In the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz experienced a setback, dropping from fourth and fifth positions on the grid to ninth and tenth, respectively. Their race performance was hampered by a mid-race safety car period that disrupted their strategy and forced them onto less favorable hard tires.
Despite facing criticism regarding Ferrari’s strategy, Sainz defended the team’s decision, considering it a “50-50” call. Instead, he pointed out the erratic nature of the car, exacerbated by strong winds, as the primary cause of their struggles.
The turbulent winds unsettled the car, and Sainz, who emerged victorious in the 2022 British GP, noted that his lap times could vary by 0.4 seconds depending on gusts of wind. This unpredictability persisted despite Ferrari’s efforts to enhance the car’s stability through an upgraded floor introduced during the Miami GP.
Sainz explained, “The windy conditions made the car very challenging to drive, and it was extremely difficult to maintain consistency… We faced significant difficulties with traction, particularly when dealing with tailwinds. Furthermore, the harder tires added to the complexity of the battles and overall race conditions.”
Acknowledging the team’s awareness of this weakness, Sainz emphasized the need for continued development. He stated, “We are well aware of this issue. It manifests in the wind tunnel, on the track, and in the overall driving experience. Thus, it is crucial for us to focus on addressing this matter. We have made progress, but the British GP has reminded us of the areas that require improvement.”
Ferrari’s vulnerability to varying conditions raises concerns about their performance at different circuit types. Sainz added, “This situation is not ideal for us, as our performance is heavily dependent on wind, track conditions, and temperatures. Consequently, we may face challenges on certain race weekends.”
Elaborating further, Sainz noted, “The degradation of the tires, energy management, wind sensitivity, and the unpredictable behavior of the car pose challenges. Even a small gust of wind can lead to a variation of 0.3 to 0.4 seconds in lap times. We must continue to address these issues.”
Leclerc concurred, emphasizing the car’s difficulty to handle in high-speed corners when operating outside its optimal performance window.
He remarked, “We still have a long way to go because our car remains sensitive to changing conditions, particularly when it comes to wind. Alterations in wind significantly affect our car’s behavior, making it extremely challenging to drive.”
Acknowledging the ongoing progress, Leclerc emphasized the need for further development in addressing their weaknesses. He stated, “We anticipated that this track would be one of our more challenging circuits due to its high-speed corners, an area where our car is less competitive. We are aware of the reasons behind our struggles, and we are committed to pushing our development efforts, especially in improving performance in high-speed corners.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about inconsistent F1 car
What were the reasons for Ferrari’s struggles in the British GP?
Ferrari’s struggles in the British GP can be attributed to multiple factors. One key reason was the inconsistent nature of their F1 car, which was further exacerbated by strong winds. The car’s unpredictability made it challenging for the drivers to maintain performance and consistency throughout the race.
How did the mid-race safety car affect Ferrari’s strategy?
The mid-race safety car period had a negative impact on Ferrari’s strategy. It compromised their plans and forced them to switch to harder tires, which were not as favorable for their performance. This strategic change put them at a disadvantage compared to their competitors.
What did Carlos Sainz say about the car’s behavior in windy conditions?
Carlos Sainz described the car’s behavior in windy conditions as very tricky and difficult to handle. He mentioned that the car’s performance was heavily influenced by the wind, and even small gusts could result in significant variations in lap times. Sainz attributed the inconsistent performance to the challenging nature of the car in such conditions.
Did Ferrari acknowledge their weaknesses and the need for improvement?
Yes, Ferrari acknowledged their weaknesses and the need for improvement. They were aware of their struggles in high-speed corners and understood that their car was particularly sensitive to changing conditions, especially wind. The team expressed their commitment to developing the car further, with a focus on addressing these weaknesses and enhancing performance in high-speed corners.