Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Vettel: Final sector exposing Ferrari’s slow-corner weakness

2019 Spanish Grand Prix

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Ferrari’s poor performance in slower corners is being exposed in the final sector at the Circuit de Catalunya, says Sebastian Vettel.

Both Ferrari drivers lost around four-tenths of a second to the Mercedes pair through the last part of the lap, which includes a slow chicane.

Although the team has introduced an engine upgrade and new aerodynamic parts this weekend, Vettel says they are still being held back by the performance in slow corners.

“I think engine-wise we’re happy,” he said. “Obviously it’s Friday so a bit difficult to know what we are doing compared to other people, but overall happy.

“Car-wise I think we pout everything on the car that we expected to put on the car. Feeling-wise it’s a different story and I think it’s a fair picture that we haven’t been the quickest today.”

“It’s not the first time this year that we are losing in these sort of corners,” he added. “If it was easy we would just fix it. But currently we are working very hard and trying still to understand why we are losing out in these type of corners some times more than other times. We’ll see where we will be tomorrow.

“It’s not really traction I think it’s just overall grip in slow corners. Obviously slow corners can be quite nasty: if you don’t have the grip then you lose quite a lot of time.”

Vettel declared himself very happy with the car when he drove it for the first time in pre-season testing at the track. Although he believes the car has been made quicker since then, he says he still isn’t comfortable with its balance.

“The car is obviously a step forward we’ve been putting quite some pieces on the car and quite some performance of the car. In terms of feeling that’s I think what we struggle with, what I struggle with.

“Obviously had a very good impression in the first winter testing, not so good after that.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on “Vettel: Final sector exposing Ferrari’s slow-corner weakness”

  1. I guess that’s not going to bode well for Monaco either. Could it be 6 Mercedes 1-2s in a row?

    1. F1oSaurus (@)
      10th May 2019, 19:56

      @todfod Or perhaps they are sandbagging and it’s going to be a 1-2 for Ferrari :)

      1. @f1osaurus If this was 2018, it might very well have been the case, as last year, Ferrari were usually the team struggling in practice, only to get it together on Saturday. Based on 2019 so far though, I’m expecting a Mercedes pole by 0.8s.

    2. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
      11th May 2019, 5:29

      Red bull of often decently competative in Monaco. Maybe they might be able to spice things up

      1. @justarandomdutchguy

        I thought Red bull was also suffering from slow corner lack of grip… a similar problem to Ferraris. I think Max and Red Bull will be really competitive, but I don’t think they’ll go in to the race weekend as favourites, like they did last year. Red Bull honestly looks closer to the midfield than they do to Mercedes this season.

          1. ugh, forgot the closing bit of the link, oh well.

          2. @bosyber

            That’s a nice article man. Thanks for the share.

            Just as I thought, Red Bull and Ferrari lacking in slow to medium corners. Ferrari still has a slight advantage in high speed corners and on the straights. Red Bull seem quick in high speed, but are losing out because of Honda power on straights… just as Toro Rosso is.

            There’s just no way that Red Bull can overcome this kind of deficit on slow/medium corners as well as on the straights to be a contender on any circuit this season. I’m guessing this season is going to be a write off for Red Bull… similar to every season that Honda powered teams have had for the past 5 seasons.

            Max needs to get out of there asap. Maybe a Vettel – Verstappen swap for next season.

          3. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
            12th May 2019, 21:03

            Red Bull appears to be little worse of compared to Ferrari. Their Honda so far appears to be more reliable and no less competative than Renault.

          4. @justarandomdutchguy

            They’re not more reliable.. They’ve used 3 ICE on both Toro Rossos and one red bull already.. And it’s only race 5. They’re lesser reliable than Renault. They haven’t proven themselves to be any faster than Renault either. And we’ve already heard Max complain about the engine braking issues. So, all the signs still point to Honda being the worst power unit on the grid.. Despite all the nonsensical PR talk by Red bull.

          5. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
            12th May 2019, 21:25

            @Todfod. Whilst they may have used more units, at least we haven’t seen them go up in flames like Sainz’ Renault in Australia for example. Honda is the third best unit at best, but Renault isn’t good either. McLaren are doing well but the factory cars are nowhere.
            Toro Rosso is doing like they always do. That 4th in bahrain really last year looked good, but it was overly flattering. they finished 9th in the standings. They haven’t had great results yet but at least there’s been one in the points in 4/5 races.
            Honda isn’t great, but neither is Renault. Honda is improving. Renault isn’t.

    3. not necessarily, ferrari have always been poor in s3, at least since 2016. ferrari had some good monacos but this merc as seen in pre season, its agile and has the downforce for the high speed, this is probably their best car since 2014 as both drivers can use it, and in all types of tracks.

  2. @todfod – I sincerely hope not, at this GP.

    That said, one of Merc’s current 1-2s was a stroke of luck + opportunity, so who knows how Lady Luck might strike at a track the Mercs seem to have the upper hand. It wasn’t too long ago right here that two Silver Arrows graciously cleared the way for a young-un to pass through, showering him in carbon fibre like newlyweds covered in rice.

    1. Let this man speak!

    2. Sadly Merc has all the luck in the world. Not sure if it is all the money they spend that makes them so lucky or if they all sold their souls for so much luck.

    3. @phylyp

      Silver Arrows graciously cleared the way for a young-un to pass through, showering him in carbon fibre like newlyweds covered in rice

      That’s a really poetic description. I can imagine that scene in really slo-mo.

      You’re right.. there is the possibility that luck might not go Mercedes’ way just as it didn’t go Ferrari’s way at Bahrain… but in case of no unexpected problems, you’d have to admit Mercedes still look like favourites going in to the next 2 race weekends.

      1. you’d have to admit Mercedes still look like favourites

        @todfod – I agree: while luck is unpredictable, I too firmly believe you also make your own luck. And Mercedes are damn good at the latter. They’ve been honing their entire operation and polishing out every little weak point, and then we got Bottas 2.0 on top of all that.

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