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Ferrari reveal surprising weakness in F1 title fight

Ferrari struggled for performance last time out in Montreal and has now identified a key weakness with its SF-24 car.

Leclerc Canada
To news overview © XPBimages

Following its struggles at the Canadian Grand Prix, Ferrari has discovered its car underperforms when it is operating on a damp, cool track.

Both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz failed to advance into the final Q3 segment of qualifying around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, just two weeks after it emerged victorious at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Ferrari's weekend went from bad to worse as both cars failed to reach the chequered flag on race day, securing zero points from the event.

Having combined the data with findings from similar weather conditions from China earlier this year, the Italian squad has concluded that extracting performance in cold conditions is a fundamental weakness of the car.

“Montreal was tough,” senior Ferrari engineer Jock Clear told media including RacingNews365

“Interestingly, we didn't go there suspecting that we would have any issues.  We were really scratching our heads at times.

“We thought we were quite competitive on Friday, certainly we looked quite competitive in the wet and on the inters. And then when it dried up for qualifying, we really didn't have any performance.

“The underlying performance wasn't where we thought it should be. Then you look back at China and you start to think ‘Okay, there's a bit of a picture here’.

“We didn't completely deconstruct China and understand it fully but now you add that to Canada, and you think when the track is moist or a little bit damp and cold, we are relatively worse off than others.”

Ferrari confident over Q3 competitiveness

Clear believes that if its drivers had managed to progress into Q3, it would have been towards the top end of the pecking order as the track warmed up.

“Of course, it's that relatively worse off than others that makes all the difference,” he said.

“In our simulations, we don't have the ability to look at a damp track, you can only compare yourself to others.

“So in Canada, I think Charles failed to get into Q3 by five-hundredths of a second, those five-hundredths of a second are a little bit of a mistake here. You get into Q3, it's a little bit warmer, the track has dried up a little bit more.

“And suddenly, maybe you can qualify P4, and you think, 'Oh, we're fine'. 

“But it's those really fine margins that as soon as the track is cold, we just didn't have the performance we would normally expect to have going into Q3.”

Also interesting:

Join Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding in the latest episode of the RacingNews365 podcast, looking ahead to this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix. 

The trio discuss how significant this weekend is in the title fight, whether Red Bull's advantage will return and if Andrea Kimi Antonelli will now make his F1 debut at just 17 years old. Much, much more is also discussed! 

Rather watch then listen to our podcast? Click here.

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