Antonio Fuoco (ITA) / Miguel Molina (ESP) / Nicklas Nielsen (DEN) #50 Ferrari AF Corse, Ferrari 499P leads at the start of the race. 17.03.2023. FIA World Endurance Championship, Round 1, 1000 Miles of Sebring, Sebring, Florida, USA. – www.xpbimages.com, EMail: [email protected] © Copyright: Price / XPB Images
Mike Conway told MotorsportWeek.com that the Toyota team ‘never really saw’ the Ferrari 499Ps after the early safety period in yesterday’s FIA World Endurance Championship season-opening 1000 Miles of Sebring.
“Definitely at the beginning the Ferraris were quick, they were easily staying in front,” said the Briton after the race, when MotorsportWeek.com asked whether the Toyotas felt the pressure from the Ferraris.
“Pier Guidi was trying to get through at the beginning, but we didn’t want to let that happen. So yeah just kept him behind, then they seemed to go off strategy and at that point, we never really saw them again.”
The two Ferrari 499Ps, driven by Antonio Fuoco and Alessandro Pier Guidi at the start of the race, sat first and fourth in the early laps. However, when the safety car came out Luis Perez Companc’s large accident at turn 1, the Ferraris pitted when the pit lane entry opened, going off strategy compared to the Toyotas.
Conway summed up the feelings of many when comparing the strategy between the two teams.
“So yeah it just never really worked out for them. As the race was evolving our strategy was just kind of working better and better, and in the end we could avoid the splash at the end with the full course yellow coming in the last two hours or so, which cleared another pitstop for us,” he said.
The Toyora driver added that the GR010 Hybrid was also kinder to its tyres than the Ferrari 499P, which dropped off the pace considerably on its second stints.
“We could see they were quick on the single stints, but I think what hurt them a bit more was double stinting the tyres,” said Conway, adding that, “We seemed to be able to keep them in a better place than they did.”
That said, he was also keen to note that the Ferraris will pose a challenge to Toyota in the future.
“But they’re still very fast — I expect some good fights in the future, especially when we get to places like Portimao and Spa,” he concluded.
Keyword: Conway: Toyota ‘never really saw’ Ferraris after early safety car