Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Circuit of the Americas, 2019

Ferrari still seeking explanation for poor Austin performance

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In the round-up: Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says they still haven’t got to the bottom of the reasons for their very poor pace at the Circuit of the Americas.

What they say

Binotto was asked why Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc were more competitive at Interlagos after struggling at the previous round:

[Brazil] was similar to a Mexico situation, the previous races. We are still lacking a bit of pace in the race, not much, but certainly what’s required to make sure that we stay ahead.

I think our race was certainly not bad. Sebastian was a comfortable third, was faster than a Mercedes, Bottas, and another Red Bull which is Albon. Charles, from 14th, would have been on the podium eventually. So I think the race certainly was OK.

Now Austin has been certainly an exception so far. A bad race for us, not in continuity with all the others. What happened there not too clear yet to us. But certainly the car balance was not right. The drivers got in the race difficulty in putting energy into the tyres on the lap. So it’s again set-up/tyres related.

We had some actions from there, but that’s something we are [keeping] within the team, a specific car situation.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Was Gasly’s problem at Red Bull really “pressure”, as Christian Horner says?

Apparently the operating window for the Red Bull is very narrow, its a thoroughbred, whereas you can hustle the Toro Rosso and it wont complain too much. The Red Bull will give you more if you get it in that window but it takes exacting handling.

I think the pressure thing is over done. F1 is pressure, if he messed up at Toro Rosso he is out of F1. That is big pressure also.
Tony Mansell

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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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16 comments on “Ferrari still seeking explanation for poor Austin performance”

  1. I grew up not liking McLaren (ir used to be Ferrari’s main rival) but nowadays it’s no longer the case. Don’t know if that’s because of their pilots (quite likeable both of them), car color (that orange is sick), social media, but I enjoy when they get good results.

    1. I’m a long time McLaren die-hard but I understand why they were disliked by many. They were the main rival to Ferrari for a long time (a fan favourite), with a clinical corporate culture under Dennis and Whitmarsh (and, to an extent, Mercedes) along with drab colours and super serious drivers that put many people off. However, in the last decade Ferrari has become more corporate and dull, with super serious drivers and a media allergy (which is improving, granted). Meanwhile at McLaren, with Ron Dennis leaving and years of struggle having checked their old Hubris they’ve created a more youthful, vibrant, passionate vibe in the team, helped along massively by how the drivers interact with the media along with the switch from dull liveries to the striking Papaya. It really is a new era.

      1. +1. Hopefully next year Renault gives him a decent PU so they can be in the mix for podiums or victories.

        1. Agree with both of you fully

      2. Love the papaya but I wouldn’t say the old red and chrome vodafone livery was dull. Was one on my favourites!

        1. To be honest, I liked it myself. But I did hear people say it was very serious looking. Which is fine as they were winning races and fighting for the championship. Papaya, along with the branding, seems more fun.

      3. @selbbin Nicely argued.

  2. Ferrari being Ferrari, they will know the answer to Austin issues by next year’s summer break.

    1. And by the time US GP rolls on they would have forgotten the answer.

    2. Notice the phrases that Binotto employs, They are the words of a defeated man. He is pretty happy being in front of Bottas and Albon.

  3. I thoroughly agree with the COTD. Yes, there is more pressure for success at Red Bull Racing than there is at Toro Rosso, but in the end, it’s worth it. He can’t stay at STR forever, so unless he gets a re-promotion to the senior team, he has to leave the Red Bull group for good to have a chance in getting back to a winning team. The RB15 indeed has seemed to have a narrower operating-window than the STR14, but still, Albon took less time to get used to the car than Gasly did, which could mean that his driving-style is more aligned with that of Max, which should also bode well for next season.

    ”Charles, from 14th, would have been on the podium eventually. So I think the race certainly was OK.”
    – He would’ve had to get past Albon, though, and that wouldn’t have necessarily been a given.

    The Mclaren-tweet, though.

  4. Normally not posting – just reading. However – on the subject of McLaren – I have to say that I’m also taking to the team. During the Ron Dennis era I really got to hate the team, the Ron-speak really threw me off. I’ll give him that he took the company to a completely different level. Being a Ferrari “fan” (as hard as that might be…) I just couldn’t stand hearing from Ron. But over the last “few” years I started feeling bad for the team, completely loose their way. The timing of their Honda adventure was terrible, I understand that they tried, but clash of McLaren and Honda cultures really didn’t work. And now RedBull is harvesting the result of the seeds planted by McLaren. The amount of know-how and skill never did translate into results. Now they seem to be finding their way back and have shed a bit of the dull image. Driver pairing is quite OK, they’re on their way back by putting in the hard work.

    The video posted on Twitter really made me crack up. Full marks for self ironi.

  5. That comment from Binotto…”Charles would have been on the podium”….

    It says a lot. Inside his head that phrase ended like “if Seb was the experienced and calm 4x WDC he should be”.

    But instead he finished it with “eventually”. Honestly… Obviously…(something in German)…

  6. Has McLaren won a championship?

    Is a 3rd place behind a Toro Rosso justification for so much celebration?

    Yes, I sound loke Ron Dennis, but feels bit wrong doesn’t it?

    1. After the last 5 or so years of hell, F yeah!

  7. you must be fun at parties.

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