At the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, Scuderia Ferrari went through one of the most difficult weekends of the 2022 Formula 1 season not so much from the point of view of the final result – which is caused by of the problems that lie ahead – as of the lack of performance that forced the F1-75 of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Charles Leclerc to spend the Belgian Grand Prix as spectators on a Red Bull completely dominated in the Ardennes.
The RB18 cars had already shown a great pace on Friday, but in very different track conditions. In the free practice sessions the asphalt temperatures were very low, from 20 to 15 degrees, while today the race took place with 36 degrees.
This, at least on paper, should have been an advantage for the F1-75 cars, who are always very fast in high temperatures, and, at the same time, could have caused tire management problems for Red Bull. None of this has happened, because the cars designed by Newey have confirmed their dominance, just as the Ferrari cars have also been struggling to manage the tires.
Technical Directive 39 was introduced over the Spa-Francorchamps weekend, a plan devised by the FIA to remedy the porpoising effect that caused much discussion during the August break. Never had Ferrari revealed such difficulties as this weekend in Spa: Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz weren’t able at any moment to fight for the victory and the Spaniard almost lost third place to George Russell unleashed thanks to a competitive Mercedes W13 in terms of race pace.
At the end of the race, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto spoke in an interview for Sky UK, claiming that the Technical Directive 39 did not massively affect Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc‘s performance in Belgium.
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“No, this is certainly not the case. I don’t know how it influenced other teams, but as far as Ferrari is concerned, it has an entirely negligible influence,” said the Italian manager at the end of the race in Belgium – “So that’s not the answer to our lack of performance today. As I said, this is the kind of track where great efficiency is needed, both in terms of aerodynamics and power unit, and I think Red Bulls simply had a better package today from this point of view. Also, they had better tire degradation. It had nothing to do with the floor. So that’s not the reason. So we have to consider other kinds of reasons to improve the situation. Red Bull have simply been stronger than us this weekend “, concluded Mattia Binotto.
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