After struggling massively at the 2019 US Grand Prix, the Ferrari duo were back to showing rapid pace in Brazil with Vettel and Leclerc finishing P1 and P2 respectively at Free Practice 2. The pace showed by the duo in straight lines had Mercedes and Ferrari completely puzzled especially since FIA had launched multiple investigations into the controversial Ferrari engine.
Mercedes and Red Bull launched a complaint with the FIA over Ferrari’s sudden power delta over others after the summer break. FIA, despite having declared it perfectly legal before later declared technical directives ahead of the US Grand Prix and before this weekend launched an investigation into teams’ oil. Considering their pace in Austin, it was suspected that whatever mysterious business they were doing with their engine was not being done anymore. It was the first race since the summer break where Ferrari did not take pole position and later on both Vettel and Leclerc were nowhere near the top contenders. Verstappen even went on to say that this is what happens when you stop cheating.
According to engine traces, Red Bull and Mercedes are losing between 0.7s and 0.9 respectively. These calculations are with respect to one lap pace. For race pace, Mercedes continues to be the strongest with Red Bull being 0.2s a lap adrift and Ferrari another 0.2s from Red Bull. Even with the rapid one lap pace, Ferrari can only rely on Vettel to fight for pole since Leclerc has taken a 10 place grid penalty owing to a new engine. Reports also said that the engine fitted to his chassis will carry multiple 2020 parts for testing purposes. A rising Ferrari charge from the back with all that excess power will make for a pretty interesting race we believe.
So while Ferrari look comfortable to clinch the pole, what happens in race is something else. Post the summer break, Ferrari has managed to get 6 out of 7 pole positions but only managed to take three victories: Spa, Monza and Singapore.
Sebastian Vettel believes there is much more to come from the team – “The car was decent today but we can improve. I’m confident of a step forward.
“In the race it will be difficult because others are quite a bit faster than us but that’s pretty much in line with the picture we’ve seen in the last couple of races so I’m not surprised.
“I think we can work on ourselves and be in a better shape for tomorrow. We do our homework from now and see where it takes us.”
When asked about the host of allegations which have followed Ferrari, Vettel said, “It’s a bit sad that generally opinion swings so quickly nowadays and it doesn’t take much, it takes one and a half hours and everything is completely different and it takes one race only to make that up,”
“I think the main thing for us is to focus on ourselves and hopefully give the right answer on the track.”