Ferrari to take first step in SF90 development in Baku


Ferrari will introduce updates for its SF90 in Baku where the Italian outfit will initiate its development programme for its 2019 contender.

Despite its strong form in pre-season testing, the Scuderia failed to live up to expectations in the first three races of the season, its SF90 under-performing in Melbourne and China while an engine issue robbed Charles Leclerc of a win in Bahrain.

Meanwhile, arch-rival Mercedes scored a perfect one-two at each race, and heads Ferrari in the Constructors' standings by 57 points.

At the outset this year, Ferrari's SF90 has set the standard in terms of straight-line speed, but the car's low downforce profile has also proven problematic over a full lap.

"Coming off the back of three races that definitely didn’t go the way we wanted, this GP is another important moment for us," said Scuderia boss Mattia Binotto ahead of next weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

"We have prepared for it very well, analysing all the data we have acquired up until now, looking at areas where we can improve and working on adapting the car’s set-up and the power unit management to the characteristics of the track.

"In fact, Baku features a very long straight, which places special demands on the engine, both the internal combustion part as well as the hybrid elements.

"It’s relatively easy to overtake on this track, partly due to the DRS, especially this year as it has a greater effect than in the past.

"The track surface is very smooth, which means tyre wear is generally low, but as the tyres therefore generate less energy, it can be difficult to get them in the right working temperature range.

"We know from past experience that there’s a high probability of the Safety Car appearing on track in Baku and therefore it’s an important aspect to consider when looking at the race strategy.

"We are bringing a few updates to Baku, as the first step in the development of the SF90."

Baku's blend of long straights and tight corners will challenge drivers and engineers in their search for optimal downforce settings

"A big challenge at Baku is to find the right wing level to get good grip for the slow corners but also to be fast enough on the straights where we spend a lot of time at full throttle. It’s not an easy compromise," says Sebastian Vettel in the team's preview.

Team mate Charles Leclerc underlines the characteristics of Baku's layout where focus is essential.

"Azerbaijan is one of my favourite tracks of the season, I simply love it and I’ve always performed very well there, having won and got another podium finish in Formula 2 and also scored my first Formula 1 points last year," says the Monegasque.

"I always enjoy driving on it, especially the castle part with all those tight corners.

"It’s a unique track, you cannot find anything like it anywhere else in the world, so it’s pretty special.

"The rule is quite simple: never lose focus during the race otherwise at the first mistake you’re in the wall. Baku is a demanding track, but I can’t wait."

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