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Tyres at the heart of SF90's problems

NEWS STORY
24/05/2019

In the build up to this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, Mattia Binotto said that following the Barcelona in-season test his team would be "evaluating new concepts".

Speaking in the Principality, the Italian went into more detail as Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc appeared to lose ground to Red Bull on the opening day of practice.

"In Spain it was quite obvious that in certain conditions, in the third sector slow corners, we were losing a lot of time compared to Mercedes," he told reporters. "Why? That's certainly something we need to look at and try to give some explanation as well as addressing the development.

"The tyres this season are quite different to the ones of last year," he continued. "No blame, it's a matter of fact. The main difference is that last year we all had very good warm up on the tyres, and we were all focused on cooling the tyres as much as we could to keep them working because the temperatures were lower, the grip was better.

"The tyres of this season are quite different in this respect," he added. "Warm up is a lot more difficult, and the window also, temperature targets, to get the best grip from the tyres itself, to achieve it you need to heat up the tyres.

"So in terms of cooling them down you need to heat them up. How can you achieve that? Certainly you can achieve that through braking temperatures, it's rims cooling but overall it's downforce.

"No doubt the downforce has absolute value but is how you balance the downforce high speed to low speed," he said, "it may be as well, let me say, how you may even target your aero development efficiency versus maximum downforce itself.

"I think we've got a car that's quite efficient, you can see it on the straight," he added. "But it doesn't mean we've got the car that's got the highest downforce in the pitlane. Sometimes, when discussing targets, it means that we need some more in term of final concept, are you better looking for maximum downforce or efficiency?

"No doubt it is depending on how the tyres are working and what is required, so overall it's an interaction between the aero itself, suspension no doubt, because how you balance your aero through the corner, and overall it's the full package."

Reflecting on the opening day in Monaco, he admitted that in the weeks and month since pre-season testing the team's confidence has taken a hard knock.

"After winter testing our confidence in the performance was higher than today, no doubt," he said. "If you look as well at the classification today there are a lot of points to be recovered.

"But the goal is still the same," he added. "Looking race-by-race, trying to optimise the car, trying to develop the car and show that we have potential in developing a car and understanding its technical base concept.

"As a team we need to show that we are still improving ourselves day-by-day and I think by doing so by looking race by race, I think the sum again will be done on the very end."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Monaco, here.

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