All Messages 2019

Test Abu DhabiJust over 36 hours on from the final Grand Prix of the 2019 season, Sebastian Vettel was back on track in Abu Dhabi for the first of two days testing which marks the end of the year. The Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow driver completed 136 laps, equivalent to 755 kilometres, twice Sunday’s race distance.

First hour. In the first 60 minutes, the teams were allowed to fit aero measurement devices to the cars. In this configuration, Sebastian did four runs with rakes and other data collection sensors.

Morning. After 10am, the Pirelli test programme began with teams running a comparison between the 2019 and 2020 Pirelli tyres, for the first time since they initially tried next year’s rubber during free practice for the United States Grand Prix in Austin. Back then, testing had been inconclusive because of the very cold weather and the fact that the Circuit of the Americas track is very bumpy. Shortly after noon, the team spotted an anomaly on the SF90s exhaust system and brought Sebastian in early to check out the problem.

Afternoon. The German was back on track before 13.30 and then got through the programme without a hitch. Vettel tried all the compounds available, both 2019 and 2020, doing several long runs. His best time of 1’37”991 was set at the start of the afternoon on the C5 compound and ended up being the second best of the day behind Valtteri Bottas’ 1’37”124. Charles Leclerc will be at the wheel for Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow tomorrow, the year’s last day of track action.

Sebastian Vettel #5
“It was a useful day to get a proper idea of the 2020 tyres in comparison with this year’s. So today, a comparison was our main task and we tried to maximize the track time, completing well over 100 laps.
Tomorrow there’s another day to evaluate the tyres with Charles and it will be important to record his feedback.”


Photo © | Jerry Andre

2019 | 12 | 01 GP Abu Dhabi Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow rounded off its 2019 season with a third and a fifth place for Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel respectively. It was the Monegasque’s tenth podium of the season, the Scuderia’s 19th.

First stop. At the start, Charles managed to pass Max Verstaqppen for second place and chased after race leader Lewis Hamilton, who was outpacing everyone on track. Sebastian also tried to pass the Dutch Red Bull driver, but had to settle for fourth. Both drivers came in for their pit stop on lap 12: Charles was trying to avoid being undercut by Verstappen and Sebastian because he had started on the soft tyres. They both fitted Hards, while Verstappen and Hamilton stayed out for a further 13 and 14 laps respectively. The Englishman kept the lead, while Verstappen came out behind Charles, but thanks to his fresher rubber, was able to overtake the Monegasque to go second on lap 32.

Second stop. At this point, the team realised the pace wasn’t quick enough on the hard tyre and brought its drivers in once more to put them out on fresh tyres. Again they came in on the same lap 38, with Leclerc taking on softs and Vettel mediums. Charles stayed third, managing to fend off Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages, while Sebastian who had lost two places to the Finn and Alex Albon, managed to pass the Thai to finish fifth.

Season summary. Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow finished second in the Constructors’ while Charles is fourth and Sebastian fifth in the Drivers’. Overall the team took nine pole positions, Charles securing more than any other driver with seven (four of which in a row). Then there were the three wins, two for Charles at Spa and Monza and one for Sebastian in Singapore and a total of 19 podium finishes. Although the season is over, there is still one appendix to it in the shape of a two day tyre test at this track on Tuesday (Sebastian) and Wednesday (Charles).

Sebastian Vettel #5
“At the start I didn’t have anywhere to go and then, the fact the DRS didn’t work didn’t help, because that was when I had an advantage with the tyres over Max (Verstappen), which then faded later on in the stint. After the first pitstop I wasn’t very competitive and so we pitted again. In that moment we lost two places and I was only able to recover one of them, because today Mercedes was simply too fast.
All in all we didn’t have the year that we were hoping for. The reasons are clear and lessons have been learned so now we just have to take them on board.
I think as a team we must grow, but I have to say that this year has not been ideal from my side, even if I don’t think it was as bad as it looks. There were many small things that contributed to what maybe didn’t look like a great picture in the end.
I know I can do better, that is for sure the target for next year, to make a step forward. Hopefully we will have a strong package with which we are able to fight with our rivals. Now I will focus on the test and then I will be happy to get some rest”.


Photo © | Jerry Andre

2019 | 11 | 30 GP Abu DhabiThe Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow drivers will start tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from the second row of the grid, with Charles Leclerc on the third spot, using Medium tyres, while Sebastian Vettel will be alongside him running the Softs. The race begins at 17.10 local (14.10 CET).

Q1. Both drivers took to the track on Soft tyres, with Charles doing two timed laps to post a 1’36”480 and a 1’36”478, to go fifth fastest. Sebastian spun at the start of his first run but got through in seventh place in 1’36”963.

Q2. In this session, both Ferraris started on Soft tyres with first laps good enough to make the cut: 1’35”697 for Leclerc and 1’35”786 for Vettel. Given that the track was evolving rapidly, the team decided to send Charles out again on the Mediums and opt for a different tyre strategy to Sebastian’s. The Monegasque managed to improve with a 1’35”543, on the same tyre as Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas.

Q3. Having made it through to the final session, the plan was to go for two timed runs. Charles first did a 1’35”219, good enough for fourth and a tenth quicker than Sebastian’s fifth placed time of 1’35”339. They then both pitted for a new set of Softs.

Second run. The team waited until the final seconds of the session before sending the two SF90s back out, with the intention of benefiting from the best possible track conditions. However, on the warm-up lap, the train of cars that was running ahead of Sebastian, slowed down, as all the drivers were trying to get the best possible run at a clean lap. As a consequence, Sebastian did not get his tyres up to temperature, made a mistake at the first corner and failed to improve his time. Charles didn’t even get to cross the line to start his lap before the chequered flag was waved. So Leclerc and Vettel had to settle for fourth and fifth, but with Bottas going to the back of the grid with a penalty, the Ferraris will start alongside one another on the second row, behind Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

Sebastian Vettel #5
“I will start from P4 tomorrow but today’s Q3 was not ideal. We are struggling a lot in the final sector where there are some corners in which we are simply not quick enough. It’s probably not the best track for us, but we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.
In the last part of the session it was a pity because everybody was so slow. As a result, my tyres were too cold when I started my lap and I lost the car immediately in the first corner. And Charles wasn’t even able to start his lap. The reason why we are slow in the last corner is maybe that we are sliding more than the others, because we are struggling to get the tyres working correctly.
Tomorrow we will do our best, but it won’t be an easy race. But we are looking for opportunities. That’s why we have chosen a different tyre compound and will see if we are right to start on Softs.”


Photo © | Jerry Andre

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