Ferrari presented itself strongly in Spielberg. Now Mercedes is worried and Toto Wolff sounds the alarm bells. ABMS shows what makes the Ferrari so fast.
For the first time since Bahrain Ferrari is faster than Mercedes. Leclerc was 0.259 seconds faster than Lewis Hamilton. Valtteri Bottas was behind 0.534 seconds. All of a sudden Mercedes is concerned again.
Clearly, Ferrari has caught up. “We’re still faster in all turns,” Bottas calculated, “but we’re losing time on the straights. I’m sure that’s because of the drive. They win on average 0.5 seconds per lap when driving straight ahead.”
Mercedes-Benz Sports Director Toto Wolff commented:
“Charles was 0.3 seconds faster than Lewis and 0.6 faster than Valtteri on the straights. But Lewis had a slipstream.”
Toto continued: “The layout of this track just doesn’t suit our car. With the altitude and the heat, it could be tough in terms of cooling here.”
In addition: “Ferrari has improved the performance of their drive in an impressive way. Their engine is currently the strongest in the field.”
But that’s not all: “Ferrari has improved in corners,” added Toto.
Ferrari brought a new nose to Spielberg. It now has vertical slots on the side, which direct the air to the now two instead of one lying turning vanes.
According to Leclerc: “The car is much more stable at the front, it has less understeering.”
The Ferrari is “sharper” when steering which according to our technical expert Paolo Filisetti is a big step forward.
Also responsible for this: New vortex generators at the front end of the subfloor directly below the side boxes. By the way, the Scuderia didn’t bring this underfloor to Austria which they already tested in France. It will be utilized in Silverstone again.
However, Wolff is still hopeful for tomorrow’s race:
“In our view, that’s dangerous,” referring to Ferrari’s decision to start with the soft compound first.
“Either you have to make two stops or you have to make compromises at the end of the first stint. We have more options.”
Mercedes and Red Bull will start with medium tires.
*This article was first published in German at autobild.de/motorsport.