Vettel: Ferrari facing key weeks to decide SF90 direction

Sebastian Vettel believes Ferrari faces a vital few weeks in which it must establish how to develop its car over the middle part of the 2019 Formula 1 season.

Vettel: Ferrari facing key weeks to decide SF90 direction

Ferrari emerged from pre-season testing with an apparent edge over Mercedes but has been muted in the first three grands prix, while its rival has claimed a trio of one-two finishes. 

It has been suggested by ex-Mercedes driver and 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg that Ferrari’s aerodynamic philosophy is compromising cornering performance too much in pursuit of more straightline speed. 

After admitting he did not have a car he was happy with in the most recent Chinese Grand Prix, Vettel said Ferrari must quickly decide what it wants to do with its SF90. 

“We have a very strong car, there’s nothing wrong with it, but I think we’re not able to yet put it in the window,” said Vettel, who picked up his first podium finish of the season in China. “Especially for myself, here and there. 

“I’m not entirely happy yet compared to where we started off. Obviously the three tracks we’ve been to now are quite different. The conditions we had are different. But I think we start to see a sort of pattern and, especially throughout a grand prix distance, understand what we need, what I need, to really unlock this car. 

“These couple of weeks and the next weeks will be very important for us to understand where we need to go in the next months.”

Ferrari and Mercedes have adopted different front-wing solutions to F1’s new-for-2019 aerodynamic rules. However, it is the overall aero performance of each car – with Mercedes superior in the corners and Ferrari quicker down the straights – that has influenced the first three races of the season. 

Read also:

Ferrari toiled in Australia as Mercedes dominated, but had the edge in Bahrain before its race imploded. In China, Mercedes had the quicker package but Ferrari was not as far off the pace as in the season opener. 

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto believes the competitive edge will continue to fluctuate based on different circuits. 

“Australia has been certainly an exception, where the difference was very, very high and very big,” he added. “Otherwise I think between Barcelona [in pre-season testing], Bahrain, in China, the other difference was a few tenths. 

“That's what you expect between two cars which are both very strong and very similar in some respects. 

“We know where are the limits of our car, and these limits might be emphasised in some circuits compared to others. 

“The key will be to develop the car as such that we are making it even stronger in the future.”

Additional reporting by Roberto Chinchero

shares
comments
Russell gets why Red Bull juniors drive at "120 percent"

Previous article

Russell gets why Red Bull juniors drive at "120 percent"

Next article

Binotto: Schumacher Jr's approach "very similar" to Michael

Binotto: Schumacher Jr's approach "very similar" to Michael
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Sebastian Vettel
Teams Ferrari
Author Scott Mitchell
How F1's street track return can offer Verstappen redemption Prime

How F1's street track return can offer Verstappen redemption

Red Bull has failed to capitalise on having the best car in the opening rounds. BEN EDWARDS thinks change is around the corner.

The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke Prime

The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke

Pierre Gasly has driven superbly since demotion from Red Bull in 2019, but the team formerly known as Toro Rosso has come on strong too – building a car that can often challenge Ferrari and McLaren. Here Gasly reveals to ALEX KALINAUCKAS how AlphaTauri has given him the tools needed to rebuild his reputation

Formula 1
May 17, 2021
Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Prime

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to Stuart Codling, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion.

Formula 1
May 15, 2021
How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean? Prime

How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But how long will their battle remain clean? Jonathan Noble ponders that exact point

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021