F1 Raceweek: Ferrari looking to kick-start season with SF90 updates in Baku

By Ben Spratt 23 April 2019 267
F1 Raceweek: Ferrari looking to kick-start season with SF90 updates in Baku

The 2019 Formula One season has been tough for Ferrari, prompting changes ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Scuderia have watched rivals Mercedes secure three consecutive one-twos to start the campaign, while Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc have each endured early struggles.

But team principal Mattia Binotto revealed Ferrari have been working hard ahead of this weekend's race in Baku.

The Italian outfit have decided to implement their first set of in-season updates in order to improve the SF90, which has not yet performed as expected for Vettel and Leclerc.

"Coming off the back of three races that definitely didn't go the way we wanted, this GP is another important moment for us," Binotto said.

"We have prepared for it very well, analysing all the data we have acquired up until now, looking at areas where we can improve and working on adapting the car's set-up and the power-unit management to the characteristics of the track.

"In fact, Baku features a very long straight, which places special demands on the engine, both the internal combustion part as well as the hybrid elements.

"It's relatively easy to overtake on this track, partly due to the DRS, especially this year as it has a greater effect than in the past.

"The track surface is very smooth, which means tyre wear is generally low, but as the tyres therefore generate less energy, it can be difficult to get them in the right working temperature range.

"We know from past experience that there's a high probability of the safety car appearing on track in Baku and therefore it's an important aspect to consider when looking at the race strategy.

"We are bringing a few updates to Baku, as the first step in the development of the SF90."

 

TALK OF THE PADDOCK

Can anyone stop championship leader Lewis Hamilton? Because it is not just Ferrari who have endured a tough start to the year.

Daniel Ricciardo is still getting to grips with his Renault move and the rest of the midfield are not faring much better.

Recent weeks have therefore been spent lauding Hamilton and already discussing another drivers' title, even at this early stage.

Baku is unpredictable, though, and there might be an opportunity for a rival to at least slow the defending champion this weekend.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen - third in the standings - certainly hopes so. He said: "It's always an exciting weekend and a lot of things can happen. It's a big show and hopefully this year's race will make for a good story."

 

RACEWEEK SCHEDULE (all times local)

Friday 
FP1 (10:00-11:30)
FP2 (14:00-15:30)

Saturday 
FP3 (11:00-12:00)
Qualifying (14:00-15:00)

Sunday 
Race (13:10-15:10)

F1 FACT

Mercedes could become the first team to start an F1 season with four successive one-twos.

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018: Lewis Hamilton
2017: Daniel Ricciardo

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Ben Spratt

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