Ferrari aware of 'massive opportunity' to compare updates in Austria

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Ferrari admits this weekend is a "massive opportunity" to conduct back-to-back tests of their 2020 car as some upgrades are introduced.

Last weekend, concerns over the performance of the Italian team were proven as Sebastian Vettel failed to make the top 10 in qualifying, and Charles Leclerc's fastest lap was almost a second down on his pole time from 2019.

Though the Monegasque was able to capitalise on high attrition, strong strategy and Lewis Hamilton's penalty to finish second on Sunday, that lack of pace spurred Ferrari into action by fast-tracking some of their planned Hungarian Grand Prix upgrades for this weekend's second race in Spielberg.

Though, speaking on Thursday, Leclerc admits it's unlikely to be a gamechanger.

“We are bringing some updates on the car, we don’t know how much we’ll gain and if it will put us in contention for the podium but realistically it is going to be very difficult because Red Bull and Mercedes are very quick,” he said.

“Of course, the safety car helped last week but we also made the best of our opportunities and I think anything is possible if we do the same this weekend. But can we be on the podium with pure performance? I don’t think so but we are working to change this."

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Instead: “It will be important that these updates are working properly and show we have been working in the right direction, if not then it will be a bad sign," he added. "But I am confident this update will bring some performance in the car, but how much… let’s see.”

As for Vettel, he struggled much more in the race compared to practice and qualifying last weekend, so hopes to use that experience to improve. 

“It’s a massive opportunity for us to have the race held at exactly the same place,” he told The Race.

“I have a very good memory, good idea of how it should feel and secondly a good memory of how it used to feel when everything was right and how it felt then, in the race.

“So obviously tomorrow will be important for us in that regard, but also in regards to the upgrade to see if everything is bringing the step that we expected.”

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Like Leclerc though, Vettel agreed this weekend's updates is more about seeing if Ferrari is now on the road to recovery rather than reclaiming their top-three team status.

“It is still early in the season, we don’t know how long the season will be but for sure it will be a good indication for whether it is the right direction or not. You always have certain expectations but the best answer is the stopwatch," he said.

“I am excited about it, it will be interesting to see a direct comparison to last weekend where we will end up.”