Charles Leclerc may have scored a surprise podium finish for Ferrari in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix, but team-mate Sebastian Vettel faces a struggle with his concentration, according to former team chief Ross Brawn.
And team boss Mattia Binotto warned, the scarlet scuderia and their fans cannot expect the upgrades package planned for the third race at Budapest to deliver a ‘silver bullet’ solution to their problems.
Brawn, who guided Michael Schumacher to five drivers’ titles at Ferrari, is now Formula One’s motorsport managing director and on Monday suggested that four-time champion Vettel is understandably distracted after being told this is his last year with the team.
In comments issued on Monday, Brawn said: “It was a difficult start to Sebastian’s final season with the team – everything must be swirling around in his head after finding out that Ferrari don’t want his services next season.
“Sometimes, the things that put a driver off are quite subtle. Sebastian has appeared surprised and shocked by what has happened and that must be a distraction. Understandably so.”
Vettel qualified only 11th and then clashed with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, the man who succeeds him at Maranello next year, before grabbing a point by finishing 10th.
“It was a disappointing race for me, even if we knew beforehand it would be tough,” said Vettel. “I struggled for the entire race after the first two laps, just as I had done in qualifying. The balance and speed I had on Friday slipped away and I was really struggling to keep the car on track – it was a relief that I only spun once.”
Binotto said; “I think that we need to improve our car. There are some mis-correlations with the design, especially the aero, and that is a development we have started again.
“It won’t be a final solution. There is no silver bullet.
“If I look at qualifying, compared to the pole, we are missing a second – that’s three-tenths in cornering, but then there is still seven-tenths on the straights.
“And I think that one will be very much difficult for us because engines are frozen for the season.” — AFP