Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Red Bull Ring, 2020

“Bad sign” for Ferrari if crucial upgrade doesn’t work – Leclerc

2020 F1 season

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Charles Leclerc says it will be a “bad sign” for Ferrari if the upgrade package they have brought for this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix doesn’t work as intended.

Last week the team said it would introduce a major aerodynamic upgrade in time for the Hungarian Grand Prix. However at least part of that has been brought forward to this weekend’s second race at the Red Bull Ring.

Ferrari had a poor start to the season last week, lapping the 63-second course over nine-tenths of a second than they did last year. Leclerc, who took advantage of a hectic race to finish second, doubts the upgrade will be sufficient to put them back on terms with the front-runners on pure pace.

“We are bringing some updates on the car. We don’t know how much we will gain and if that will put us in contention for the podium but realistically it’s going to be very difficult because Red Bull and Mercedes are very quick.”

Ferrari has said the real-world performance of its SF1000 has not correlated with its simulations. Leclerc says the first goal of the upgrade is to show they have addressed that problem.

“It will be important that these updates are working the proper way and that we make a step from that. This will show that we’ve been working in the right direction.

“If not, then it will be a bad sign. But I am confident that the updates will bring some performance into the car. How much, it’s still to be told on track. But let’s see.”

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The team is fortunate to be able to race at the same venue in consecutive weeks, said Leclerc’s team mate Sebastian Vettel, which will help them assess what gains they have made with their new package.

“It’s a massive opportunity for us to have the race held in exactly the same place,” he said. “So I hope we will get some answers.”

Vettel said the team has also scrutinised his troubled run in Sunday’s race, where he spun on his way to 10th place.

“We had a close look to our race, my race performance in particular, which was off compared to the weekend so far up to that point. We have found a couple of things.

“It’s hard to say how much of a difference those things were making: I had an issue with the brake, maybe something with the damping of the car. Obviously I’m excited about getting back on track and see how the car feels.

“I’ll have a very good memory, first of all a good idea of how it should feel, secondly a good memory of how it used to feel when everything was right and how it felt then in the race. So obviously tomorrow would be an important day for us in that regard. But also, as we mentioned previously, in regards to the upgrade to see if everything’s bringing the step that we expected.”

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2020 F1 season

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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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  • 15 comments on ““Bad sign” for Ferrari if crucial upgrade doesn’t work – Leclerc”

    1. Bit of an understatement that. It would get really close to making this season, and possibly the next too, a write-off if that big update does not deliver the goods. It would mean Ferrari are pretty much clueless as to what direction to take.

    2. It’s really mind-boggling how the team with such facilities and resources can produce such a backward car – and the excuse with a loss of power is invalid, with so much money you simply have to radically rework what you have (aerodynamically) so it could work. One of the pundits I am following said it nicely, everyone is afraid to change anything at Ferrari, all of them in that giant corporate are afraid to take at least a bit of responsibility. With such an approach, I don’t see their 2022 and onward seasons as something promising.

      1. Honestly, guys, let’s bet. Will Ferrari wait more than twenty years for their next title? Under current circumstances, I see even McLaren with a better trajectory and thus better prospects than them.

        1. Yes, the Schumacher era was an aberration due to them importing a management team and testing bespoke Bridgestone tyres until they found the correct compound; I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this site that Ferrari don’t seem to innovate.

          I don’t think it was politically expedient for McLaren to win the 2007 Driver’s Championship.

          1. I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this site that Ferrari don’t seem to innovate.

            Since the 2017 regulations change, Ferrari has come up with many innovations such as the novel sidepods design that subsequently set the trend for the sidepods design among all the teams, bargeboards, outwash front wing…

            1. Yeah some people say things to say things, whist @pironitheprovocateur has offered a point about people being afraid to speak up which offers a perspective I hadn’t thought of as a Ferrari fan
              Others just say things to say things

    3. If true the cost caps might actually help Ferrari become a better, more nimble race car development company.

      1. They would first have to learn where to put their efforts into

    4. why did they pass the freeze?

    5. …but realistically it’s going to be very difficult because Red Bull and Mercedes are very quick.

      It’s probably a bit too soon to be thinking about whether this is good or bad, but if Ferrari do continue having to compete with the midfield for the rest of this year then I don’t see that as a bad sign, I will see it as a sign the midfield is catching up to the big three. Hopefully we are starting to see the fruit of all the rule changes that are meant to produce closer racing.

    6. If the car was 9 tenths slower than last year, why don’t they scrap the 2020 car and go back to the 2019 car?

      1. Simple answer … different engine!

      2. As ,@tenerifeman mentions, their 2019 engine is the largest part of what is missing. The rest of their issues probably stem from making up for that loss of power.
        And their 2019 engine wouldn’t be legal to race this season

        1. not that it was actually legal last year, the FIA just couldn’t prove it wasn’t which is why they added those new sensors for this year.

    7. Stupid question but i got to ask : I know there is a chassis freeze between the 2020 & 2021 seasons, so teams can’t bring a new car to next year’s testing & races etc…, but could Ferrari just bring a B-spec SF1000 this year at some point…if they found the fundamental problem that is wrong with their chassis and if the small upgrades don’t fix it?

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