Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Nurburgring, 2020

Ferrari’s qualifying pace “very strange” – Green

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In the round-up: Racing Point technical director Andrew Green is puzzled by Ferrari’s fluctuations in pace between Saturdays and Sundays.

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What they say

Green said qualifying pace is an area where Racing Point need to improve:

It is something we do, like a lot of teams, I’m sure; we spend a lot of time just making sure we get our Sunday afternoon car right and we do compromise our Saturday afternoon, if we have to, for our Sunday afternoon pace.

I think there is definitely something to look at in the way that other teams seem to be able to find pace in qualifying on a Saturday afternoon that we don’t seem to have, and I think a good example of that is Ferrari.

I don’t know where they get that pace from on a Saturday afternoon. But come Sunday, they’re a good half a second behind us, which is very strange.

It’s something we definitely are looking at. We’re always going to be a lot closer on a Saturday afternoon anyway, just because of the way things are but we do seem to, relatively speaking, move forward on a Sunday afternoon.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

DaveW wonders if Nico Hulkenberg might be the right driver to help fix Red Bull’s instability problems, given his help with the Racing Point suspension during his Silverstone substitution:

I’m sure he could give good advice to Red Bull on their apparently very “peaky” cars that only seem to suit Verstappen. The question is whether they would take it, because it gets them seconds and thirds right now. (I’m sure Gasly and Albon have given their own advice that is either ineffective or unheeded.)

My sense is that Newey has a history of creating cars that are not driver friendly and sort of on the edge, from his Leyton House March cars that had cockpits like iron maidens to the McLaren MP4-20/21 with the exhaust in the diffuser that would fly off the road in testing to the blown diffuser cars that even a driver like Webber could not really master. He’s a genius, but he seems to sometimes only build cars for other geniuses.

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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32 comments on “Ferrari’s qualifying pace “very strange” – Green”

  1. Ferrari is looking for ways to optimize their downforce with less drag, and maybe working out engine mappings to give more power on a single lap but they cant hide the dog on a race distancie. Good that they are finding something at least. RP have been consistently fast but their only podium this year was certainly without a shadow of doubt fortuitous, they cant squeeze yet all the might from their car at least on qualy, but they show a strong race pace with manageablr tyre deg.

    1. maybe a bit of that a load of leclerc.

      1. :D Considering how fast Vettel is, whatever Leclerc is doing must be amazing.

        Once the race started Vettel continued with his qualified pace.. meanwhile Leclerc had nothing close to qualifying pace.

        It is hard to copy such amazing driving. Leclerc must have hooked up tires and the track with amazing fashion. Or has something on the car Vettel does not.

        I am certain neither of Green’s drivers are Leclerc.

        1. Marcus Hardung
          15th October 2020, 9:17

          I did not compare vettel vs Leclerc in terms of delta qualy speed vs racespeed but always had the impression somethings goung on at Ferrari and obviously the Fia does not interfere.
          What,about this :
          Ferrari got caught with their PU operation being illegal .And they settled for something but refuse to
          disclose the settlement.
          Ferrari vowed to build an entirely new
          PU for next year (getting back to speed),effectively RULING out good results or improvements for this year .effectively Ferrari is on a sentencing
          campaign mandated by Fia this year .
          Now Vettel leaving , and obciously heavily critisizing Binotto for his wrongdoing internally with regard to PU illegal usage , he gets a fully conforming car all the time
          Charles on the other side is helped with some dose of what they had last year to keep him happy and Ferrari,just does it well dosed so nobody can complain and Leclerc keeps somewhat happy as his reputation is upheld.
          Vettel now very often says he has no explanation for his qualy troubles speaks for itself …ironicaly,Seb is half a second behind (in Qualy only),which us exactly the time loss attributed to the Ferrari PU power deficit ….looks a bit like Ferrari is playing games .

  2. If give SV or CL drive mercedes, they sure will win the WDC. Ferrari simply having worse car now a day.
    Even u let LH drive that ferrari also wouldnt make any change. Its their technical error, not driver error.

  3. Di Grassi should work with a 3d modeller to make a dream track for rFactor, I’d like to see how it races and sim-racing would be a perfect test bed for theories like this.

    1. Would be an interesting project – the people who make rFactor collaborated with Formula E to make some new tracks for the Race At Home Challenge so could definitely reach out to them. (I should probably in fact say this to Lucas himself. Anyway.)

    2. It’s weird though that he draws racing lines based on simple ‘biggest radius’ geometries, @skipgamer.
      This is way too simple and only somewhat valid for cars with the same braking and accelerating characteristics.

