Sebastian Vettel says that he is confident that Ferrari will be back in the game this weekend in the Spanish Grand Prix, which sees the team roll out a brand new second-specification power unit.
The four-time world champion hopes that the changes will help the Italian squad get back on an even footing with their rivals Mercedes, who have claimed back-to-back wins in all four races of the 2019 season to date.
“We’re in good shape and we’re confident about the parts we bring here,” Vettel told Thursday’s official FIA press conference at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
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“Deep down, we know the car is strong, and the spirit [in the team] is as good or better than last year.
“This weekend will be interesting for us because we had a good feeling here [in pre-season testing] not so long ago,” he continued. “The car was really good in testing.
“Then we arrived in Australia and struggled to feel the same and the first four races have been up and down. There were stretches where the car was really good, and other parts where the car really hasn’t.
“So it will be interesting to see how it behaves this weekend,” he added. “I remember how the car felt [in testing] and it will be interesting to see how the car behaves over the next few days.
“But I am quite confident that if we can get to that level, we will be competitive.”
However for all that confidence, Vettel admitted that the team still hasn’t found a magic fix-all cure for their early season malaise – and he doubts they will.
“The honest answer is that we don’t know entirely,” he replied when asked what had changed between that dominant pre-season test and their disappointing first race of the season in Melbourne.
“We haven’t found a silver bullet,” he acknowledged. “In the last ten years I haven’t found a silver bullet, so I don’t think it exists.
“We hope to improve the car. We have brought and introduced some bits in Baku already in the last race, and another set of new parts here, so we want to make the car faster.
“It’s really getting down to the detail and trying to understand more. Trying to understand the conditions that we faced, trying to improve and make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”
“We are lacking a little bit but I think overall the package is promising. We know that we have a strong car, we have just struggled a bit to put it together.”
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