Ferrari fast-tracking aero updates for Styrian Grand Prix

F1

Engineers are hard at work at Maranello in the hopes of bringing forward new updates to arrive in time for the Styrian Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc, 2020 Austrian GP

Ferrari will hope new upgrades arrive in time for the Styrian GP

DARKO BANDIC/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Ferrari is making efforts to bring forward planned updates to arrive in time for the second race of the 2020 season having slipped into the midfield during the Austrian Grand Prix.

Initially scheduled to arrive for race three of the season at the Hungaroring, a significant update to the aerodynamics of the SF1000 have been in the works at Maranello since the team admitted its 2020 challenger was not looking competitive in its current guise.

Although Charles Leclerc was able to salvage a second place finish on race day, the team is working hard to bring forward updates to this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix.

“The SF1000 didn’t measure up, even compared to expectations ahead of the event,” Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri told Ferrari.com.

“Because of this, development has already been going on at full pace for some time. This is in the hope of bringing forward to next weekend the introduction of the aerodynamic package scheduled for the Hungarian Grand Prix – or, at least, some of its components.

“It’s not that these new parts are expected to completely bridge the gap compared to the front of the grid. But the progress in terms of lap time could allow the team to move up the order and put the drivers in a better condition to be able to display their talent.

Related article

“Moreover it’s about checking that the chosen direction of development is the right one, precisely because it will be possible to do a true back-to-back on every upgrade.”

The team was almost a full second down on its 2019 times around the Red Bull Ring in qualifying trim, with team principal Mattia Binotto admitting that 0.7sec of that time lost was on the straights.

Following the FIA clampdown on oil burning at the 2019 United States Grand Prix and following the subsequent investigation of the Ferrari power unit by the FIA, the team has not had anything like the same pace in a straight line as it enjoyed for so long last season.

Leclerc was able to battle his way through the field from ninth on the grid after several safety car periods, but team-mate Sebastian Vettel struggled on the opening weekend, slumping to a 10th place finish after a spin.

On board footage from the four-time champion during the opening stages of the race showed the mid-corner instability both drivers are fighting with the new car.

Since the end of winter testing, the team has shifted its focus on the direction it will take with the development of its 2020 car, which itself is limited by the restrictions arrising from the Covid-19 pandemic and F1’s efforts to cut spending.

“The truth is that the outcome of the tests led us to take a significant change of direction in terms of development, especially on the aerodynamic front,” Binotto said ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix.

“It would have been counterproductive to continue in the direction we had planned, knowing that we would not have reached our goals. Therefore we decided to come up with a new programme that looked at the whole car, knowing that not all of it would be ready for the first race.”