As the pre-season winter testing of 2020 comes to an end, the team principal of Scuderia Ferrari Mattia Binotto believes that Ferrari is currently slower than their rivals in Mercedes and Red Bull. Ferrari struggled to top the classification during the second run of tests, and suffered an engine failure in the car driven by Sebastian Vettel during the Friday morning.
After Bottas set the lap time at 1m15.732s, the best during the testing, Binotto expressed he is not as optimistic as compared to last year, because the other teams “are faster than us at the moment”.
He said: “How much faster I think it's really difficult to judge and we'll go through all the data in the next days, but I don't think we are as fast as them at the moment. Do we have any concerns? Certainly, yes - when you are not as fast as you would like to be. But I think it's really too early stage to define them and to understand.”
As in contrast to last year, Ferrari has been staying away from commenting anything that could get the hopes up as much as it did last year. Many in the paddock and in front of the TV’s have accused Ferrari of sandbagging during the tests, but Mattia Binotto says it is simply not the case. Although the principal of Scuderia Ferrari beliefs that the testing period has been an improvement on the developments they have made through the course of the winter, in Australia Ferrari might run behind Mercedes and Red Bull.
As he said: “I think Ferrari will be a beater if you consider the overall of the season. Will Ferrari be a beater already in Australia? Maybe not. I've seen certainly Mercedes, and Red Bull, very fast in these first days”. Binotto added “But I think we will assess the true performance only next week or in Australia. And that will be true performance to start the season with, knowing that 22 races are very long and everything may change."
The potential for Scuderia Ferrari has been incredibly high last year. During the season the team had serious possibilities to be the title challenger for Mercedes F1 Team, but through a series of many different events, including problems with strategy as well as some clashes between the drivers (unfortunately sparked up by the team) the pride from Maranello had to settle down for the second place on the constructors podium, with their driver only 4th in the drivers’ standings (Charles Leclerc, just behind Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen).
Despite the end of the pre-season testing, the real action comes back to the track (or at least should, with the concerns over the coronavirus epidemic) in less that 15 days, and will start with the first GP of 2020 taking place per usual in Melbourne, Australia.