How Ferrari won in Austria after spying on Red Bull on Saturday

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Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclercsurpassed by Max Verstappen in Saturday’s sprint race in Spielberg, noticed that the tire wear of the red bull was greater than that observed in the Ferrari. It was at that moment that the Maranello pilots realized that the Austrian GP in formula 1 was not yet lost. At the briefingthe red engineers took note of the competitors’ indications and released a new simulation with data that pointed to Red Bull’s downfall.

No sooner said than done. And the race won by Leclerc at the Red Bull Ring took the Monegasque to the fifth victory of his career. All with a ‘precedent’: at the end of the sprint, while the interviews of the top three were taking place, Charles and his Spanish teammate went to see the tires of Verstappen’s RB18.

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The two Ferraris, who had been fighting each other in the first laps of the sprint, were not less than 1s from the Dutchman, therefore within the DRS (mobile wing) activation window, allowing Verstappen to gain a safe distance, even giving the impression that the 2021 world champion and 2022 leader was controlling the race, with some leeway should Leclerc approach.

The end of Saturday showed a Ferrari defeated at Red Bull’s home and it was easy to predict a similar event also in Sunday’s 71-lap race. It was not like that: at the top of the podium was Leclerc, with a Ferrari that seemed to be back to the performance of the beginning of the season, when he set the pace thanks to a perfect control of tire consumption. So how was the ‘transformation’ of the red car possible, from underdog in Saturday’s race to dominator on Sunday?

2022 Austrian F1 GP podium

2022 Austrian F1 GP podium

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Sainz’s acumen (captured by Motorsport Images in the featured photo of this article as he ‘scanned’ Max’s tires after Saturday’s sprint race) and also Leclerc’s (see below) ‘ignited’ Ferrari hope.

Leclerc watches Verstappen's car

Leclerc watches Verstappen’s car

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The fact is that Red Bull initially managed to hide its problem with the tires, since on Saturday Verstappen’s tank was light, unlike Sunday’s case (106 kg of gasoline), which widened the deficit of the RB18 against the F1-75. in the heaviest scenario of the GP itself.

And the Austrian car has a virtue: in the first two or three laps it manages to trigger the temperature of the tires almost immediately, bringing the rubbers into the proper operating window, giving the drivers the opportunity to build an advantage to avoid the DRS of others.

But Ferrari’s chief strategy officer, Iñaki Ruedatook advantage of the feedback de Sainz and Leclerc to rehabilitate from mistakes with Leclerc at Silverstone and Monaco. With the information received from his competitors, the Spaniard made a new simulation of Sunday’s race, generating optimism.

To improve the F1-75’s corner entry and correct the slight understeer, it was decided to increase the downforce of the front wing, perhaps too unloaded in the sprint. The challenge was to bet on a drop in Red Bull’s performance, which in fact occurred punctually in the GP, regardless of the rubbers Verstappen used during the race. And the slight drop in temperature (three degrees difference between Saturday and Sunday) was favorable for Maranello, working as the icing on the cake.

Because then Charles Leclerc took care of everything with an extraordinary ‘racing behavior’ that led the Monegasque to overtake Verstappen three times on the track, with the Dutchman unable to react to Ferrari’s clear superiority.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

The Monegasque put pressure on his rival from the start, forcing him to maintain a pace that caused the tires to wear out sooner than expected, derailing Red Bull’s plans with a coldly determined tactic at the Ferrari table.

Only 24 hours passed between a defeat and a resounding victory: there is no doubt that Red Bull did something wrong in the setup and now he will have to heal the wounds of the setback at home, but it is equally true that Ferrari has shown that it is a team ready to turn around in a weekend that, if it had awarded the energy drinks team, would have given a direction of course to the world championship.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner said the course of the season will be known at Monza, although the British boss believes his team should be in the lead, while Ferrari rival Mattia Binotto predicts a very tight season until the end of the season. last GP. The Italian spoke openly that the team from Maranello will fight until the end for the titles… To see if reliability will allow: the abandonment of Sainz after a fire in the Spaniard’s engine turns on another warning signal.

Sainz's Ferrari F1-75 after engine fire that caused the Spaniard to abandon Spielberg

Sainz’s Ferrari F1-75 after engine fire that caused the Spaniard to abandon Spielberg

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

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