Wolff dismisses "easy story" of Ferrari upgrade impact
Mercedes Formula 1 team boss Toto Wolff says he does not believe the "easy story" that Ferrari's latest upgrades were key to its surprise Singapore Grand Prix triumph.
A raft of updates appeared on Ferrari’s SF90 in Singapore, including a new floor, diffuser, rear wing, nose and Mercedes-pioneered “cape” section.
That coincided with Charles Leclerc qualifying on pole and Sebastian Vettel winning the grand prix, despite the circuit sharing the same high-downforce characteristics as Hungary, where Vettel admitted Ferrari was “completely destroyed”.
Wolff insisted that “the resurgence of Ferrari in Singapore is not linked with any upgrades”.
“That's the easy story that is told,” he said. “I think it is about having a strong package overall and getting things right.
“They tuned the car for one lap, which was powerful [in qualifying]. You could see that they were nowhere in race pace but very quick from the get-go.
“If we would've had less safety cars, we would've had a good car at the end and maybe an opportunity to even win the race. But it wasn't the right strategy, it wasn't the right calls.”
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The Ferraris looked very comfortable over the bumps in Singapore, which is a key element to a quick laptime there, while its chief rival Mercedes also had difficulty with tyre warm-up around the long lap.
“I think this is not about upgrades, this is about doing the best out of the package,” Wolff stressed.
“They have a tremendously powerful engine, which is an important ingredient that allows you maybe more strategic choices on set-up, but this is no excuse."
Leclerc took pole despite admitting he almost crashed “two or three times” around the lap, which marked a huge step in performance from the two main points of comparison from earlier this season.
In Monaco, Ferrari was 0.781s off the pace in qualifying, and it was 0.471s from pole in Hungary.
Though Ferrari was pleased with the performance of its Singapore upgrades as it seeks to add greater peak downforce to its aerodynamically-efficient car, team principal Mattia Binotto believes other elements were at play as well.
“The aero upgrades have been a step forward, but that cannot explain all what we’ve seen,” he said.
“I think that Singapore is still a very specific circuit, with the walls, so drivers make the difference with their confidence.
“The car balance has improved since the last races. And the tyres as well. It was a different type of compounds, compared to the normal races, and probably we made them work properly.”
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