Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Vettel encouraged by early signs of Ferrari downforce gain

2020 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel’s first impression of Ferrari’s new car is the team has made progress with its key goal of adding more downforce to the car.

When the SF1000 was launched team principal Mattia Binotto said the team had tried to “maximise the downforce level” of the new car. Vettel said after his first half-day in the car it was clear more downforce had been found.

“[Whether it’s] enough, we will see,” he said, “but it’s definitely a step up from last year.”

However Vettel said it’s too soon to judge whether Ferrari have made these gains without generating more drag. “It’s hard to tell,” he said. “Obviously, downforce does come with with drag. You try to find downforce with as little drag as possible, which I think we found as well.

“But I think it’s probably early to tell much more than that. It depends on a lot of things: How fast you are or you could be on the straights.”

The SF1000 has been described by the team as an extreme development of last year’s car, which won three races. “I had some laps and you feel very quickly the characteristic of the car,” said Vettel. “I think it is better in in some places, in other places I think there are some similarities, but I think it’s still very early days.

“We’ve plenty of stuff on the list still to go through for the next four days to try and see what the car’s doing, how it will respond to certain set-ups and windows where we use the car. We are still at the very beginning.

“Obviously we had a clear plan of what we want to achieve with this year’s car and I think it is going in that direction. But now I think it’s up to us to really explore the car back to front and and see how it responds on track.”

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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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9 comments on “Vettel encouraged by early signs of Ferrari downforce gain”

  1. I hope Ferrari changed the approach and is playing safe this week.

    Not seeing them anywhere near the top three is a concern. Ok, sandbagging and all, but do they have enough seconds in that bag? Times will still drop next week.

    And now they got caught by Mercedes playing trombone and have no idea of the gains it may bring.

    Hamilton just got a new wingman that can ruin strategies, the pink arrow. Verstappen can rely on three cars to help him on track.

    So, either Ferrari runs way up at the front, or they will be alone when the fight comes to pit stops and track position. And you need a good 0.5s/lap advantage to do that.

    Do they have it in the bag?

    1. Hamilton just got a new wingman that can ruin strategies, the pink arrow. Verstappen can rely on three cars to help him on track.

      I think you are severly overestimating Racing Point here. Their AMG F1 W10 may launch them ahead, but no team running a previous year top chassis has gone on to actually threaten the big teams in a season. Super Aguri’s RA106 did not do that, Sauber’s various versions of previous Ferraris didn’t do that, neither did Haas’s Ferraris. While Pérez/Stroll can certainly challenge for best of the rest, it’d take mayhem for them to actually threaten podiums or even wins.

      1. @klon I don’t believe RP-W10 will fight for the championship as well. But if their lap time is good enough, they may ruin pit stop strategies from Ferrari and RedBull. Albon got caught in that position a couple of times last year, not being able to pass for several laps (I guess it was a McLaren). There wasn’t enough speed deficit for it.

        My point is we have four RedBulls now, four Mercedes that can work as a team. If Alfa Sauber did not join the pack, Ferrari will have to rely on pure speed and whooping lap times to stay ahead.

      2. “Ruin strategies” does not mean actually challenging the team, merely hanging out in the slowest of the 3 top teams pit window can effectively hinder their race strategy.

      3. @klon You are correct but Ferrari used to year old cars for the start of many of their domination seasons, like 2002

  2. Dude, don’t do that. Don’t give us hope.

    1. There is no hope lol… Bottas did 1.15.7, with fastest lap ever 1.15.4 and this in practise.. trying to hold many things from the opponents .. with much time ahead for improvements…

      Case is closed for anyone is not a MB fan … i think this year i will watch Woman Cricket championship or something like that.

      1. I agree, with the speed they have shown on hard and soft tyres, the only question is by how much are the Mercs ahead cos they aren’t behind anyone else.

      2. You do realise that today Bottas in testing did that lap time on C5 tyres whereas the pole lap for the 2019 Spanish Grand Prix was done on a set of C3s, right?

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