Ferrari believes it has made progress after its disastrous race performance in France but that its strong result in the Styrian Grand Prix should not mask the fact there is still more to do.
Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc both started in the top seven at Paul Ricard but struggled massively with their tires as they slipped out of the points, with Leclerc finishing 16th. There was a clear improvement in race pace at the Red Bull Ring last weekend as Sainz took sixth — despite starting 12th — and Leclerc recovered from needing to change his front wing at the end of the first lap to finish seventh, but team principal Mattia Binotto says that doesn’t mean the problems are solved.
“I don’t think we’ve addressed the issue completely from France,” Binotto said. “No doubt after all the analysis, going back to France we could do some things differently and improve our performance there. But I think overall the car has got some weaknesses that we will not address this year.
“For example, Silverstone again can be a difficult circuit for us — high-speed corners with a lot of energy into the tires. More important I think is the approach, the way the team reacted, to prepare for Austria. Even if Silverstone will be a difficult circuit for us, no doubt, it will be better than France.”
Having seen the improvements in Austria, Sainz says it was particularly impressive how Ferrari went about reacting to the difficulties as a team.
“As you can imagine, Sunday night after France it was quite a disappointing day for the whole Ferrari family, the whole team; we were all also very surprised. We decided to launch this big investigation to try and find why we were using the front tires in that manner and why we had a narrow window of performance with the front tires.
“So when I went back to Maranello on Sunday night and we started going through all these things — Monday, Tuesday… everyone had theories — we started putting a short-, medium- and long-term plan together with every single department, trying to keep their point of view on how we can improve the tire management. It was certainly very impressive. It was my first proper experience to see such a big team — and such a united team — reacting to this challenge.
“I enjoyed those two or three days in the factory and I found it a great team building, a great team effort to actually come back here one week later and put together such a strong performance. When I said I was impressed, I didn’t say it for nothing. As you can see, the team is pushing hard and we are working very well together.”