Formula 1

Ferrari’s Laurent Mekies on the F1 season so far: “The first part was really intense”

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Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

Laurent Mekies, Sporting director of Scuderia Ferrari, looks on the second half of the season after an intense first nine races. 

Scuderia Ferrari have had one of the worst starts to a season in recent times and find themselves sixth in the Constructors Championship and have only been on the podium once, a second-place finish for Charles Leclerc in the Austrian Grand Prix back at the start of the season.

“In some ways, the Russian Grand Prix marks the start of the second part of the season. The first part was really intense, with nine races in eleven weeks, as the world of Formula 1 took on the complex task of tackling the World Championship during a pandemic. I think everyone worked together really well – the FIA, Formula 1, the teams and media – and managed to pull off something that had looked far from obvious just back in May.” Said Mekies.

“The first part of the season proved to be very difficult for the Scuderia, as can be seen from the results. But it’s not in our nature to give up under any circumstances. That’s the spirit in which we approach the Sochi weekend, even if in the short time we’ve been coming here, the track has never been too favourable for us. We will do our best, aware that at the moment, we are up against a lot of stiff opposition.

“We will be introducing a few small aero updates on the SF1000, as part of the plan which extends over the next few races to correct as far as possible the weaknesses seen in recent races, particularly with a view to 2021. We’re not expecting this small package to make a big change but it will allow us to check its functionality and give us a baseline for future developments”.

Sebastian Vettel has had a bad start to the season, far from his Championship winning ways. Hopefully he’ll be able to get himself in the points this weekend.

Vettel knows that qualifying can be important at a track where it is difficult to overtake. 

Vettel said: “The Sochi track has a very nice first sector, especially when you tackle turn 3 accelerating flat out. In the second sector there’s a series of ninety degree medium speed corners and you need to have a good line going into them.

“On the technical front, you need to manage the hard braking points and how you apply the power on corner exit so that the tyres don’t suffer too much. However, the final sector is less exciting, tighter and with a few low speed sections. Overtaking is rather difficult and that’s why it will be important to do a good job in free practice to get all the potential out of the car in qualifying.”

Charles Leclerc enjoys the fun side of Sochi. He has great memories here, not just on the track. 

Sochi has one of the longest straights in the Formula 1 calendar, one of the first things that comes to mind for Leclerc when he thinks of the track.

Leclerc said: “There are two things that immediately come to mind when thinking about Sochi, a long straight and the rollercoaster. 

“The circuit features one of the longest straights of the championship, followed by an interesting mix of corners. I’d say the first sector is the most exciting. The first target for all the drivers will be to get the most out of qualifying and secure a good position on the grid, as it is not easy to overtake there.

“I’ve had a lot of fun in Sochi in the past. Most of all in the theme park, which is next to the track. I remember the first time I went there with Formula 1, back in 2018. I met up with some of the other drivers whom I am friends with and went on some of the rides. It was a really good way to relax before starting our weekend activities.

“I’m glad that some fans will be able to come and see us race and I hope that we can put on a good show for them”.

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