Ferrari can successfully book the first five races: three pole positions, two wins. Since the start of the season, the Scuderia has been in the lead in both world championships. After the Miami GP, Charles Leclerc had 104 points. His first chaser, Max Verstappen, is 19 points behind. In the World Team Championship, Ferrari has the long nose tip for Formula 1-75 racing with a lead of 157 to 151.
So far, Ferrari with distinctive side legs has worked on all racetracks. It doesn’t matter how the weather was. It doesn’t matter what tire you drive. In the qualifying roll and trim the race. After the Miami GP, team boss Mattia Binotto remembered his pre-season words. “I’ve always said we have to wait five races before we can make an assessment.” The capo can do that now. Competitive Ferrari.
The trend for every Red Bull
But the trend in the last two races is speaking against the Maranello and Red Bull Racing team. “They were probably tenths faster than us,” Binotto admits. Various modifications were made on the last day of testing in Bahrain and in the first races Red Bull Forward. While nothing new came to the RB18 in Miami, the events of Imola repeated themselves. Max Verstappen passed Leclerc on the medium tires on the track. This time in the main race and not in the race.
Monegasse was also a little surprised by the track. “In practical terms, it was a disaster in the inner lane of the first corner. There was almost no grip there. So I didn’t expect Max to find a lot of stability there. I wanted to stay on the clean race streak and improve the braking point. It worked. I still couldn’t stay In the foreground. “
Ferrari is only better in the first sector
The fact that Red Bull was several kilometers per hour faster in a straight line was nothing new. The team aligned the RB18 in development accordingly. For a second time, the Red Bull team took better care of the tires, although Ferrari chose a setting for more downforce. In theory, this should be better for the tires because the car slips less in cornering due to the increased downforce. Ferrari only used the race’s largest rear wing in the first section of the track with fast corners. In the corners of Mickey Mouse in the second part of the tour, Red Bull suddenly came on the same level. In fact, the slow corners are F1-75 territory.
“We beat Red Bull in curves 5, 6 and 7,” says Binotto. “Not like Saturday in the slow division. Red Bull was as fast as we were. We have to analyze that. It definitely has something to do with the promotions they’ve put in in the last few weeks.” Tires, especially the medium ones, can be a little overheated at Ferrari in the slow sections. “The car is very tough to drive,” Leclerc stated at the end of the first mission on the yellow Pirellis.
Ferrari has to go up
The Ferrari drivers felt more comfortable on the hard tyres. After the safety car, Leclerc ignited the C2 mixture faster and stuck Verstappen in the lower back. A faster warm-up indicates that the engineers slightly modified their car to qualify. Ferrari had to be at the front with its larger rear wing. Overtaking was not an easy task in Miami due to the slippery surface of the perfect line. Ferrari lacked top speed. Verstappen was able to successfully defend himself, although Leclerc was able to open the wing behind him.
Let’s put it this way: Red Bull has outdone Ferrari with its own strength, and it can’t be done the other way around. It is also a statement about the current balance of power in Formula 1. Verstappen was able to break the DRS and pull out again with ease. Which suggests that Red Bull also had a slight advantage on the hard tyres. It is very likely that Sergio Perez would have snatched third from Carlos Sainz if Red Bull’s second wingspan had not been clipped on the straight due to a sensing problem.
Ferrari knows you have to improve technically to turn the tide in his favour. “It’s up to us to step on the gas,” says Binotto. “At Barcelona we will get a promotion. It is very important that you work.” Not just to get back in front of Red Bull. But also for budgetary reasons. Under the budget cap, every failure is doubly costly.
Leclerc has confidence
At Red Bull, every new development hits the ground running. Ferrari has yet to prove it. Hopefully, the increase in downforce won’t lead to more recoil, which could hurt lap time. “We know Red Bull is developing strongly. But I have confidence in my team. With our new car, we have shown how well we are developing and we can catch up. I hope the upgrade again will help us rise to the top,” says Leclerc.
Ferrari was deliberately late in the first five races. Because you first wanted to fully understand your car in order to squeeze it in as much as possible. Because you wanted to keep working against rebound. And because you have to manage under the budget cap into consideration. “We don’t even have the money to do an upgrade every weekend,” says the team leader. “Our development aims to bring in new parts in time.”
Larger packages are bundled into Maranello, which is only installed once you are sure it will make progress. Logic says Red Bull consumed more of the development budget early in the season. “They can’t go on like this. At some point they will have to stop development.”
New engine for reliability
Red Bull boss Christian Horner can’t disagree. “Under the budget cap, it’s hard to make constant updates. Especially with inflation soaring, which is brutal.” Added to this are high transportation and shipping costs, which puts pressure on the wallet. Horner firmly believes Ferrari will be strong at Barcelona. “They can shine in high-speed corners.” Turns 3 and 9 mean.
Both red cars already have the second engine of the season. Ferrari was allowed to modify its V6 turbo engine due to a reliability issue. The first command units should only do their work on Fridays. Ferrari installs the new hybrid system only with the third engine in the car.