Ferrari still investigating Vettel’s big crash

Ferrari is still not happy that it has got to the root cause of Sebastian Vettel’s heavy accident on Wednesday, and will continue the investigation back at base in Maranello.

The SF90 suffered heavy damage when it crashed into the TecPro barriers at turn 3 midway through Wednesday morning’s pre-season test session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The team spent the rest of the day repairing the car, which limited Charles Leclerc’s afternoon participation to a single shakedown lap. After that it was decided to adjust the driver rosta to give Charles Leclerc the whole of Thursday’s track time, with Vettel returning to wrap things up on Friday.

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Although hampered by the extent of the damage, Ferrari eventually concluded that the cause was an external object damaging the left front wheel rim on the car, which caused Vettel to lose control and plough nose-first through the gravel.

  • Ferrari is not out in front of the rest, insists Binotto

But Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto isn’t happy to leave it there and wants to ensure there is no repeat of the scary events once the season gets underway in two weeks time in Melbourne.

“We took a look through all the data to try to understand the origin and the cause of the problem,” Binotto told the media on Friday. “I think it’s been a very unlucky situation.

“We believe the issue was a rim failure,” he commented. “The rim has been damaged by an external hit when running on the track, so [it’s] the type of thing we can not avoid.

“On our side that’s the best explanation we’ve got so far,” he added, sounding less than entirely convinced about the conclusion at this point.

“We will still make sure and look deeper in all the details and data,” he acknowledged. “[We will] address any issue that may be still potential[ly].”

The late problems with Vettel’s accident and further cooling checks on the car rather took the shine off what had looked to be a strong winter test for the team with Vettel successfully setting the fastest time of anyone.

“Our programme has not run as we were hoping,” said Binotto. “We cannot be completely satisfied at the moment as we would like to be faster and more reliable.

“So there’s still a lot to do. Our programme didn’t always run as smoothly as we would have liked, due to reliability issues and Sebastian’s crash

“We are not yet ready for Melbourne, there’s still some days to there. Most of the tasks [still] need to be done.

“I think the fight will still be very high,” he replied when asked if Ferrari was feeling better prepared for this year’s season opener than they did 12 months ago.

“Last season was a difficult winter testing but first because of the weather conditions,” Binotto continued. “It’s quite a different situation, sunny and great ambient temperature.

“These past days have been very intensive and interesting. We are still focusing on our car to understand its limits in terms of performance and reliability.

“Overall, I am pleased with the work we have carried out,” he said. “I am pleased with how the car behaves and it was well balanced at this track.

“However, we cannot be completely satisfied at the moment,” he cautioned. “There are still many issues to be addressed and we must push forward on the performance front.

“The fact that our car is running properly is a good starting point, but we are still not ready for Melbourne and I’d say it’s a case of a work in progress.”

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