Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari’s opening two days of F1 testing have been “really smooth” despite the bad weather making it tricky for teams to do any representative running.
“The most important thing is that if you look at the table, we did nearly 100 laps. Considering it was snowing also, at the end of the day that’s ok, but it’s very difficult to get the tyres to work,” he said.
“It was only three or four degrees [air temperature], and the asphalt is 10 degrees. It’s not the conditions that we’d normally want.”
Despite topping the times on day two of F1 testing, Vettel stopped short of saying that the 2018 Ferrari was already showing signs of improvement over last year’s car.
“I hope so, but it’s very difficult to say at this point. First of all, it’s much cooler than last year. Secondly, the asphalt is different, so there are too many things to make it possible to compare,” he said.
“I think the car is working and we didn’t have any problems reliability wise, everything was making sense. Whether we’ve made a step forward in terms of performance, I don’t know.
With snow and freezing temperatures affecting running on the first few days of testing, Vettel says that understanding how the 2018 car works is more important than pure performance at this stage.
“We are planning to do some things [in time for Melbourne], but first of all we’ll try to understand the car and that’s most important for this test; to make sure we do some important laps, a lot of mileage;” he said.
“That’s the key, and then later we’ll focus on performance. For sure you look at the others and compare, but it’s very difficult. We should not get into the details too much because it will be pointless.
When asked whether Barcelona was still a suitable test venue at this time of year, Vettel seemed happy to just write this week off as bad luck rather echo others calling for a change.
“Of course, now [I would say] yes but maybe next year the weather’s great and we don’t talk about it anymore,” he said. “We just got a bit unlucky; it’s not been the best week.”