McLaren eager to see if Ferrari Portimão pace was 'one off'

McLaren F1 boss Andreas Seidl is impatient to find out at Imola if Ferrari's pace in Portugal was... The post McLaren eager to see if Ferrari Portimão pace was 'one off' appeared first on F1i.com.

McLaren eager to see if Ferrari Portimão pace was 'one off'

McLaren F1 boss Andreas Seidl is impatient to find out at Imola if Ferrari's pace in Portugal was a "one off" or the result of a fundamental improvement of the Scuderia's SF1000 car.

At the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve last Sunday, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc followed up an impressive P4 in qualifying with an equally solid drive to fourth on Sunday.

The Scuderia introduced a new floor and diffuser in Portugal, elements that may have contributed to Leclerc's strong pace, but Seidl wants to see more before considering the Italian outfit a genuine threat to McLaren which is locked in a titanic battle for third in the Constructors' standings with Racing Point and Renault.

"Obviously it was an impressive race that Charles did," Seidl said in Portugal. "As we always said, we never underestimated the ability of Ferrari striking back already during this season.

"It will be interesting if they have solved the issues we have seen in previous races when they also had strong qualifying performance but they were dropping back quite quickly in the race with the tyres degrading.

"So this obviously was a special tarmac here, special conditions and the car they had, they could put up a very impressive race pace with the Medium and the Hard tyre which I think no one else could do.

"So therefore, it will be interesting to see if it was just a one off or if they have solved the issue they had in previous races."

McLaren's Sunday at Portimão yielded a sixth-place finish for Carlos Sainz while Lando Norris' day was undermined by contact with Lance Stroll.

The positive result allowed McLaren to outscore Racing Point and Renault, but the German insists the papaya squad will need to hold its own, and then some, at Imola.

"Looking ahead, we need to build on last weekend and continue to extract the most out of the cars to keep us in the fight with our competitors," Seidl said.

"I know the entire team back home and at track are continuing to work hard to give us the best chance to compete."

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Ecclestone 'pressured' Lawrence Stroll to sign up Vettel

Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone says he intervened to convince Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll to sign up... The post Ecclestone 'pressured' Lawrence Stroll to sign up Vettel appeared first on F1i.com.

Ecclestone 'pressured' Lawrence Stroll to sign up Vettel

Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone says he intervened to convince Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll to sign up four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel was informed by Ferrari last spring that he did not figure in the Italian outfit's plans for 2021, an announcement that was followed by the news of Carlos Sainz's move from McLaren to the Scuderia for next season.

Given the lack of top drives in F1 for 2021, many believed Vettel would call it a day on his time in the sport or perhaps enjoy a year on the sidelines and await a fresh opportunity to return to the fray.

In the end however, Vettel will embark on a new challenge next year with midfield contender Racing Point which will race under the Aston Martin Racing from next year.

©Ferrari

Ecclestone, who celebrated his 90th birthday yesterday, has remained close to Vettel in recent years, and Mr. E says he played a role in helping his friend seal his deal with Racing Point.

"We talk on the phone a lot," Ecclestone told German broadcaster Sport1.

"I listen to him and then give him my assessment of things. I also helped him make the deal with Aston Martin work.

"I really put pressure on team owner Lawrence Stroll to take Sebastian.

"I told him how good Sebastian was still and that in the end it would be a win-win situation for everyone if the deal went through. I think my arguments helped convince him."

Vettel's final campaign with Ferrari has turned into an excruciating year that can't end soon enough for the 33-year-old who has been comprehensively outpaced at every opportunity by teammate Charles Leclerc.

Such has been Vettel's underperformance relative to Leclerc that Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto felt compelled to clarify that there are no differences between its drivers' cars.

But Ecclestone isn't so sure and he believes Vettel will have an opportunity to restore his former luster next year.

"Leclerc is certainly a huge talent," Bernie said. "But so was Sebastian Vettel, still is. And he has more experience. So he should actually be in the lead. But since he isn’t, there must be other reasons.

"Ferrari has always been a rather opaque team, where domestic politics has always played a major role. Actually, it was only at the time of Michael Schumacher that everyone was pulling in the same direction.

"Fortunately, Sebastian Vettel has a new challenge next year at Aston Martin. There he will give the answer to the doubters who no longer believe in his abilities this year."

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