And although Leclerc’s magical driving last weekend during the Austrian GP earned the Italian team a second-place finish, Sunday’s drop out compounded a tough start to the season.
But after watching his cars struggle for speed for the second weekend in a row, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says the team must “change this state of affairs.”
“We worked very hard to bring updates to the car earlier than planned, but they didn’t show their worth on track.”
‘Excuses are not enough’
The incident between Vettel and Leclerc took place on turn three of the opening lap, as Leclerc tried to slip past his teammate on the inside, only for the German to narrow the gap and make contact.
Vettel’s rear wing was held on by barely a thread and Leclerc’s front wing and floor were badly damaged, meaning both cars had hobble to the pits.
But having sustained so much damage, Vettel was forced to retire immediately, with Leclerc only able to complete three more laps before also retiring. Leclerc apologized to Vettel after the race.
“I can only be sorry, even though I know it’s not enough. I hope I will learn from this and we will come back stronger for the next races.”
Ross Brawn, F1 managing director and technical director of Ferrari during its period of domination in the 2000’s with Michael Schumacher, said the team has “a long road ahead.”
“The management have to cope with it and make sure the staff maintain the faith and stay focused on what needs to be done. They aren’t going to turn it around overnight, and there’s a long road ahead of them. They need to find out if there is a fundamental problem with the car — and they need to find out fast — because clearly they are some way off the pace.”
The 2020 season continues next weekend with the Hungarian GP.