After a weekend off, Formula 1 is back with another triple-header, starting with this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
The first three rounds of the 2020 season provided plenty of talking points, and many of them are long-running topics that we can expect to evolve as the paddock reconvenes for the next batch:
- Ferrari’s restructure
There was good news for Ferrari fans on Saturday in Budapest as Sebasian Vettel and Charles Leclerc managed to secure the third row in qualifying, with both cars in the top six and ahead of both Red Bulls. Race pace was still lacking though, and Leclerc finished outside the points while Vettel just held on to P6 ahead of Sergio Perez.
Team principal Mattia Binotto hinted at changes after that race and a few days later the confirmation arrived that there had been a technical team restructure at Ferrari to try and improve how quickly they can find car performance.
Nobody senior lost their jobs – Binotto was keen to point out that’s not what he believes is the best way to progress – but over the coming weeks it will be interesting to see if there is any noticeable impact in the short term.
- Increased calendar certainty
One of the many unusual aspects of the current season is the fact that we don’t know for sure how many races there will be and therefore how many points drivers are fighting for. On top of that, there’s an impact on the regulations and how many power unit components can be used depending on the size of the calendar.
But the picture is becoming clearer, with the announcement on Friday that we will be racing at the Nurburgring, Portimao and Imola later this year, but not heading to the United States, Mexico, Brazil or Canada. That gives us 13 confirmed races with more still to be announced, but there’s a clear shape to the season now and teams can plan through to early November.
Given the iconic nature of some of the newly-announced venues – we last raced at the Nurburgring in 2013 and Imola in 2006 – expect plenty of driver opinions about what it will be like to return there this year.
- Seb won’t swap his helmet for a mic
Sebastian Vettel won’t be swapping his helmet for a microphone even if he does decide not to continuing racing beyond this season.
The four-time World Champion is currently considering his options for next season after Ferrari informed him that it would not be renewing his contract.
Seb has stated several times that he is keen to continue in Formula 1 with the German believed to be considering an offer from Racing Point. However, should he decide not to remain in Formula 1 after this season, don’t expect him to join the likes of Nico Rosberg or Jenson Button in the commentary booth.
“I don’t see myself as a TV expert,” grandprix247.com quotes the 33-year-old as having told Sky Deutschland – “I like to talk, but I’m not sure I would be in good hands there. I think it’s easier to give answers than to ask questions and keep track of where the conversation is going. I don’t think it’s that easy, you have to prepare for it and so on. After a while you may better at it, but I don’t know.”
- “Long time” to solve Ferrari’s car troubles
Mattia Binotto admits it will take a “long time” to solve Ferrari’s car troubles as the SF1000 is “lagging behind in all areas”. Following pre-season testing, Ferrari conceded that its 2020 car, the SF1000, is lacking in pace compared to the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull.
However, after the first race of the championship, the Austrian Grand Prix, the Italian stable admitted it was worse than it had initially thought.
Ferrari failed to get both drivers out of Q2 at the two Red Bull Ring races while at the Hungaroring Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc were 1.3s down on pole position. Unable to recover in the race, both drivers were lapped by race winner Lewis Hamilton. Three races into this season and Ferrari is down in fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship having managed just 27 points, 94 points behind Mercedes.
Mattia Binotto fears it will be a long road back: “It will take a long time,” the team boss confessed to Motorsport-Total.com.
Adding that the problems “cannot be solved within a few weeks”, the Italian said: “I think we need patience. I’ve said many times that we are lagging behind in all areas. And if you need to improve all areas, it won’t be with a single trick or a simple solution or a single update package.”