RACE DEBRIEF

    Ferrari arrived in Sochi last year on the back of three wins on the bounce. But with the team struggling with their SF1000 challenger in 2020, Sporting Director Laurent Mekies confirmed that Ferrari would run new aerodynamic parts on the car over the Russian Grand Prix weekend as they seek to unlock some much-needed performance from the car.

    Ferrari’s 1,001st Grand Prix could be a struggle, with Sochi one of the more power-sensitive tracks on the F1 calendar. But with an eye on 2021 – when Ferrari will be forced to use the SF1000 for a second season, as part of the coronavirus-related delay to the introduction of Formula 1’s new rules – the team were planning to get experimental in Russia to try and coax some more lap time out of the car.

    READ MORE: Ferrari bringing upgrades to Russia but warn they won’t change ‘big picture’

    “We will be introducing a few small aero updates on the SF1000,” said Mekies, whose Team Principal Mattia Binotto confirmed the updates earlier this week, “as part of the plan which extends over the next few races to correct as far as possible the weaknesses seen in recent races, particularly with a view to 2021. We’re not expecting this small package to make a big change but it will allow us to check its functionality and give us a baseline for future developments.”

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    Ferrari have been struggling in 2020, having been beaten last time out by customers Alfa Romeo

    Despite Ferrari having taken two pole positions in Sochi in the past six seasons – with Charles Leclerc claiming one of those for the Scuderia last year – Mercedes have won every Grand Prix in Russia since the track’s inauguration in 2014.

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    And Mekies confirmed that he and Ferrari were preparing themselves for another challenging weekend at a track that “has never been too favourable for us”, as the team seek to haul themselves up from the sixth place in the constructors’ standings that they currently occupy.

    “The first part of the season proved to be very difficult for the Scuderia, as can be seen from the results,” said Mekies. “But it’s not in our nature to give up under any circumstances.

    “That’s the spirit in which we approach the Sochi weekend, even if in the short time we’ve been coming here, the track has never been too favourable for us. We will do our best, aware that at the moment, we are up against a lot of stiff opposition.”