Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Red Bull Ring, 2020

All three Ferrari-powered teams slower by up to 1.1 seconds in Austria

Lap time watch: 2020 Austrian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel’s failure to reach Q3 in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix was the most obvious sign of how much Ferrari are struggling this weekend.

But it isn’t just the factory team which is having trouble. All three Ferrari-powered cars are slower at this circuit than they were 12 months ago, by between 0.6 and 1.1 seconds.

Charles Leclerc took pole position for this race last year with a fastest lap of 1’03.003. This year he was the only Ferrari-powered car in Q3, and his best time of 1’03.923 was the best part of a second slow.

Both Ferrari customers also had a poor afternoon. Alfa Romeo got both their cars into Q3 12 months ago, this year they were the slowest team of all, Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi both being out-qualified by George Russell’s Williams.

One of the Haas-Ferraris also went out in Q1. The other, driven by Romain Grosjean, scraped into Q2, got no further, and ended up six tenths of a second six of their 2019 best.

The difficulties suffered by all three Ferrari-powered teams suggests the team has lost ground to its rivals in power unit development. Ferrari’s V6 hybrid turbo was scrutinised closely by the FIA last year, resulting in a private settlement between the two which led to the introduction of new rules governing how teams may operate their power units.

Before the race weekend began, Ferrari admitted their SF1000 is not as competitive as last year’s car. Yesterday the drivers described various handling and grip deficiencies on their new car, and much has been said about its ‘draggy’ qualities. But the results of the first qualifying session of the year suggest the power unit is also a part of their problem.

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2020 Austrian Grand Prix

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Author information

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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35 comments on “All three Ferrari-powered teams slower by up to 1.1 seconds in Austria”

  1. Yikes. Even Williams have improved this year.

    1. Is it really surprising that Williams should have gained time?

      With their 2019 car being so flawed, having a reasonable platform for 2020 means they can focus their resources on developing the car and, if nothing else, more predictable handling will make it easier for the drivers to get more out of the car.

  2. The difficulties suffered by all three Ferrari-powered teams suggests the team has lost ground to its rivals in power unit development. Ferrari’s V6 hybrid turbo was scrutinised closely by the FIA last year, resulting in a private settlement between the two which led to the introduction of new rules governing how teams may operate their power units.

    According to Jean Todt everything was perfectly fine with them: FIA and Ferrari talked, and settled everything in non-disclosure agreement. No fines, no disqualifications, nothing.
    We must eat this digestion matter and be happy.

    1. @dallein There was a technical directive on the PU side. Binotto spoke at lenght on the challenges of making their PU competitive for this season, and he was pretty clear that the directive hinders their PU.
      I’m slightly surprised times did not get much quicker this year, even RB went slower. Mercedes went faster partly because they are not suffering from last years reliability problems and shortage of pu elements they had this time last year.
      No doubt Ferrari was hindered more than their rivals, slow times in Austria. And Ferrari was 10 kph slower than Sauber, so drag is a factor as well.

  3. You get that when you stop cheating

    1. it was not a free choice.. they did not stop.. They were stopped!

    2. A lot of people attacked Max for speaking the truth and FIA allowed Ferrari to cover it up.

    3. Ah well at least they got to keep their FIA bonuses for all this points they got competing with an illegal car…

  4. Surprisingly no blame or accountability lies with Binotto.

  5. Ferrari is nothing without Rory Byrne

  6. Sonny Crockett
    4th July 2020, 16:40

    I’m gonna say it:

    They cheated throughout 2019. Now they can’t cheat their real pace is being revealed and it’s not good.

    1. In the same way, I`m gonna say it:
      You are lying. Present the proofs of what you are saying, otherwise we will have only one truth, that you are lying and that is not a good thing.


        @trindade it’s really hard to read the articles and not come to the conclusion they were cheating. I mean, REALLY hard. I’m not knocking them for it, you gotta push the rules. But accusing people of lying for suggesting it is a bit odd. It’s a damning storyline.

        1. I’m sorry, @gongtong, but I can’t agree.
          In addition to mixing, speaking first of “conclusion” and then of “suggestion”, in both cases, I understand that reading the articles can only objectively have that conclusion with the presentation of evidence.
          It is precisely the absence of factual evidence that prevents the FIA from concluding “there was no clear breach of regulations”, otherwise “they would have been disqualified”.
          As you suggest, “push the rules”, as all teams in F1 have always done and will do. I agree.
          Reading the conclusion put as a suggestion that Sonny Crockett made, I just end by concluding, suggesting, that he is lying until the moment he presents proofs.
          It’s that simple.

          1. Quite the mental gymnastics for something that “It’s that simple” LOL

          2. As we often say here, if there’s a cat tail protruding from the couch pillows, it’s because there’s a cat hidden in there.

            You can theorize all you want which objects might just happen to look like cat tails, but…

          3. @trindade, you can disagree all you like, and that’s fine. Personally I think it’s pretty straightforward. I mean, I have to go to flat-earth levels of ridiculousness to arrive at the conclusion that “Ferrari did nothing wrong, so came to a secret agreement with the governing body to conceal their innocence”.

            I’m just saying that calling somebody else a liar because they can’t categorically prove their point is a bit silly, when all logic suggests it’s the most likely explanation. I’m not saying your idea is impossible. Just a bit mad.

