The Ferrari F1-75 of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc is faster and places the tires in an optimal working window more easily than the Red Bull RB18 of Max Verstappen and Checo Pérez. But he has a serious problem.
In the first races of the season, it has become more or less clear that the Ferrari F1-75 is the fastest car on the grid. Not in vain, Charles Leclerc already has four pole positions and leads the general classification of the championship.
In addition, it is capable of maximizing its potential in a more global way and in any circumstance thanks to its easy to heat tires regardless of the temperatures, the type of circuit or the appearance of the asphalt.
However, the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc has a problem that has become its undoing in recent races: tire degradation.
Jeddah, Imola and Miami
In general terms, Ferrari has been faster than Red Bull in qualifying conditions. And while Leclerc has been more than capable of leading races with some confidence, he has struggled to maintain that position. at the end of each relay of tires.
It happened in Jeddah and again in the Imola Sprint race and in Miami, where Max Verstappen only had to wait for your rival’s tires to degrade to launch his attack on Leclerc. And it can happen again today in Barcelona.
Already on Friday, during the race simulations carried out by the teams, Ferrari was losing ground with Red Bull as a result of the degradation, even seeing how Mercedes was running at a similar pace.
This meant that, during Free Practice 3 on Saturday, Ferrari decided to alter its usual program and carry out a long final run to find a way to improve the situation. «We have done a long run in Free Practice 3, which was much better compared to Friday. Unfortunately, we had no other references because we were the only ones doing long runs”, says Charles Leclerc.
“But it looks like we found something. Whether it will be enough to challenge Max (Verstappen) and Checo (Perez), I don’t know.. But the feeling was better, “admits the Monegasque.
Laurent MeckiesFerrari’s sports director, has also spoken about it, indicating that the modifications made to the car this weekend are aimed at gaining performance, but also at improving tire degradation.
“It is no secret that we were not happy with our long runs on Friday. We’ve been dominating it in some of the early races, in Bahrain and certainly in Australia. And the last two races have been a bit more difficult.”points out the French engineer.
“It is also the kind of thing that we hope to improve with the updates, the way they add more performance to the car can give the wheels a little easier life,” explains Mekies, who clarifies that “we are still in the exploration phase. . But we are aware that we have probably lost a little bit in that area and we want to recover it”.
At the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, a very demanding track with tires and where they are expected more than 30 ºC at the time of the race, Charles Leclerc’s pole looks once again threatened by Red Bull’s better race pace. Has Ferrari found the antidote to keep its direct rival for the championship at bay?