Ferrari already had ‘serious concerns’ in testing

Date published: December 15 2020 - Michelle Foster

Ferrari Sebastian Vettel leads Charles Leclerc

Ferrari knew back in February that they were in for a “very difficult” season with sporting director Laurent Mekies admitting they had “serious concerns” about the SF1000.

Unlike in previous years when Ferrari have won pre-season testing, this year they were off the pace.

The Scuderia initially stated that it was because they had adopted a different approach, working on reliability before pace.

However, once the 2020 season began and the team failed to improve on grand prix weekends, Ferrari admitted the car wasn’t up to scratch.

So much so that Mekies admits they already had “serious concerns” during testing.

“In Barcelona, we quickly realised that we had serious concerns about some aspects of the performance of the car,” he told RaceFans.net.

“We knew it was going to be very difficult. We didn’t know yet at that time how long it was going to be for us to understand that fully and even less to fix it.

“Then we went to that crazy situation where we all jumped into Covid at that stage and couldn’t touch or run the car for a few months.

“So I guess there were indications there that the season would be extremely difficult, as it turned out to be.”

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Having finished last year’s championship runner-up to Mercedes, Ferrari suffered a massive fall from grace this year.

The Scuderia didn’t once take to the top step of the podium and only managed three top-three results, two for Charles Leclerc and one for the departing Sebastian Vettel.

The team finished P6 in the standings, 442 points behind championship winners Mercedes. They weren’t even in the hunt for a top-half of the field finish, 50 points behind Renault.

Mekies, though, reckons lessons were learned.

“It’s certainly a good example of what you learn in a time of crisis,” said the Italian. “It’s in this sort of situation that you learn the most.

“And I think what we take away is the way the team has been able to stay united during this time to still try to push as hard as we could despite the disappointing results.

“There was a lot of small but very significant achievements in the year that were unnoticed because we were at the back,” he explained.

“But, again, it’s something that hopefully will make us stronger and that we will carry on to next year.

“In a nutshell what we take from that is even in such a hard season, globally difficult conditions, the way we have fought and pushed our limits I think is what we will take [away].

“When you are back there, you are bound to take more risks. The drivers are taking more risks, the team takes more risks with the strategy, because that’s what you have to do to get a good result.

“So that sort of getting out of your comfort zone, if you can break out of your comfort zone, certainly will make us stronger.”

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