The Monday after the Austrian Grand Prix was just as intense as a day at a race weekend on the direct line between Maranello and Spielberg. With the team still encamped at the Austrian circuit – which will shortly play host to the second round of the championship, entitled the Styrian Grand Prix – this morning’s habitual Monday debriefing took place over connections between the track and the remote garage, in the same configuration as they usually work from Thursday to Sunday of the grand prix.
When there are races on consecutive weekends it’s nothing new for the debriefing to take place via a remote link but it’s the first time that it has happened with the prospect of racing once again at the same circuit. The analysis of what has happened therefore becomes even more important in a certain sense – because within four days there can be an immediate answer to all the questions generated by yesterday’s grand prix, without the variables that come from heading to a different track layout.
It has also been an intense day because Charles Leclerc’s extraordinary second place finish certainly hasn’t lessened the rigour applied to the judgement of the performance of the Scuderia’s package for the start of the season. The SF1000 didn’t measure up, even compared to expectations ahead of the event. 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. 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.
And when it comes to talent the drivers have so much at their disposal, as Ferrari’s CEO Louis Camilleri underlined: “Charles put on a show yesterday in Austria, both in his ability to see the opportunities that came his way in the latter stages and, above all, in his defence when he was under attack from quicker cars in terms of pure speed. He confirmed yet again his talent and determination to defend the colours of the Scuderia, even if there was no need of any further proof. It was a pity for Sebastian who couldn’t show his best performance because he was uncomfortable with the balance of the car: now we are analysing the data to understand the reasons why. We know there’s lots of work to do. This is certainly not the grid position that a team like Ferrari should have and we have to respond immediately. It’s clear that we have to improve on all fronts. The only solution is to react and I’m pleased by the immediate reaction and the work that Mattia and all his team are putting in at every level. This is not just to bring to the track today what was scheduled to be ready tomorrow, but also to speed up the programme of development for the coming races. This is the response of a united team which is rolling up its sleeves and facing the problems head on, without crying about it. We are at the start of a new cycle with a long term plan. Any setbacks will certainly not change our chosen course and I have every confidence in Mattia and the team in addressing our shortcomings.”