Ferrari believe they may have wiped out their biggest deficit to Red Bull with a new rear wing first debuted at the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix.
Earlier in the 2022 Formula 1 season, Red Bull dominated the straight-line speed battle over their rivals with an advantage of up to 10 km/h, despite Ferrari having possibly the better overall package.
Despite an FIA-imposed engine freeze meaning there’s a limit to how the teams can address the problem, the Italian team is confident that they’ve solved the issue.
“In terms of power of their DRS, compared to ours, we worked a lot on it,” team principal Mattia Binotto told Motorsport.com.
“So the new rear wing that we introduced first with Charles in Canada, we have had it on both cars since UK.
“We had a disadvantage compared to the Red Bull, no doubt, in terms of straight-line speed – especially in DRS zones, but with that new rear wing I think we have reduced the gap we had in terms of speed.
“I think they still have got a slight advantage, but it’s very little or negligible.”
Despite the Canadian Grand Prix showing signs of improvement for Leclerc, Montreal was perhaps the biggest exposure of Ferrari’s weaknesses on the straights.
In the 16-lap sprint to the finish, second-placed Carlos Sainz was consistently in DRS range of Max Verstappen but was unable to even get alongside the Red Bull, meaning the Dutchman took the win.
New performance not a compromise
However, Binotto insisted his team aren’t sacrificing the rest of their performance to address their biggest weakness.
“In the power limited [corners], we are very close,” Binotto said. “Then it’s only about the grip limited corners where we can make the difference.
“I think [in Austria] we have been fast, not only because of the car, but because I think the two drivers made a fantastic weekend in terms of car balance, car setup, understanding the tyres, managing the tyres and driving on track.”
The F1 circus next heads to the Circuit Paul Ricard for the 2022 French Grand Prix where straight-line speed will again be crucial, so that will provide the perfect test for Ferrari‘s bold claims.