“Progress, but no turning point: Ferrari threatens trouble”

Ferrari left Spielberg about a week ago with a smiling and crying eye. On the one hand, there was the disappointment that Charles Leclerc lost the victory in the final rounds to Max Verstappen. On the other hand, Scuderia scored better than Mercedes for the first time in Formula One season 2019. But what is this really worth?

It is clear that Ferrari benefited from two factors on the Red Bull ring. On the one hand, the characteristics of the line met the SF90 quite well. On the other hand Mercedes had to contend with the high temperatures and thus lost a lot of performance. Spielberg was therefore not a realistic measure of the current balance of power between Ferrari and the silver arrows.

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As a team it was a slightly better weekend here; I think this is largely due to the route,”admits Sebastian Vettel, and team leader Mattia Binotto also explains that the route characteristic was the”main factor”for the good weekend. One week before Le Castellet, one already knew that there would be “a difficult weekend.”

Vettel confesses: “There is still something missing…”

“Before we [came to Austria] we knew that we could have a better chance,” says Binotto. One cannot therefore speak of a turning point in the fight against Mercedes. I think we have a lot of work ahead of us,”Vettel admits and says:”The car felt good all weekend, but there’s still something missing.”

“They also saw t hat we broke in a bit in the back with the tires,”he recalls. That’s why Vettel got to the finish line before Lewis Hamilton but behind Botta’s Valtteri. Now we have a lot to do. For the next race [in Silverstone] we have some new parts that hopefully will bring us forward,”announces the four-time World Champion.

Teamwork Leclerc also does not believe that Mercedes can be challenged regularly from now on. I still expect Mercedes to be very, very strong in the coming races. It looks like Red Bull also has a very good package “especially in the race”, he explains and adds: “We have work ahead of us. I believe that we have also taken a step –especially in qualifying.”

Ferrari not yet at Mercedes level

But:”I don’t think we are at Mercedes level. But hopefully we’ll get closer,”said the Monegasse. But where does Ferrari really stand just before the summer break? Because Spielberg has shown that it would be wrong to focus only on Mercedes. If things go badly for the Scuderia, even Red Bull could pass from behind.

In Austria Max Verstappen has already defeated the two Ferrari pilots. In the World Cup too, the Dutch are currently the third most closely following the Mercedes duo. Does Ferrari perhaps even have to lean backwards to avoid falling back behind the cops?” We have picked up two poles in the last three races”, Binotto at’Sky’is trying to relativize.

“This shows progress”, he gives himself combatively and explains:”Maybe the tracks fit better to our car, […] but we believe that we improve the car. Charles is also improving as a driver. He’s more comfortable with the set-up of the car now. The next races will be different again, but it’s encouraging. We will not give up and push on.”

No support from 2018er tires

“Will we be able to fight all the lines? I don’t think so yet,”but he also admits. There will be even more difficult routes for us. But here and there we will also bring some new things. I think we need to see it race for races,”says Binotto. But it is also clear that Ferrari will not bring any extreme updates or even a B-version of the car.

Binotto made this clear weeks ago. Ferrari will focus on smaller updates. According to Binotto, these also go “in the right direction”. But will they be enough to take another very big step forward? Ferrari’s greatest chance would have been to step back to the 2018s. But this was rejected in Spielberg.

“This would have been a great opportunity to bring the field together,” explains Binotto, adding that formula 1 missed a “great opportunity.” I think we should have done something,”he explains. This would, of course, also have been in the interest of Ferrari itself, because the change might have slowed Mercedes down a bit. Now Ferrari has to make it on his own.