The cause of Sebastian Vettel’s crash during Wednesday’s running at pre-season testing in Barcelona is proving tough to identify due to heavy damage to the Ferrari.
Vettel went off at Turn 3 during the morning session, with fan footage from the first corner showing the car bottoming out as soon as he turned in and heading straight into the barrier. Vettel was checked and cleared at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya medical center and says a mechanical issue was to blame, but further investigations are difficult to carry out.
“Obviously inside the car I was going into Turn 3 and I had a feeling there was an issue with the front-left corner and then from there it wasn’t anything that I could have done to avoid the impact,” Vettel said. “After that I wasn’t in control anymore and went straight into the barriers.
“We are flat-out trying to understand, it would be a lot easier if there was a lot of run-off and the car didn’t hit anything because now due to the hit it’s fairly damaged. We have to be very careful in understanding exactly what is the problem. That is what everyone is looking at here at the track and also in Maranello. It’s important to us.”
While Vettel admits the crash proved costly in terms of track time – Charles Leclerc was unable to resume running for Ferrari until the final hour of the day following the incident – the German says the team’s priority has to be to understand the cause.
“Well, we covered a lot of mileage last week but surely the plan is always to fulfill your program,” he said. “We had more laps on the board than 40 this morning so for sure it is not ideal in that we are losing time. But right now it is important to understand what happened.
“I hit the wall quite strongly, and I think the Tecpro and the wall did their job and the car did its job, but of course after the impact the car was very damaged. That’s what also makes it quite difficult to reconstruct what was going on before the impact.”
Despite the setback on Wednesday, Vettel says he remains happy with the way the SF90 handles ahead of the final two days of pre-season testing.
“I think overall the car is strong, it feels good. We’ve been exploring a lot of things since day one and I think last week was very productive. Also yesterday, at least we could recover some of the track time lost in the morning so overall, I’m still positive about the car and the feeling inside the car.”