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F1 | Binotto not looking at the gap to Red Bull: “We are focused on trying to get the most out of our race weekends”

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto reflects on a catastrophic Azerbaijan Grand Prix for the Italian team, with both Ferrari drivers as well as two customer team drivers retiring with mechanical issues

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F1 | Binotto not looking at the gap to Red Bull: “We are focused on trying to get the most out of our race weekends”
Fuente imagen: @scuderiaferrari on twitter

Sunday in Baku was a race to forget for championship contenders Ferrari, with both of the team's drivers suffering mechanical failures resulting in a double dnf for the team. Carlos Sainz came to a stop at turn 4 with a hydraulic failure on lap 9 followed by Charles Leclerc who retired from the lead on lap 20 as his F1-75 stopped in a cloud of smoke.

Both Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, both Ferrari powered customer teams, also retired from the Grand Prix with issues, suggesting a worrying lack of reliability. 

Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto remained positive however, claiming the team’s main focus is to get the best result each weekend and continue to improve week on week.

“It’s not something we are looking at honestly.” Binotto said when quizzed on the substantial lead Red Bull have been able to build in both championships. “I think we are focused on our results. Focused on trying to get the most out of our race weekends, trying always to improve ourselves.

“We know that to get to the top there is still a gap. We proved that we have some problems in the last events and we are simply focussing on trying to improve ourselves. Race by race I think it’s only at the end of the season we will see where we are.”

Binotto went on to reflect on the issues the team faced, both reliability as well as organisational, not only in Baku but in recent races also.

“Today we had reliability issues, we had the start from Charles [Leclerc] was not perfect, we had an issue with the pitstop. We had different issues in the last events, so there is still much to progress without looking at the others. The others as well have problems or have not always made the best choices.”

Elaborating on Charles Leclerc’s poor pitstop, Binotto admits the team are, as of yet, unsure as to what caused the slow stop. However, Binotto was quick to compliment the team’s quick reactions on strategy calls around the virtual safety car.

“As far as what happened I think the pitstop itself went very well. The tyres were fitted very [fast] on the car. We had the green light. But both the front and the rear jack I think were up. It’s something we need to look at but we have no answer yet.

“In general the strategy, I think the team has been very reactive at the team of the virtual safety car to call Charles [Leclerc] in, because he wasn’t really very close to the pit entry. 

“We have been very sharp. I think the drivers reacted very well. We had, I think, an advantage at that stage. Obviously it was still a very long race, you need to manage the tyres until the end. The tyre degradation would be high but what we saw was very little, so if we could have made the hard survive I think it was the right call.”

Looking forward, Binotto admits reliability record as well as the associated penalties with replacing power units are a concern for the team as they head towards Canada.

“It is a concern, even more of a concern because I do not have the answers right now on what [the problem is]. We will need to fit another new engine, it’s a fact. It’s very early in the season. Sometimes the problems you may have are not a short fix so I don’t know what will be the strategy we will need to adopt. 

“Is it simply shorter milage or a different type of fuses. Or not a short fix because whatever happened is not a short fix solution. Something I think we will understand in the [coming] days and hopefully we will have a clearer answer by the time we are in Canada.”

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