Binotto: Ferrari's confidence has taken a hit

Sebastian Vettel driving for Ferrari F1 in Monaco

Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto accepted that the squad’s confidence has taken a knock in the wake of its subdued start to the 2019 season.

Ferrari was regarded as a firm favourite for the title pre-season but it has so far yet to win a race this year, lacking overall performance compared to Mercedes.

Ferrari is already 96 points behind Mercedes while Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc also sit behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship.

“Certainly let me say after winter testing our confidence in the performance was higher than today, no doubt,” he said.

“I think if you look as well at the classification today there are a lot of points to be recovered.

“But the goal is still the same. Looking race by race, trying to optimise [the car], try to develop the car and show that we have potential in developing a car and understanding its technical base concept.

“As a team we need to show that we are still improving ourselves day by day and I think by doing so and I think by looking race by race, I think the sum again will be done on the very end."

Binotto commented earlier this week that Ferrari was looking at evaluating various concepts and when pressed on the matter, replied in depth regarding the SF90’s predicament.

“I think that finally in Spain it has been quite obvious that in certain conditions, in the third sector slow corners, we were losing a lot of lap time compared to Mercedes,” he said.

“Why that? That’s certainly something we need to look at and try to give some explanation as well to address the development. The tyres this season are quite different to the ones of last year. No blame, it’s only a matter of fact.

“The main difference that last year we all had very good warm up on the tyres, and we were all focused and concentrated on cooling the tyres as much as we can to keep them working because lower were the temperatures, better was the grip.

“The tyres of this season are quite different in this respect. Warm up is a lot more difficult, and the window also, temperature targets, to get the best grip from the tyres itself, to achieve it you need to heat up the tyres.

“So in terms of cooling them down you need to heat them up. How can you achieve that?

“Certainly you can achieve that through braking temperatures, it’s rims cooling but overall it’s downforce. No doubt.

“Certainly no doubt the downforce has absolute value but is how you balance the downforce high speed to low speed, it may be as well let me say how you may even target your aero development efficiency versus maximum downforce itself.

“I think we’ve got a car that’s quite efficient, you can see it on the straight.

“But it doesn’t mean we’ve got the car that’s got the highest downforce in the pitlane. Sometimes, when in discussing targets, it means that we need some more in term of final concept, are you better looking for maximum downforce or efficiency?

"No doubt it is depending on how the tyres are working and what is required, and so overall it’s an interaction between the aero itself, suspension no doubt, because how you balance your aero through the corner, and overall it’s the full package.”