Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari now has some clarity on its development direction ahead of the British Grand Prix as a result of the work carried out in France and Austria.
Ferrari looked strong in pre-season testing and at the second race in Bahrain, but had largely struggled compared to Mercedes and appeared to be slipping further from the front at the start of the European season. A number of new parts were tested at the last two races, but although not all of them stayed on the car, Vettel says that work has helped the team understand the direction it needs to take.
“I think we learned a lot after confusion or some bits that didn’t turn out to work exactly like we wanted to,” Vettel said. “During the French Grand Prix and Austria it brought some clarity, and I think we have a clear picture of what was wrong in terms of tuning and what needs to be changed.
“Obviously over the next couple of weeks we can tell of where we can go but I think it is pretty normal that unfortunately not all the bits you bring, bring you the step that you want or expect. Sometimes parts over-deliver, which is great, and sometimes they under-deliver. I think overall we need to make sure of the direction we need to go to, and we will keep going that way.”
While Ferrari is strong in a straight line, Vettel says the team’s inconsistent performance in specific corners is more of a problem than a general performance deficit to Mercedes in that area.
“At some tracks some corners feel better than at other tracks which have a similar type of profile and character which don’t feel as good. I think that is where some of the inconsistencies comes from,” he said.
“I think it is clear on paper that we are missing a bit of downforce compared to Mercedes in particular, hence the difference down the straight.
“So if you take a simple reference like Monaco – where we were faster on the straights by quite a big chunk, and Monaco is the place where you put all the downforce on the car that you have – I believe that we have quite an efficient car as well, which means that it is not so draggy, but overall we are missing a bit of grip which speaks for the deficit we have in certain corner types. That is what we are working on.”