Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2019

Spa and Monza to be “very strong” for Ferrari as they seek first win

2019 F1 season

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The first two rounds of the championship after Formula 1’s summer break are expected to offer Ferrari their best and potentially last realistic chances to win a race this year.

While the team enjoys arguably the best power unit in F1, its SF90 hasn’t been a match for Mercedes. The car has been strongest at tracks which reward strong engine performance – notably Bahrain, Baku and Montreal – but the team failed to convert any of those opportunities into victories.

The upcoming two rounds take place at two of the most power-sensitive circuits on the calendar: Spa-Francorchamps and Monza, both of which boast long straights. The pressure on Ferrari to win their home race will be especially strong, particularly if they fail to win in Belgium.

Ferrari finished a minute behind their rivals in Hungary. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff described the Hungaroring as “a track that probably doesn’t suit them very well”, but predicted they will be more competitive next time out.

“They have a very strong engine and less drag and that’s why we will see a very strong Ferrari in Spa and in Monza,” he said.

Ferrari also has to contend with the improving form of Red Bull. They have taken two wins and a pole position in the last four races and are increasingly a threat to Ferrari’s second place in the championship.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto was keen to play down expectations ahead of the two races, but admitted the upcoming tracks should bring out the best in their car.

“It’s more power sensitive so we should certainly be more competitive there. But there is nothing which is given.

“Our competitors are all very strong and we will try to challenge ourselves. I think the situation will be different to Budapest, certainly, and we’ll try to prepare ourself to the best to at least try to see the first victory.”

If the team fails to win either of the next two races it may not have a better opportunity for the rest of the year, as few power-sensitive circuits appear on the schedule after Monza.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 19 comments on “Spa and Monza to be “very strong” for Ferrari as they seek first win”

    1. They WILL find a way to screw it up…

      1. @losd Indeed. I was about the post something very similar, but no need anymore, LOL.

      2. That is the interesting prospect for viewers how much this team is going to shoot its foot.

        1. Naysayers use to say Merc were only winning due to their superior enngine. But Ferrari have had the best engine since 2018 & they still can’t string together a decent title run….

          1. It wasnt just the superior PU, in both those years(17 and 18) they had far superior car(atleast in 1st half, something Alonso never was delivered by the Laggards at Ferrari) compared to Mercs. Whether it was failure of driver or strategy or engineers they lost championship to Mercs by the margin that can be defined as laughable at best.

      3. Agree. Probably pole and second to mess up in the race.

    2. And it looks stays a dry Spa so it’s looking great for Ferrari. Only the temp is more going Mercedes way.

    3. I hope they give up the 1st/2nd driver nonsense and build a strategy so any of the two can win.
      Vettel’s title bid is pretty much off, so maybe we could see him holding a Mercedes while Leclerc disappears in the distance, If the strategy calls for It.
      Hard to see that happening, I know. But that’s how Mercedes secure some of their wins in tracks where Ferrari seemed stronger.
      Go for the win, deal with multi-21 later.

      1. Vettel’s title bid is pretty much off, so maybe we could see him holding a Mercedes while Leclerc disappears in the distance, If the strategy calls for It.

        Or vice versa, since… you know… Charles could be behind.

    4. To be honest if they don’t win either Spa/Monza they might as well throw the whole season in the bin.

    5. Not so sure. I will believe it when i see it.

      My money is on another Verstappen Hamilton battle for the win.

      1. proud_asturian
        27th August 2019, 12:36

        a fool and their money are easily parted then.

        1. His money is very safe.

        2. Then he has nothing to worry about.

    6. With how that car has been this season, ‘expected to be strong’ hasn’t translated.

      Of the previous three mentioned as suiting Ferrari. Baku looked like it should have been a strong race for them, in reality it didn’t turn out like that. Ignoring Leclerc’s crash and resultant starting position, Vettel should have been on the front row at least, but he wasn’t and was never any threat to the Merc’s the entire race. That sunday, it actually felt like he was just ‘phoning it in’, doing the minimum to be third, but making no effort to threaten the Merc’s. Whether that was down to him or a car that was not delivering the expected performance, I can’t tell you.

      Bahrain and Canada, Ferrari were strong. Well, one car in each race was. Vettel cost himself a lot at Bahrain and Leclerc struggled at Canada. But the win eluded them, an engine issue at Bahrain and another error by Vettel at Canada.

      Austria was another strong one for them, but more down to the abnormally high temperatures neutralizing the Mercs than the track itself. That could have been a win, but I honestly think that this year bad starts just charge up Verstappen to the point where it would probably take a literal act of god to stop him when he’s on a run like that.

      It’s also worth noting that tracks last year where Ferrari ‘were expected to be strong’ were often anything but. Of Spa and Monza, Spa was a good one for them, the Ferrari working better than the Merc and allowing Vettel to take the lead from Hamilton and the restart and own the race thereafter. Monza also looked strong as confirmed by the front row lockout, but Vettel’s error cost him big and the team too, because with Vettel struggling back up through the order, Kimi was a sitting duck for the Merc’s to employ tactics to have Bottas hold him up and put him in Hamilton’s sights. Add the high tyre deg Kimi struggled with and it went away from them.

      And let’s not forget Singapore, a track where Ferrari have been stronger the last couple of year, but have on race day failed to deliver, the first corner crash up wiping them out in 2017 along with Verstappen and Alonso and last year, Vettel was left first in Hamilton’s dust -let’s not forget Hamilton’s steller Qualifying either- and then subsequently by Verstappen once the Red Bull driver had passed him.

      And as a final note, let’s not forget the whole shedload of strategy errors and driver mistakes that have marred Ferrari’s campaigns the last two and a half years. The car could literally be the best car on the grid, but unless they sort themselves out in other areas, the wins will continue to elude them.

      I guess what I’m saying is that I’ll believe Ferrari are ‘strongest at a track’ when it’s actually demonstrated on the track on the only day that really counts. Expecting just leads to disappointment when Ferrari fails to deliver due to reliability, driver error, strategy choices that make no sense and just a complete lack of the expected performance.

      The way things are going, they’ll struggle to hold 2nd in the constructors if Albon does deliver at Red Bull alongside what has been a completely new Verstappen this year. 1st has definitely gone and the drivers championship becomes an even greater impossibility with each race.

      1. Fair comment and I would only add I see no reason why Mercedes won’t also be very strong at these races. Hopefully Max too but as you say we’ll just have to see on the day.

    7. 3rd and 4th or 3rd and 5th..

    8. A few years ago Ant Davidson ran a piece dispelling the myth of Spa as a “power track” – reasoning that there was much more time to be gained in sector 2 and the start of 3 than in the straights. So why is and various other outlets now stating otherwise? I can only figure it’s false hype?

      I even changed my setups to give more wing in the F1 games and sure enough I was setting faster times than with skinny wings at Spa lol.

      Monza should definitely be Ferrari all the way though i’d imagine.

    9. Interesting. Good post.

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