Sebastian Vettel says this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix gives Ferrari an opportunity to compare how its car has changed since pre-season testing, having failed to maximize its potential.
Ferrari looked the class of the field during pre-season at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, and although Mercedes responded well on the final day the subsequent run of four straight one-twos for the defending champions was unexpected. Vettel has likened getting the potential out of this year’s Ferrari to the challenge of solving a Rubik’s Cube, but thinks returning to the scene of testing could prove a major help.
“I think we have a lot of clever people on board,” Vettel said. “I think this track will be interesting for us because the car was really working well pre-season, so we will see how it works this weekend and how it feels in comparison. But we’re working flat out, trying to make sure that we have the fastest car on the grid and we win all the races that are left.”
Ferrari will have a new power unit as well as aerodynamic updates in Barcelona, and Vettel says the team remains confident it will have a strong year despite the frustrating start to the season.
“We hope to improve the car, obviously. We introduced some bits in Baku already last race and another set of new parts here. Obviously we want to make the car faster here and there. I think we were reasonably quick but not quick enough overall to put the cars on the front row at every event. We’re lacking a little bit, but I think overall the package is promising. We know that we have a strong car; we’ve struggled a bit to put it together.
“The team is in good shape, so we’re looking forward to coming here. We’re confident about the parts we’ve brought — we are introducing a new engine as well — so we’ve got some stuff that we think should help us to be stronger than the last races.
“The spirit is good. At this point last year we were in a better place, we had won some races and overall we’d been more competitive, but nevertheless I think the spirit is as good or better than last year.”