Sebastian Vettel has got the backing of sporting director Laurent Mekies and everyone at Ferrari as he looks to bounce back from a tough start to the 2020 F1 season. The four-time champion has picked up just 10 points from four races and, by his own admission, faces a battle to secure any more at Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
Vettel will start down in 11th at Silverstone and would have been a place lower had it not been for Esteban Ocon’s grid penalty.
The German said after qualifying that it felt as though Ferrari were “hitting a wall” despite putting in plenty of effort to improve his SF1000.
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Mekies has vowed to support Vettel and insisted Ferrari will do all they can to help maximise his potential during his final months with the team.
“I think Sebastian is second to none when it comes to fighting spirit and to try everything he can and be as constructive as one can be in trying to understand how to move the next limit,” said Mekies.
“I think what he expressed in saying we hit the wall is we have been trying so many different things in the last two weeks here with him which somehow made the car feel better, but didn’t seem to be any breakthrough in terms of lap time.
“And I think it’s our duty now trying to do anything we can to support him, and to make sure that we convert the better car thing into lap time, because he’s a massive asset for the team and he’s not an asset that we can leave behind. And therefore we are together with him on that search for that missing batch of lap time that we are after.
“I think as he expressed last week he was very uncomfortable with the car, and you know from experience as soon as one is losing the confidence in the car it’s very hard to have the lap time disappear.
“Nonetheless he kept the right spirit, and with his group they looked at many different ways to set up the car. We somehow arrived at something he was much happier with in terms of balance, but he didn’t unlock the lap time we’re after, and that’s the concern that we now have to analyse and to try to unlock.”
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Vettel, whose power unit was replaced as a precaution after problems during practice on Friday, will have a free choice of tyres at the start of Sunday’s race.
Mekies suggested that would offer Ferrari the chance to take risks in a bid to make up lost ground and get ahead of their rivals.
“Because the compounds are softer I think we’ll see different strategies, we will see one-stoppers, we will see two-stoppers,” said Mekies. “You have seen how on the edge a one-stopper was last week, it’s going to be twice as hard this week.
“Starting from behind the pack in Silverstone is complicated. Because you get all the dirty air in high-speed corners and so on, so it’s something that will be a step back compared to last week. So we’ll try to play with this opportunity, with this risk-taking, to see if we gain some ground back.”
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