Simone Resta, the Head of Chassis Engineering at Scuderia Ferrari, admits the Maranello-based team are expecting another tough weekend at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend.
For a team who in 2019 were frontrunners with both Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel, it has been a disappointing year to date, with the former having scored only two podium finishes in the first five races, while the latter has scored only ten points in the same period.
Pre-season testing at the Spanish circuit did not go the way Ferrari were hoping, and after the performances in the first five races, Resta is not expecting the team to suddenly be a frontrunning team this weekend.
“We arrive in Barcelona knowing this will not be an easy weekend for us, given how testing went here in February,” said Resta. “However, over the five races run so far, we have worked hard to try and improve our car’s performance and extract all its potential.
“We will obviously encounter much hotter weather with track temperatures expected to be well above 40°C: it will be an important factor, especially when it comes to the behaviour of the tyres, as we saw at the last two races in Silverstone.”
Resta revealed that the team will give Vettel a new chassis for the Spanish event after damage was found to his original, but it was dismissed that this damage would have caused his performance levels to have dropped as much as they have.
“There will be no particular updates on the SF1000, however Sebastian will have a new chassis, because after the Silverstone post-race analysis, we spotted a small fault caused by a heavy impact over a kerb,” said Resta.
“It would not have had much of an effect on performance, but it was the logical decision to take. “
“It’s the small details that make the difference” – Sebastian Vettel
Vettel will be looking to get his final season with Ferrari back on track this weekend in Spain after the two races at the Silverstone Circuit yielded only one point. He finished tenth in the British Grand Prix before ending the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix in twelfth.
The German, who will be replaced at the team by Carlos Sainz Jr. in 2021, says it will be important to get the small details right at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya if they want to be quick, although there will also need to be some kind of sacrifice in order to preserve the tyres in what is expected to be a very hot Spanish Grand Prix.
“When you get to the Barcelona track you already know it will be a race where it’s the small details that make the difference,” said Vettel. “The teams and drivers all know this track very well and that’s why, right form the start of Friday free practice, you can work on fine tuning the car.
“This circuit is quite different to Silverstone and I am curious to find out how the car will feel here. We can expect very high temperatures and so it will be important to find a set-up that allows you to have good speed without causing excessive tyre wear.”
“I think tyre management will be very important” – Charles Leclerc
For Leclerc, he comes to Spain after a third place finish in the British Grand Prix and a fourth place in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, with the latter coming as a result of a one-stop strategy and a lot of tyre preservation.
Leclerc expects another weekend of tyre saving this weekend in Spain, and he is eager to find out how the SF1000 works at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in the height of summer.
“The Barcelona track is a classic,” said Leclerc. “Every year we do so many kilometres here in testing and therefore we can say it has no secrets.
“However, this year, as we will be racing here in the height of summer it will be interesting to see how our car performs in really hot weather.
“As was the case in the two Silverstone races, I think tyre management will be very important. It’s something we worked on a lot and in England it paid off. It will be important not to make any mistakes in qualifying to try and get the most out of the car in race configuration.”