Scuderia Ferrari need to improve their downforce and traction if they are to challenge Mercedes at the Monaco Grand Prix, according to Red Bull’s Helmut Marko. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have finished first and second in all five races this year, something which had previously never been done by any team.
And Marko, a Red Bull advisor and head of their development program, believes that Scuderia Ferrari face an incredibly tough task in Monaco: “If Ferrari cannot generate downforce and traction, they’ll probably only finish sixth or seventh in Monaco,” Marko told AutoBild. – “But their weakness was evident in the last race in Barcelona, which is most reminiscent of Monaco. Their engine is very good but they lacked downforce and extreme traction.” – he explained.
Lewis Hamilton has won three races this season, including last time out when he picked up a fourth Spanish Grand Prix victory of his career. The gap between the two Mercedes and the next best placed driver in the standings, Max Verstappen, is 39 points. And the gulf in the constructors standings is even wider, with Mercedes leading Ferrari by a staggering 96 points. Meanwhile, Ferrari’s woes have persisted throughout the start of the season, with Hamilton’s main rival during pre-season, Sebastian Vettel, down in fourth.
Charles Leclerc’s performance in Bahrain is the only Ferrari result this season where either car was within 10 seconds of the race winner. It is unprecedented just how superior Mercedes are, and Marko insists it is the car and not the drivers which are pulling them so far clear of everyone else.
The other teams could find some belief by looking at the past two seasons when Mercedes have failed to win. Daniel Ricciardo took the victory last year and Sebastian Vettel won the 2017 race, though the four years before those saw a clean sweep of Mercedes victories.
Incredibly, victory for Ferrari on Sunday would be just their second victory in Monte Carlo since Michael Schumacher won the race back in 2001.