Perhaps stirred on by his former boss Helmut Marko during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, Sebastian Vettel was convinced that changes made to Pirelli tyres ahead of the race handed an advantage to Mercedes while subtly questioning why the changes were even necessary.
Pirelli made the changes to their Barcelona tyres to contain excessive blistering, thus the rubber depth was reduced to prevent this from becoming a safety hazard.
During the first day, of two days, of testing at Circuit de Catalunya, Pirelli and Ferrari were able to run back-to-back tests with the original tyre spec and compare to the one used on the grand prix weekend.
The results vindicated the decision and forced Vettel to acknowledge that his suggestions Mercedes receiving favourable treatment were well off the mark.
Vettel conceded at the end of his day of testing, “I think it’s pretty straightforward – obviously you don’t get the chance to revisit these kinds of decisions that are made but we did it today and the result is that if we had had the normal tires on Sunday, it would have probably been worse, so it was the correct call.”
“It was our fault for not having the same tire wear or life as other people. It’s good to have the test to be able to compare and I think we have some ideas. Now it’s up to us to turn those ideas into reality. As I said it was good in terms of timing, coming from a poor weekend for us.”
“We were not quick enough and more than not being quick enough we were struggling to make the tires last – these things have a link – so it was good to have a possibility to revisit it and now it’s up to us to take action.”
Vettel seems to believe that the slump Ferrari had in Barcelona was circuit specific, “I think we had our struggles, which explains our performance. Obviously it looked like from the outside they had a stronger weekend, without any big issues, but we need to look at ourselves, focus on our car and our problems, so we’ll be stronger again.”
The four times F1 World Champion trails Hamilton in the championship standings by 17 points after five rounds.
On Wednesday Ferrari junior driver Antonio Giovinazzi takes over the Ferrari cockpit for the day.