After the Australian GP in Melbourne, at the start of April, Ferrari looked almost unstoppable after a dominant win from Charles Leclerc on pure pace left Red Bull's engineers scratching their heads.
But just at the next race, in Imola, Red Bull introduced a significant upgrade package that got them back in the fight and arguably a little faster than Ferrari’s F1-75 challenger – which even on last week’s Miami GP, was essentially the same car that debuted in pre-season testing in Spain, back in February.
Speaking to MotorLAT and other media after the race in Miami, Mattia Binotto was adamant that, while Red Bull’s approach is paying dividends now, it cannot realistically keep up this development rate for the entire season, mainly due to the spending limit by the budget cap.
“It's true that Red Bull have improved their car since the very start of the season, and they introduced upgrades,” said Binotto.
“If I look at the last two races, maybe they have got a couple of tenths per lap faster to us.
“Now, I have no doubt that in order to keep the pace, we need to develop ourselves and introduce upgrades.
“I hope, because there is as well a budget cap, that at some stage Red Bull will stop development: otherwise I will not understand how they can do that.”
Ferrari plans to introduce its first significant upgrade of the season at the next race in Spain, which Binotto hopes will work as expected and kick-start a raft of developments on the F1-75:
“In the next races it will be at least our turn to try to develop as much as we can on the car, by introducing upgrades,” he said.
“I think it's not a surprise that we may have a package in Barcelona which will be important for us.
“As usual I hope that the package we are introducing is working as expected, and in that case can be good, in order to try to catch up the current gap we've got compared to the Red Bull.”
Other than gathering as much data as possible on the new car before jumping on developing new parts, Binotto has explained that another reason for the team’s steady approach to the development race so far is due to the cost cap. His strategic plan looks set to find a way to strike in key moments later in the season:
“We do not have the money to spend for upgrades at each single race,” he said. “I think it is as simple as that.
“Not because of an inability, but because of the budget cap. So we need somehow to try to focus development on when we believe it's the right moment and the right spending.”