          4. Especially silly when we ALL want to see the proof. But the team in question has been allowed to withhold it. Which is convenient.

          5. @trindade you have to admit that people are going to find it peculiar that Ferrari have managed to produce a 2020 car that, in qualifying trim, is not only 0.92s slower than their 2019 car, it is also 0.46s slower than their 2018 car.

            In fact, all three Ferrari powered teams have set times that are slower than what they managed to do back in 2018 as well – Haas went from a 1m03.89s best lap in 2018 to 1m04.69s in 2020, and Sauber went from a 1m04.98s lap to 1m05.18s lap time.

      2. It’s really hard to avoid the conclusion that they were cheating, just reading everything that the FIA has published, and particularly the changes they made to the fuel flow monitoring to defeat the trick that Ferrari were using.

        I can’t really fault the FIA; the workaround that Ferrari found wasn’t detectable with the PU switched off, because the effect didn’t become visible until it was running.

  7. 2014 all over again?

  8. Can anyone explain why Red Bull are slower than last year?

    Interestingly, with the exception of the pink Mercedes and Williams, most teams haven’t made that much progress. The pole time was not even one tenth of a second faster than last year, which surprises me. Back then, Ferrari of course likely cheated, but even with one year of extra engine and aerodynamic development, as well as the DAS system, Mercedes only managed to improve their fastest lap-time by 0.3 seconds.

    By the way, if Haas and Alfa Romeo really benefited from an unfair engine advantage last year, their chassis must have been horribly bad…

    1. Colder weather now?

    2. Much cooler this year

      1. Im pretty sure haas were very slow on the straights last year and this years alfa is one of the fastest cars on the straights… it does not look good indeed but unless the speed data is analysed we cannot be sure that ferrari has lost a lot of power….

    3. @f1infigures I suspect a fair amount of it is down to the fact that, given so much of the circuit is made up of straights, the relative gain you might make from being able to corner fractionally faster than last year will be fairly limited – furthermore, the comparatively short lap length means that, proportionally, a difference of 0.3s would equate to a larger difference at other circuits.

  9. I suspect the DAS is more useful on long runs for tyre management, which may explain Mercedes modest improvement.

    Can’t help a smug grin at Ferrari’s fortunes after last year’s investigation and cover up.

  10. I still don’t understand why the Alfas are so slow compared to last year.
    They are among the fastest on the straights (4th and 6th through the speed trap, 1st and 3rd at the S1-timing beam), which means there can’t be that much wrong with the Ferrari PU. Their chassis must be a complete failure.
    Ferrari seems to be the complete opposite: they’re far too draggy on the straights (Leclerc lost 0.5 sec in S1 alone) and can’t make it up on the corners
    Their chassis seems to be quite good, better than McLaren and RP, but slightly behind RB.

    The Hungaroring should suit the Ferrari better than the Red Bull Ring does and with their big upgrade package coming in, it should pull them clear of the midfield or even RB (on high-downforce tracks, while I still expect them to struggle on highspeed tracks).

    1. Ferrari seems to be the complete opposite: they’re far too draggy on the straights (Leclerc lost 0.5 sec in S1 alone) and can’t make it up on the corners
      Their chassis seems to be quite good, better than McLaren and RP

      With all respect, how on earth did you come to this conclusion? A chassis that produces far too much drag and not enough downforce (or other cornering ability) to make up for it, is a dreadful chassis. Having poor top speed and being average in the corners does not make it really good on high downforce tracks

  11. Did all three teams lose the time on the straights? Last year Alfa Romeo and Haas were slow already, and was clearly attributed to poor aerodynamics, not the PU. As mentioned, Ferrari knows they have massive drag issues with their concept and was expected to drop performance after their fuel flow manipulations were halted. As far as I’ve seen, the other teams didn’t have this advantage.

    So the suggestion that the cause is predominantly PU related in this article looks very preliminary to me. A bit more research to back it up maybe?

    1. @br444m
      Ferrari discovered a serious gearbox issue (torsional stiffness) in pre season testing and to reduce its effect they have alter their suspension geometry which caused the car to understeer. The issue is believed to be fixed by the first major upgrade in the Hungarian GP, according to Binotto Ferrari have to adapt accordingly development wise that’s why they lagged behind schedule because the first major upgrade package was expected to be brought in the first race.

      Ferrari do supply the entire powertrain to both Haas & Alfa, they also supply suspension and other parts in the case of Haas. So the gearbox issue must have been inherited in Haas & Alfa cars and may have been amplified by the fact that such component was designed with the Ferrari rear packaging in mind.

      1. @tifoso1989 that’s some good info and analysis, interesting, thanks!

  12. Ferrari have gone from being in the top two teams, to fifth…..although their race pace should be better.
    Looking at the glum faces in their pits, Vettel should be glad he is leaving.

  13. It’s hilarious when you think about the massive impact Ferrari’s engine cheats had on their performance last year…and yet they were unable to mount a championship challenge. People might think 2020 will be the poorest Ferrari season in a while.. But without a doubt it was last year. This team is a joke. They’re unsporting, shady and downright cheats. It’s an absolute mystery to me how they even have a loyal fanbase.

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