      1. @coldfly Formula E (Lucas’ primary series) does have cars with the same braking and accelerating characteristics. Given that, the fact that the corner is in isolation (proximity of other corners sometimes affects racing lines) and the unnatural flatness of the whole thing (sometimes this also affects racing line), simplistic racing lines work for the examples provided.

        As long as he remembers they won’t work for a full-circuit layout, especially in places with detectable geography…

    3. better yet use the concept on existing circuit

  4. Lewis’s ability to deliver victories, and then to repeat them over time, starting at the age of 21 and continuing now that he is 35, is no easy task. I know how much energy it took to win the title twice, and when I stopped racing in Formula 1 I knew it was the right moment – at 33 – so no one should think that what Lewis has done is simply a question of having the best car. It requires ability, fitness, application and focus to keep on winning, and clearly Lewis has found the way to do that.

    Worth repeating that quote, including the last line.

    1. (Mika Häkkinen)

  5. @david br i agree finding that fire within one self in this case Lewis to for such a long period of time has to be note worthy. To withstand the pressures of expectation year in and year out. Many would crumble few would stand the test

  6. A couple of notes from Mika Hakkinen’s Unibet-column: Firstly, Lewis started at 22 or in the year he turned 22, but close enough. More relevantly, the record for most wins in a single season is something Seb also has as he won 13 in 2013, so a shared record.

    Regarding the COTD: Maybe, maybe he could have an easier time compared to Gasly or Albon. Not a definite given, but a possibility.

    1. Lewis was 21 in Australia 2007, no mistake here

    2. Firstly, Lewis started at 22 or in the year he turned 22, but close enough.

      the year he turned 22.. so he was 21 then. Why this “remark” on a spot on message?

  7. I enjoyed Jamie Chadwick’s article. It’s such a pity they dropped W Series this year, but if they can get on the F1 programme next year that’ll be great for everyone I think.

  8. F1oSaurus (@)
    14th October 2020, 11:45

    It’s funny when they (in this case Green) say something is “strange” and then add a whole discourse on how it’s abundantly clear on why this is.

    Clearly Leclerc is focusing massively on Q3. He did the same thing in 2019. It works fine if the car is fast and overtaking is difficult.

    Bottas does exactly the same. To a lesser extent perhaps, but he need to “win” Q3 otherwise he will never beat Hamilton. Yet during the race his pace always suffers because of it.

    What I find strange is that he keeps getting away with it. Every time Leclerc gets an “above expected” Q3 result there are loads of people heralding him as one of the future greats because he put “that tractor so high up”. At some point it should be apparent that he’s sacrificing race pace for Q3?

    To be honest it probably doesn’t cost him that much either though. Maybe he could finish higher in the race if he used a more “normal” focus on Q3 and race, but it wouldn’t be much either. Plus he can pretend it’s just the car destroying the tyres rather than a poor race setup.

    1. The Red Baron
      14th October 2020, 13:24

      Leclerc has still been faster than Vettel in every race this season except for Hungary. The data doesn’t add upto the wall of text you’ve written.

    2. between seb and lec there is no difference but between cars, sure. ferrari do seem to get the tyres “in” quicker, we saw it in mugello, different cars seem to have different ideal stint lenghts. leclerc like max throws the car into the corners it seems to work great with these cars and tyres, seb is the opposite he drives the car with the throttle and it isn’t working.

      1. F1oSaurus (@)
        16th October 2020, 19:16

        Yeah it’s 5 sentences. Too much for a bird brain like yours I guess.

      2. F1oSaurus (@)
        16th October 2020, 19:17

        Ugh that was for The Red Bird Brain

        @peartreee Leclerc ruins his tyres in short time yes. Vettel goes longer, but drives at a snails pace. It’s both not great I guess.

    3. @f1osaurus
      Ferrari don’t have a choice, do they?! They simply have to get the car as high up on the grid as possible, to be able to score some points. Just look at how Seb’s races turned out compared to Charles’. Every weekend he’s fighting with Alfa, Haas and Williams and struggles to get into the Top 10, if there are no or just a few retirements.

      Charles can fight the car in qualy, but drops down in the races, because the car is nearly impossible to drive.
      If Ferrari were to focus more on race pace than on qualy pace, they would never make it into Q3 (in Vettel’s case Q2), start the races at the lower midfield, struggle to overtake slower cars, because of their inefficient aero and weak PU and end the races outside of the points.

      Their car (not just the PU) is just a mess and Ferrari know that. Getting as high up the grid as possible is the only way for them to score points, even if it’s just with one car.

