Cooling problem forces Ferrari drivers to ‘lift and coast’ during Brazilian Sprint

Cooling problem forces Ferrari drivers to 'lift and coast' during Brazilian Sprint

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were forced into a “lift and coast” through the Brazilian Grand Prix Sprint race on Saturday due to a cooling error on the part of the Scuderia, according to Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur.

Ferrari duo Leclerc and Sainz, who qualified for the 24-lap event in positions P7 and P9 respectively, advanced over their rivals as the race started. The Monegasque finished fifth after moving up one spot in the final laps, while his teammate crossed the finish line in eighth.

The extreme heat, however, forced both drivers to limit their efforts to the max, which ultimately resulted in them taking off the throttle earlier than usual—even in clear air.

Ferrari had started on the right foot after making a decision to install a set of aged soft rubber on its cars during the sprint in an effort to have fresh rubber on hand for Sunday’s Grand Prix.

However, Sainz acknowledged that if additional “lift and coast” management is needed, the benefit of tyre allocation will not be very helpful.

“We would use all the worst possible sets that we had available and we saved the good ones for [the Sunday grand prix] so hopefully this helps,” Sainz explained. “But it will not be very positive if we need to keep doing so much lift and coast, which for our temperatures was very, very tricky.

“We simply couldn’t push our race. Hopefully, it goes in a better direction but today is the most lift and coast I’ve ever had to do.

“I was having to do so much lift and coast that I couldn’t even push the braking, so I had to make sure I had DRS to at least be quick on the straights.”

Vasseur disclosed that Ferrari was vulnerable as a result of improper cooling during the brief race.

“We made a small mistake on the cooling today and we asked the drivers to do a massive lift and cost from lap two,” he said.

The Ferrari boss went into more detail about what he believes will give the drivers of the Maranello based team a tyre advantage on Sunday.

“We decided to partially sacrifice today’s race, with a view to being in better shape for the Grand Prix, so we will have to wait and see if we have played our cards right,” he added.

“We didn’t use new tyres in this morning’s qualifying, so tomorrow Charles will have one set of new softs.

“Carlos will have one that’s just done two laps and they will both have two sets of new mediums.”

On Sunday, Leclerc will start the race from the front row alongside polesitter Max Verstappen, hoping that being in the lead will allay any concerns about the temperature. However, even if the Scuderia charger leads the Dutchman into Turn 1, he thinks his lead will probably be short-lived.

“The cars are getting so fast now that you have to do these kinds of lifts off… But for sure, from my side, it was the worst [so far this year],” the Ferrari driver said. “If this is the pace of the cars, then I’m pretty sure that even if I pass him that’s a bit irrelevant, because I think in two or three laps, he should be passing me.”

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