Vettel thinks Ferrari may have lost top-speed edge

Sebastian Vettel believes the cornering strength of Ferrari's 2019 Formula 1 car may have cost it straightline speed, but needs more data to be sure.

Vettel thinks Ferrari may have lost top-speed edge

One of the traits of the Ferrari last season was strong top-speed performance, but Vettel and Charles Leclerc seemed to struggle in this area in the Australian Grand Prix.

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko hinted prior to this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix that this could be a mix of Ferrari backing off because of cooling problems and being pegged back by closed engine loopholes for 2019.

However, asked by Motorsport.com if Ferrari had lost its speed advantage, Vettel said: "We were losing out everywhere. When I say everywhere, that means also down the straights.

"I wouldn't draw too much conclusion. Last year we had a very efficient car and maybe at the end of the year we were a little short in terms of downforce, so then you can be faster down the straights.

"So, I think this year's car, if it gives us the feeling that we know is a very strong car, is very fast round the corners, maybe then it's a bit slower down the straights.

"But I think we haven't had enough track time yet, [enough] races, to really give a fair answer."

Vettel evaded a question by Motorsport.com about Marko's assertion Ferrari had a cooling problem and a need to save fuel in Melbourne.

"Well, it always depends where you are compared to others," he said. "But I don't think that we are in a different ballgame to other people.

"After the race, on the plane, we had a few laughs. Helmut was sleeping so I'm not sure where he did his analysis!"

Vettel finished more than a minute behind race winner Valtteri Bottas in Australia, where Ferrari was much less competitive than in pre-season testing.

Ferrari has applied "corrections" based on what it learned from a difficult opening weekend but Vettel said the "answers" may only be partly useful.

"The key factor for me is that I drove a car in winter testing that I really liked and felt really comfortable in, it was doing what I want, I didn't have much to moan or complain about – and we went to Australia and it wasn't there," he said.

"We have some answers in terms of the lack of performance for Australia. But we don't race in Australia again."

He added: "We'll never get the real answer because you don't go back until next year.

"There's always some lessons – some were about the set-up, others were about the [circuit] configuration.

"You throw everything in the mix and we have reason to believe we should be stronger here, but I don't want to put a number to it.

"Mercedes was more competitive than we expected, together with the fact we were less competitive than we expected, that explains the large blip."

shares
comments
Alonso to test 2019 McLaren in Bahrain

Previous article

Alonso to test 2019 McLaren in Bahrain

Next article

Bahrain GP: Thursday press conference

Bahrain GP: Thursday press conference
Load comments
How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't Prime

How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says Oleg Karpov, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

The signs that point to F1's rude health Prime

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says Mark Gallagher, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors.

The unexpected benefit of F1's sprint race repeat Prime

The unexpected benefit of F1's sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap-one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to Hamilton/Verstappen F1 shunt Prime

The off-track considerations that led to Hamilton/Verstappen F1 shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming.

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021
British Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

British Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 British Grand Prix will live long in the memory for the dramatic clash between Formula 1's two title protagonists, which opened the door for other drivers to capitalise. One did so in spectacular fashion, while others fluffed their lines

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021
How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after Silverstone clash Prime

How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after Silverstone clash

A poor start for Valtteri Bottas and the lap one clash between Formula 1's 2021 title protagonists gave Charles Leclerc a surprise lead in the British Grand Prix that he almost held to the end. Here's how the Ferrari driver came close to a famous victory, ultimately denied by a recovering Lewis Hamilton three laps from home

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021
The signs that suggest Mercedes can win at Silverstone Prime

The signs that suggest Mercedes can win at Silverstone

Red Bull and Max Verstappen scored an early blow against Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes at Silverstone, with sprint qualifying race victory. But that doesn’t mean Sunday’s grand prix is a foregone conclusion. Although Verstappen starts as the favourite, here’s why Mercedes still holds hope of winning

Formula 1
Jul 18, 2021
Uncovering Silverstone's engineering secrets for F1 success Prime

Uncovering Silverstone's engineering secrets for F1 success

Formula 1 returns to Silverstone this weekend, but despite its familiarity to all the teams it is no picnic. Here are five of the key points for engineers to consider prior to the British Grand Prix.

Formula 1
Jul 16, 2021