Heading into a season finale showdown with Mercedes, Ferrari may have the momentum but Marc Gene is worried they won’t be able to replicate their Las Vegas pace around the Yas Marina circuit.
Although Charles Leclerc missed out on the Las Vegas Grand Prix win, crossing the line 2.070s behind Max Verstappen, the race result meant Ferrari slashed Mercedes’ advantage from 20 points to a mere four.
With the backend of the season seeing a shift between Ferrari and Mercedes, the Scuderia outscoring the Brackley squad in seven of the last nine Grands Prix, Ferrari head to Abu Dhabi with momentum on their side in the battle to finish P2 in the standings.
Ferrari’s high downforce package is ‘not so good’
But that may be all they have as the team’s ambassador Marc Gene is worried they won’t be able to repeat their Las Vegas pace in Abu Dhabi.
“We were improving lately, but this track [Las Vegas] in particular was good for us, so I don’t think such a performance will repeat itself,” Gene said on the F1 Nation podcast.
“But having said that we do feel that we are getting the best out of the car, especially this last part of the season, so the team is working well.”
He added: “One of the reasons why we were so strong here is that our low downforce package is so optimised. We have a very good package. Not so much that the car is good in low downforce, the low-downforce package is just very good. We saw that in Monza.”
That, though, is not the package Ferrari will be racing at the Yas Marina circuit, a high downforce track.
“We’re not going use that package in Abu Dhabi,” he continued. “We’re going to go to the package that we know it’s not so good. These wings we cannot use in Abu Dhabi, it’s going to be different ones, and we know that one works perfectly.”
P2 would be a ‘good job’ given Red Bull’s dominance
While it has long been said P2 is never the objective, a stance that echoes Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari’s words, Gene believes finishing second this season given Red Bull’s dominance means the team has done a “good job”.
Red Bull have won all but one Grand Prix this season with Carlos Sainz P1 in Singapore.
“Fred Vasseur has been talking about the second place for a long time. Okay, Enzo Ferrari would say only winning counts,” Gene said.
“But honestly second place, look last year how much we fought even for second place for Charles against Checo, you know. Second place when someone is so dominant, whoever is second means you’ve done a good job.”
And there’s also P4 in the Drivers’ Championship that’s up for grabs with Sainz ahead of Fernando Alonso but tied on 200 points.
“Carlos is fourth place,” said the former F1 diver. “You know, he’s never finished higher up than fifth and he is equal on points with Alonso. And I can tell you in Spain, we’re looking at that. I can assure you that they both are looking at that.
“I think we have this momentum. I think the track will not favour Ferrari or Mercedes, that’s my feeling because they did very well in the past Mercedes in Abu Dhabi, but we have this momentum.
“So I think it’s pretty evenly matched. It’s gonna be quite interesting.”