Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Singapore, 2019

Ferrari tuned car for one-lap pace in Singapore – Wolff

2019 Singapore Grand Prix

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Ferrari achieved its surprise performance in the Singapore Grand Prix by optimising its car for maximum pace over a single lap in qualifying, Mercedes team principle Toto Wolff believes.

Mercedes were surprised by their rivals’ performance in Singapore, a track which was not expected to suit the SF-90. Although Ferrari added some new parts to its car, Wolff suspects they sacrificed more of their race stint performance to improve their pace over a single lap.

“I think this is not about upgrades,” said Wolff. “This is about doing the best out of your package.

“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. Overall it’s about making the best out of your package and I think we had a package capable for pole. We had an opportunity today to win. We made too many mistakes, too many opportunities lost and we are very aware about it.”

Wolff said focusing on Ferrari’s upgrades would be an “easy story” but their successful weekend was down to “having a strong package overall and getting things right.”

“They tuned their car for one lap, which was powerful [on Saturday]”, he explained. “You could see that they were nowhere in race pace but very quick from the get-go.

“If we would have had less Safety Cars – ‘would have’, I guess you need to expect Safety Cars around here – I think the race rolling, we would have had a good car at the end and maybe even an opportunity to even win the race. But it wasn’t the right strategy today, it wasn’t the right calls.”

Mercedes were “angry” with themselves following their Singapore defeat, Wolff admitted.

“We are all angry and we just had a little get-together with the engineers and the drivers and there is a general feeling of ‘we got it wrong’. We got it so wrong this weekend. But it doesn’t mean that this is having a long-term impact on us.”

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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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26 comments on “Ferrari tuned car for one-lap pace in Singapore – Wolff”

  1. I love when Toto becomes an expert in car setup theories. He cannot help his team win but knows exactly why the other did so. What a amusing guy!?

    1. I’m sure he helped this team win many times in the past few years. you can’t win them all…

    2. Yea, it’s not like he’s a team boss with a pool of technical analysts informing his opinions.

      1. Yea, it’s not like he’s a team boss with a pool of technical analysts informing his opinions.

        Or used to race himself or anything.

        Boomerang you need to get back to the circus.

        1. Hahaha! “Back to the circus”! Problem is, he keeps coming back. :Op

          1. Ahaha, so true.

  2. Too be fair that is what a good team leader should be. Seeing your mistakes and ‘guessing’ what the others did.

    1. Exactly, and admitting fault for under-performing, others could learn from his attitude tbh.

  3. In fairness, Ferrari were fast when it mattered on the Sunday too. Vettel boxed, then drove fast enough to force Hamilton to stay out. Hamilton then stayed out so long Bottas had to compromise his own race to let Hamilton come out ahead. All in all, Ferrari’s good strategy forced Hamilton’s poor strategy.

    1. Yep – well done Ferrari – even a broke clock tells the right time once a day.

      1. Yer half-right. It hits the right time twice a day.
        If I were a true antagonistic contrarian, would it be right to say you were twice as wrong?
        Ferrari won the race using the tools they had …. in the right way. Kudos to them

        1. No, you’re wrong. It’s a modern clock. Not those wall clocks of old that could only do 12 hours.

  4. Yes the race was funny that way. 10s off pace but then when it mattered Ferrari was there, pitstops, race restarts.

    Normally this is what Mercedes do, but this time they were so affraid of competition, they set their car up for long runs. Probably gaining 2-3 tenths per lap on long runs and loosing something tiny in quali.

    I mocked Wolff before the weekend when he cried about Ferrari pace and RedBull.. this time it turned out to be true. Bottas was nowhere and Hamilton was unable to respond to anything thrown at them.

    Singapore rewards compliant ride and softer setups. Something Mercedes are inherently not good at.

    Ferrari upgraded their dog of a car to something manageable. Impossible to say now what will happen for next race.

    1. Bottas was nowhere and Hamilton was unable to respond to anything thrown at them.

      But that’s not true, Hamilton maintained the gap to Leclerc and when Leclerc was asked to pull away he couldn’t, the undercut and Mercs terrible strategy ensured that Hamilton failed, not Hamilton himself.

    2. As every pundit has said, and the telemetry shows, if Mercedes had pitted when Ham wanted to, he would have come out ahead of Vettel and then gone on to win the race. Seb confirmed post race that Ham had the fastest car. Qually and good strategy won it for Ferrari, bad strategy lost it for Mercedes.
      I have noticed over the years from Vowles a tendency to give up position for better tyres later. Not something Ham seems comfortable with, or indeed seems that successful.

      1. I have noticed over the years from Vowles a tendency to give up position for better tyres later. Not something Ham seems comfortable with, or indeed seems that successful.

        It seemed to work in Hungary ;p. I think the decision in Singapore was more due to the fact the Mercedes seems to struggle more, especially with overheating, when back in the pack than other cars. Much like Red Bull back in 2010-2014 its very much optimised to run in clear air.

        1. Thats true. And after posting it I also thought of Silverstone; where Vowles was against going long; yet Ham made it work, and then stuck in the fastest lap on worn tyres. So what do I know lol.

          1. So what we are saying is ignore Vowles and do what Ham says?

          2. definitely!

  5. Given the characteristics of Singapore one wonders why the other contenders also weren’t focusing on single lap pace.
    Qualifying in Singapore, like Monaco is king. Sounds like some teams were asleep.
    Well done to Ferrari for getting it right and then controlling the pace.
    Given how slow they were, a bigger surprise was that no one, not even Max made a serious attempt to overtake when it was plain they had the pace.

    1. “Qualifying in Singapore, like Monaco is king.”
      Gabby Toto will learn that lesson in the next class. Please don’t make the boy shy.

  6. “Mercedes were “angry” with themselves following their Singapore defeat”
    Mercedes need to take a chill pill or 2 ;)

  7. This just a bad cover for their bad tactical management in the last race from Toto. Anyone who interested with motorsports knows that you can not get a huge advantage just setting up a car for qualification trim. The gain you get will not be over 0,2sec in best conditions. That gain usually cost tire wear and that’s another strange excuse for Mercedes as they are much better in that front than Ferrari. Also, the huge power advantage of Ferrari is another bad cover used by Mercedes as it is not as big as they trying to mock media.

  8. Toto as always shoulders the blame fair & square.
    As a dyed in the wool Merc FanBoy! Bring on the rest of the season!

  9. Isn’t that Mercedes used this strategy on year 2017 when they still leading on the PU power? I remembered frequently Mercedes secured pole, come race day Ferrari always the faster car but less chances of overtaking the front Mercedes with supreme straight-line speed. This is now the reversed approach I see. It’s true with massive horsepower advantage you could employ this approach with success!

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