Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020

Vettel not surprised as Ferrari lap 1.3 seconds slower than last year

2020 Belgian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel said it came as no surprise to him to learn Ferrari had lapped over 1.3 seconds slower than last year in practice for the Belgian Grand Prix.

Ferrari, the winners for the last two years at Spa-Francorchamps, headed Friday practice last year with a best time of 1’44.123. But today Charles Leclerc’s 1’45.440 was the best time either of their drivers could manage.

“I didn’t compare to last year but it’s probably not a surprise,” said Vettel when asked about the team’s step backwards. “It’s been like this in other events as well.”

Ferrari ended the second session eighth-fastest of the 10 teams, with only Williams and Haas behind them.

“I think it was a difficult day for us,” said Vettel. “The car was difficult and tricky to drive.

“But I guess that also means that we’re not quite where we should be so we’re looking currently to find options with the set-up. We tried a lot this afternoon. We’ll reset and try again and try something different. I’m sure tomorrow will be a bit better.”

Some rain fell between the F1 sessions at Spa today and a downpour arrived after practice concluded. Further rain is expected later in the weekend, which Vettel said may play into Ferrari’s hands.

“I think we has some glimpses of wet conditions this year already in Austria and Hungary in free practice,” he said. “It won’t be the easiest for us, but there’s always a chance to mix things up so we’ll see what we get.”

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2020 Belgian Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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19 comments on “Vettel not surprised as Ferrari lap 1.3 seconds slower than last year”

  1. Over $400 million a year well spent. Seriously, what are Ferrari doing? Montezemolo, all is forgiven!

    1. How I miss Mr. Montezemolo with Ferrari

  2. Well for the rest of this season why not let ferrari do to all their engines whatever it was they did or did not last year, and the result will give us a fully competitive field so we get more exciting races!!
    There is no fun when 3 out of 10 teams are well off the pace
    Then they can have extra time to find the missing horsepower.
    Tongue in cheek I know, but…………

  3. I don’t have to much of a problem with Ferrari not keeping up with Mercedes, as regards the engines, but to be behind both Honda and Renault is rather baffling.

    1. To be behind a williams even hurts way more..

    2. Ferrari started the hybrid era with the weakest power unit. They made a huge leap in 2015 though probably still not quite as good as Mercedes, and then by 2018 probably had the most powerful power unit

      Who knows when the iffy methods of getting that power started and how much no longer being able to run it like that has set them back

      Especially if the other teams have tried to keep up through legitimate development that Ferrari haven’t been focused on

  4. Perhaps Ferrari can ask for Renault engines next year

  5. Ferrari must be already working on 2022 car. If they will win F1 Championship in 2022, then Ferrari fans will forgive and forget this struggle!

    1. If they are following the rules they are not working on the ’22 car until after new years… but hey, it’s Ferrari so who knows?

      1. funny part Red Bull doesn’t have this restriction as Adrian uses paper and a drawing board :)

    2. @bulgarian If they can’t make their power unit competitive by 2022 then they’ll still be nowhere with the new regs.

  6. It’s all that ‘downforce’ the team went overboard with this year. It’s just too draggy, don’t you know..

  7. And still they keep denying it’s the engine and tell everyone the car is ‘draggie’…. Rules haven’t changed so why don’t they use last year car? It’s an easy 1,3 second upgrade.

  8. It would appear that the fuel flow trick caused Ferrari to stop working on improvements to the aero. I am stunned at how poorly the car works with an engine with reduced horsepower.
    This is similar to what happened at Volkswagen and their Diesel engines. Once they had a software trick to reduce emissions they were completely screwed when they couldn’t use the trick. They had stopped actual engine improvements and has nothing in the pipeline.

  9. Why don’t they try using the previuos season’s car? Is the current so much better than that, or rules changed too much? Or they used the wonder-engine form the start of the 2019 season so those two cars are at about the same level?

    1. At fast tracks they could use the old dragster, while at slow tracks they could use the new draggy :)
      Is a team theoretically allowed to switch back and forth between two distinct car designs multiple times per season if both comply with the rules?

      1. They have limitations on changes of certain parts, like power units and gearboxes. But theoretically, as far as I know, they can change chassis, suspension and all the aero parts etc. for every race if they wanted to and had the means. So it comes down to a question of how much different the power unit package is this year compared to last, as well as the gearbox (which is also pretty much defining the entire rear suspension). Realistically I guess those parts, power unit and gearbox from 2020 which they have to use now, would not be a straight fit onto the rest of the 2019 car. So in short; legally yes but practically no.

  10. Is Ferrari not allowed to run last years car? I know this was done in the past by other teams. I think Williams was one of them in the 90s.

    1. @ryanoceros See my answer to Jockey Ewing above.

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