Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari would trade its current straight line speed advantage for more downforce if it had the choice as it fights through what has so far been a winless 2019.
Ferrari looked strong throughout pre-season testing but has struggled to be competitive on all types of circuit after opting for a low-drag car philosophy this season. That approach gives it impressive straight-line speed but less cornering performance, and Vettel says the result in Hungary – where he was over a minute behind race-winner Lewis Hamilton who beat Max Verstappen – showed up Ferrari’s weaknesses even further.
“I think some tracks you know maybe suit you, some maybe less,” Vettel said. “Despite that I think I was fairly open-minded and you don’t want to accept that. So I tried everything to prove the opposite. But we simply didn’t have the pace of those two (Hamilton and Verstappen) in particular. So there’s obviously work for us to be done.
“We have room to improve – in the corners is where we’re lacking. With that obviously comes the advantage on the straight, one goes with the other. But, for sure, if we could make a trade, then we would go for it.”
Despite the lack of a win so far, Vettel sees progress being made in terms of car development and believes the first two races after the mid-season break are likely to play to Ferrari’s strengths.
“We’ve been adding small bits to the car (in Hungary),” he said. “They were working, but obviously [were] not big enough to really get close on a track like that. There might be tracks coming up next, especially Spa and Monza, that might be better for us – but in the end our ambition is to really force things to happen, be in control of the race. Where we are now, we’re quite far away from that.
“I think the spirit is good, though. The team is willing to give everything they have, continue to give everything they have. And that’s all we can do right now.”