Ferrari doubts recent F1 pace and form can be maintained

Ferrari F1 drivers in action in Italy

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto says the squad must be braced for a return to its pre-summer performance levels at upcoming grands prix, off the back of successive Formula 1 wins.

Ferrari’s low-drag concept for 2019 has hurt its prospects at circuits where high levels of downforce are required, but it has performed well as high-speed venues, aided by the strength of its power unit.

Ferrari had been tipped to perform strongly at the power-hungry Belgian and Italian Grands Prix and such thoughts came to fruition, with Charles Leclerc taking pole and the win at both rounds.

But at certain upcoming events, such as in Singapore, Russia and Japan, the impact of the power unit is less pronounced, with a greater focus coming on mechanical grip and aerodynamic efficiency. 

“We knew that these tracks, we may have been competitive, but it was not a given,” said Binotto, reflecting on Belgium and Italy.

“But secondly being more power-sensitive and having more straights was important for us.

“It was important for us not to miss any other opportunities as we missed in the first half [of the season]. I think the fact that we capitalised on the strengths of our car makes us very happy.

“But for the next races, I think it can be as the first part of the season.

“There have been races, there has been Germany, Canada, Bahrain where we can maybe be still competitive, and others where the weaknesses of our car will not give us the possibility to go for the win. But difficult to guess which ones.

“I think it’s important for us to continue to develop the car, because we are understanding it, and give our drivers the best opportunity whenever they can.”

Binotto nonetheless emphasised that Ferrari has made gains with its SF90 away from the engine department.

“The new engine, it helped, but [there are] tracks like the next one [in Singapore] where the engine is not so important,” he said.

“But I think we should thank as well not only the engine, we got the new unit which gave us speed and strength on the straight, but as well we improved in the aerodynamic department, with the low downforce package we put both in Belgium and [Italy] has proved to be a good one for the high speed.

“Certainly the speed you have seen on the straight is not only down to the engine, but the aero package that we have developed.”