Upgrades not behind Ferrari’s positive Russian GP

Jamie Woodhouse
Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) at the Russian Grand Prix, Sochi

Updates not behind Ferrari's upturn in form at Sochi says Mattia Binotto.

Ferrari principal Mattia Binotto has played down the role that upgrades had in the team’s improved showing at the Russian GP.

Ferrari brought some new parts with them to the Sochi Autodrom after difficult races at Spa, Monza and Mugello where the Scuderia struggled badly for performance.

And the Russian Grand Prix was certainly a more positive race weekend for the team as Charles Leclerc crossed the line P6, even if he did get himself in Lance Stroll’s bad books by putting the Racing Point driver into the wall on Lap 1.

But Binotto said the improvement was more down to Sochi suiting the SF1000, rather than the updates having an impact.

“No, I don’t think it’s down to the upgrades, that’s not the reason,” he is quoted by Racefans.net.

“I think we’ve got a better balance here on these track characteristics. So let’s hope again that we’ve found again some competitiveness that will give the opportunity at least for the two drivers to compete for a better position in the future.”

Binotto confirmed that further upgrades will be coming for the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.

“We brought some new bits, it’s not a big step forward, not yet sufficient, we are fully aware,” he said.

“But it’s important to go in the right direction for at least the remainder of the season.

“We’ll have a few more updates in Nurburgring but again, not major, but still for us I think important considering our level of competitiveness.

“Then we’ll focus mainly on the diffuser for the remaining part of the season. But by when, it’s not yet defined.”

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While the Russian GP was a positive step for Leclerc, the same couldn’t be said for team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

The four-time World Champion may be leaving for Aston Martin at the end of the season, but his poor run of form continued with a P13 finish at Sochi.

He started the race from P14 having crashed out of qualifying during Q2.

But Binotto is focusing on the positives which can be taken from the race, mainly Ferrari’s return to competitive form.

“The first is the result, the second I think the relative pace in the race,” he explained.

“Certainly with Charles – it’s been more difficult for Seb today being more in the traffic, starting behind on the grid et cetera. But I think compared to the last races at least a bit more competitive in the race.”

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