Sebastian Vettel admits Ferrari have not been fast enough in F1 2019 – and is not optimistic of finding a "silver bullet" to catch up with Mercedes.
Ferrari were expected to be title challengers this season but, as the sport hit a pause for the summer break, the famous Italian team have yet to win a single race and the improving Red Bull are now hot on their heels in the Constructors’ Championship.
The Hungarian GP highlighted Ferrari’s weaknesses, with Vettel finishing over a minute behind race-winner Lewis Hamilton on the twisty track, and the German admitted the deficit was a fair reflection of what the team are missing.
I tried everything but obviously I can’t be happy as we weren’t fast, said Vettel. There’s a lot of homework for us, but it wasn’t really an eye-opener for us as we knew it before.
We know that in the corners we struggle, and the nature of race tracks is that they have corners in them so we’d like to build a car faster in the corners.
Ferrari have been testing various aerodynamic upgrades in recent months but Vettel added: Currently, it’s not enough.
It’s not so easy to come up with magic solutions. You always look for a silver bullet, but I’ve never come across a guy who’s actually found one in over 10 years. We’ll keep looking though.
Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto agreed, telling Sky Sports F1: I don’t think there’s any magic [formula]. It’s not something you do in a few days.
It’s a medium to long-term activity that we need to address but that doesn’t mean that every single circuit will be like Hungary.
The Ferrari boss continued: How is it possible that a week ago [in Germany] we have the fastest car and here we are not the fastest? It’s very track dependent.
We know that our car is lacking maximum downforce and when we are on a track like Budapest where maximum downforce is required, we are certainly suffering.
Vettel critical of Ferrari’s, and his own, performances
Ferrari are 150 points behind Mercedes in the standings and are only 44 ahead of Red Bull, whose star driver Max Verstappen has won two races this year.
I think it was a bit up and down, said Vettel, reflecting on the first half of the season. Some races we were a bit better, some worse. I think it’s clear that we’re not where we want to be – you look at the points table and tracks where we’re performing compared to others.
We are addressing those things and working very hard. I think the key is to remain calm, do our homework and catch up as much as we can.
And it is not just Ferrari’s form that Vettel has been disappointed with. The four-time world champion, who made big mistakes in Bahrain, Canada and Great Britain, rated his own performances as a ‘5/10’ in F1 2019.
Not happy with the first half, Vettel admitted. I think I struggled here and there to really get on top of the car.
I think we’ve been trying a lot of things so fair enough. Obviously we wanted to squeeze out more so you’re always looking for more but I feel I can do a better job in the second half.
He continued: I have to be critical with myself because here and there I didn’t do the best job. That’s something I need to focus on and need to get better on, it needs addressing.