      1. F1oSaurus (@)
        16th October 2020, 19:21

        @srga91 What’s the point if everybody easily overtakes them anyway?

        See if you put too much focus on Q3 the risk of high degradation is quite high. See Bottas. He ruined his tyres and then loses his P1 to Hamilton. Hamilton saw that he could just keep the pressure on a bit and Bottas was eating the tyres.

        Leclerc cannot drive a proper strategy with that Q3 setup of his, so what is the point?

        it’s often actually better to start from P11. Although that would require driving to a strategy and indeed I don’t see Leclerc pulling that off.

        So, perhaps it’s all that Leclerc is capable off. Just like it’s all Bottas can do too. It’s a poor way of racing though.

        1. @f1osaurus
          I don’t think the situations of Bottas and Leclerc are comparable. Bottas is driving the fastest and most driveable car on the grid, while Leclerc drives an underpowered car with a very nervous rear end.
          IMO Bottas’ issues on Sunday are not so much setup-related, but have more to do with the fact that Hamilton does a better job with tyre management than him.

          You don’t see Leclerc pulling off driving to a strategy?! Have you missed his drive at the Russian GP?! That was perfectly executed by him (just the crash with Stroll was avoidable). Not only did he finish in the points, but nearly a full minute ahead of his teammate.
          So far in his F1-career Leclerc didn’t have a car that has great race pace (neither last nor this year). While last year he had still deficits in tyre managment compared to Vettel, I think he has improved quite a bit this season. Although it can be difficult to judge, because the car this season is nothing like the one he had last season.

          Bottas on the other hand has no excuses for his lack of race pace compared to Hamilton. He simply needs to do a better job, if he ever wants to become world champion. It’s not down to his car, that’s for sure.

          1. F1oSaurus (@)
            17th October 2020, 14:53

            @srga91 Well they both need to be ahead of their team mate to be allowed to take the win. So they need to focus more on Q3. It makes perfect sense.

            You don’t see Leclerc pulling off driving to a strategy?!

            Yeah see, I’m talking in general. One example of where he drove well does not negate the dozens of races where he moves backwards.

  9. Ferrari are slower in the race because of their inefficient PU and inefficient aerial which is forcing them to carry much more fuel than its competitors. Probably as much as 15kg.

  10. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    14th October 2020, 16:52

    Lol, Racing point is pretty much saying what I’ve been saying which is the fact that the Ferrari especially Leclerc’s is being “turned on” in quali and also at some points in the race as it’s easily capable of podiums. Of course, the Ferrari car and engine combo is one of the fastest cars on track and are simply atoning for past sins under the FIA’s careful scrutiny this season.

    I’m sure the rest of the paddock shares the same concerns. On the other hand, Vettel is trying to make up a half second which is simply not possible.

  11. I suggest Green to ask FIA to put ten more sensors on the car and add 30 second penalty after every race…

  12. I honestly cannot disagree more with the COTD…
    The idea that Adrian Newey should somehow “dumb down” his car so that Albon can drive it is the most ridiculous thing.
    Fact is that Adrian Newey builds “genius cars” for genius drivers. This season, the RBR is capable of mixing it with the Mercedes in the hands of Max. This is because Max is a genius driver who can deliver the absolute potential of a car penned by a genius designer… They go hand in hand. A genius driver will deliver what a genius designer provides.

    In NASCAR, “fast is loose and loose is fast”
    In F1, Daniel Ricciardo recently said that Renault have “found comfort in the uncomfortable”. To be fast is to be on the edge. The very best deliver this!

    Ross Brawn tells a story of how he set up the car to be more difficult to drive at a test in France KNOWING it would give more speed…Michael Schumacher delivered that speed (circa 1993)
    Adrian Newey has designed a car that is clearly fast in the hands of one driver and it is not his job to make it easier for the second driver to drive it. It is up to RBR to hire a driver that can deliver the potential of what is under him.
    So far ONLY Ricciardo can say he has done that next to Max…Kyvat, Gasly and Albon have all failed but it is NOT down to the Adrian Newey design process.

    1. Adrian newey builds genius cars? Really were has Adrian been hiding for the last 6 years? The only team building genius cars are Mercedes. Redbull start the season normally over half a second behind Mercedes, Mercedes dominate the season, after 10 race stop development on their car and focus on next year then while Mercedes stand still redbull normally with 3 races left catch up and everybody says the same thing every time “next year redbull will beat Mercedes” Adrian newey is stealing a living. Maybe Adrian should focus on just building a good car

  13. playstation361
    21st October 2020, 4:34

    There is no speed in between also.

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