclerc, the only Ferrari to advance to Q3 in qualifying, finished a whopping 0.920seconds off his own pole time from a year before.
How can Ferrari lose so much time, so quickly?
"We are losing seven to eight tenths [of a second] on the straight," Ferrari boss Binotto told Sky Sports F1, with Bottas 0.987s faster on pole.
"I think we can be strong on the grip limiter, the power limiter on the straight will be our issue which we need to analyse.
"Quite disappointed, and as well surprised by the difference."
The situation now is in huge contrast to last year, when Mercedes regularly claimed that Ferrari were gaining around 0.5s on the straights.
The team, who also power Haas and Alfa Romeo, reached a private settlement with the FIA regarding their 2019 engine earlier this year.
"Compared to last year, certainly the performance of our engine is not as good as it was," said Binotto. "That's quite obvious but I don't think the difference we are seeing is all down to the engine itself."
The difference in speed could also be down to the car's "drag", which Binotto, Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel regularly mentioned at the weekend - although Ferrari are not braced for a straight-line speed fix.
"The upgrades [that were for Hungary] are not for speed on the straights," added Binotto. "So that's not something we're expecting very soon."
Ferrari's backing for Binotto
Binotto, who took over as Ferrari's team principal before the 2019 season, praised his team's "unity" during a difficult opening weekend.
"I think that is our strength and something we can be proud of," he explained. "I'm pretty sure by working united we will at some stage be back, and that's important for us."
And Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri has already given his early backing to Binotto.
"We know there's lots of work to do," said Camilleri. "This is certainly not the grid position that a team like Ferrari should have and we have to respond immediately. It's clear that we have to improve on all fronts.
"The only solution is to react and I'm pleased by the immediate reaction and the work that Mattia and all his team are putting in at every level.
"This is the response of a united team which is rolling up its sleeves and facing the problems head on, without crying about it. We are at the start of a new cycle with a long term plan.
"Any setbacks will certainly not change our chosen course and I have every confidence in Mattia and the team in addressing our shortcomings."
The new Formula 1 season is underway in dramatic style on Sky Sports F1 and continues this week with the second race at the Red Bull Ring - the Styrian GP. Find out more & subscribe.