Ferrari still seeking answers on new parts claims team boss Mattia Binotto
Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto says the team is still eager to understand the full picture of its upgrade package, in the wake of a so-so display at the French Grand Prix.
Binotto cautioned prior to the weekend that Ferrari was unlikely to be in the mix for victory and that its new components were going to be a small step, as it strives to improve the SF90.
Binotto’s words proved prescient as Charles Leclerc took third while Sebastian Vettel was fifth, and not all the parts tested during Friday practice were kept on the car.
“We were expecting a difficult race weekend in Paul Ricard,” said Binotto.
“We said it’s a circuit that is pretty similar to Barcelona in some respects and if you look at last year we were as poor in Paul Ricard as we were in Barcelona so I think in that respect we improved a bit, not yet sufficiently but we were not expecting to close the gap at all in Paul Ricard.
“We brought some upgrades, some of them worked well, others not. We removed the floor from the car after Friday practices.
“I think it’s always a shame when something is not working so we’ve got some homework to do in that respect but that’s ensuring that we’ve got some margin to improve the car.
“At least the direction that we are starting to set is the right one. Still much to do but overall I think that I cannot say it was a positive weekend but I think not too bad as well considering initial expectations.”
He added: “I don’t think we’ve got all the answers from the weekend because the floor was not working properly and somehow there is a lack of answers. We will still work on that one.
“I think we’ll have some test items again in Austria, to try and better understand. I think we will fully understand normally when all the parts fully work as expected.”
Ferrari is now 140 points behind Mercedes, with Vettel 76 points adrift of runaway leader Lewis Hamilton, but the four-time champion stressed that the outfit has to keep pushing.
“Sometimes we move a step ahead, unfortunately, this weekend some bits didn’t work but overall I think the pressure is there and the ambition is there to keep improving,” he outlined.
“If it was easy we would do it overnight and we would’ve done it already a lot of races ago.
“But it’s not easy but obviously they’re [Mercedes] very, very strong and currently showing the limits to all the other teams so it’s up to us to come up with solutions and make our car faster so we can put more pressure on them.”