Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2019

Ferrari not switching focus to 2020 yet – Binotto

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In the round-up: Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says it isn’t time for the team to prioritise its car for the 2020 F1 season despite having failed to win a race so far this year.

What they say

Binotto was asked whether the car’s lack of downforce was its main weakness and whether it should prioritise developing its car for next season:

I don’t think that our only weakness is our maximum downforce. I think it would be unfair for the people back at Maranello. I think that certainly in circuits where maximum downforce is required, we are lacking downforce.

Should we concentrate on next year’s car? I don’t think so. Not only because having the same regulations next year whatever we can do this year will be to the benefit of next year’s car as well.

There are still many races, no victory for Ferrari, I think we’ve got at least a goal and an objective. So we should do whatever we can in this season to do our best.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Does Ferrari’s example with Felipe Massa show Red Bull should have stuck with Pierre Gasly:

I think Gasly’s position could be compared to Massa’s promotion to Ferrari in 2006. If you look at Massa’s form in early 2006, he was very inconsistent: one 3rd place, a smattering of points finishes, a few crashes and a couple of non-scores).

But the difference is that Ferrari stuck with Massa, worked with him and this resulted in a noticeable uptick in his form from the USA onwards (two wins, three seconds, a third and a smattering of other points finishes – though there was a non-score and a DNF in there too).

Now this was no doubt helped by the fact that Massa would have been able to test until his hands and feet bled while Gasly cannot. But I think the comparison is a good one. Massa was fast, raw and needed a bit of help to unlock his speed, much as Gasly does. I just hope Red Bull are willing to give Albon the help he will need so that he can avoid being dumped as well.

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22 comments on “Ferrari not switching focus to 2020 yet – Binotto”

  1. In case one has to book a plane and a hotel to 2021 Brazilian GP, make it good for São Paulo.
    In practical terms, the closer it gets, the less probable a new track could be built – and deemed acceptable – in time for 2021 – less than 30 months.
    For reference, COTA took 18 months to be built. For World Cup and Olympics, Brazil had seven years, and some venues were not completed.
    The previous news were a good photo op for everybody: F1 shown two cities with interest in a GP; Rio Gov. and the BR President shown some initiative (without putting any money down); São Paulo Gov had his time to shine defending Interlagos.
    The lesson is business in Brazil – especially involving government – is carried under quantical conditions – 99% of certainty can be as good as 50-50 chance that everything and nothing you’d expected will eventually happen.

    1. Yes – Ferrari should start focusing on 2020 and even 2021.
      No – It won’t make any difference. It’s an organizational issue. It’s not solved with money. Scuderia Ferrari as is is going down the Williams path. Don’t get me wrong. Ferrari sells a lot of cars. But the Scuderia is a mere shadow of it was. With RBR ressurgance it will just make things worse.

  2. CotD sounds superficially plausible, but that’s about it. Yes,Massa was inconsistent in his debut season at Ferrari. Has Gasly been inconsistent thus far? Well … he hasn’t been consistently fast. But if you disregard his one-time high in Silverstone, he was rather consistent – for a midfield driver.
    My point is that the differences between Massa’s 2006 season and Gasly’s 2019 season are colossal.
    – Massa’s very first qualifying for Ferrari resulted in a front-row start, merely 0.05 seconds off Schumacher’s pole position
    – Massa first saw the chequered flag ahead of Schumacher in the second race
    – in the first 12 races, Massa paid 4 visits to the podium, including 3 consecutive podium finishes between the 10th and 12th race (Schumacher: 5 wins, 9 podiums in total; Verstappen in 2019: 2 wins, 5 podiums in total. Yeah, it’s not entirely comparable …)
    – whenever Massa had a so-so race (Schumacher finishing on the podium, Massa 4th or lower), he was typically 10 to 20 seconds behind his team mate. Getting lapped by Schumacher? Unheard of.

    In summary: Massa’s pace was immediately obvious, he was just a little rough around the edges. He didn’t take long to beat Schumacher in a race, was never far off in terms of race pace and showed signs of a steep, sustained improvement around mid-season. His maiden win in Turkey was just a matter of time. After 12 races, he had scored 124 points (according to the 2010 system), or 58% of Schumacher’s score of 215. Gasly scored 63 against Verstappen’s 181, i.e. 35%. In other words, Massa’s intra-team contribution was almost 66% greater than Gasly’s, despite losing sizeable amounts of points due to accidents in qualifyings and races, which is an excuse Gasly simply doesn’t have.

    I could go on, but I hope I’ve made myself clear by now: Comparing Gasly’s terrible 2019 form to Massa’s not quite first-rate performances in 2006, because they were both kinda not consistently at the highest level (like I said: Massa was not consistently fast, but Gasly was consistently not, and that’s not just a matter of syntax …), and thus arguing that Red Bull should’ve kept Gasly because Massa started delivering soon after, is relativisation taken to an absurd extreme. It’s like that one egregious”analysis” of Brendon Hartley’s lap times by Mark Hughes who found out that, if you look at an arbitrarily small sample of lap times, make plenty of rounding errors etc., you’ll find that Brendon Hartley was, for circa 3 laps during the 2017 US Grand Prix, kinda slower than Max Verstappen – while driving a Toro Rosso that is also kinda slower than a Red Bull, which confirms beyond reasonable doubt that Brendon Hartley = Max Verstappen.
    The predictive value of that comparison is strongly reminiscent of the one presented here: close to zero.

    1. Perfectly agree, massa was a decent number 2 driver at ferrari already in the first half of 2006, at least barrichello level, this performance from gasly isn’t even worthy of f1, so back to toro rosso, where he seemed to not only belong to f1 but also to do well last year, as bad as hartley could’ve been, keep in mind he managed the same result last year with toro as red bull this year!

    2. nase hm, that makes me agree that Massa showed promise right away, more comparable then to Leclerc this year than to Gasly.

      I do still believe there is a valuable point to the comparison: Massa seemingly knew that he was a long time prospect for his team, and had that support.

      With Gasly, while I am sure that his team of engineers fully supported him, and did their utmost to get the best results they could, I have difficulty believing Red Bull as a team made the same effort; I know some will balk at this, but, with Kvyat (did have better results!) they couldn’t, and, somehow they often had trouble getting both cars to a great weekend result ever since 2010. There can be a lot of factors to that, but it mostly happened with the non-halo-driver.

      1. Oh boy. The old Verstappen gets preferential treatment at Red Bull dribble again.
        Red Bull would do absolutely anything to make Gasly perform less bad. Why wouldn’t they?

        Massa OTOH knew how much the team supported him when ‘Fernando was faster than him’… Not the first time Ferrari berated their number 2 driver, nor the last.

    3. I know you probably picked 12 races because that is how many Gasly had for Red Bull this year, but that span in 2006 includes the uptick in performance I mentioned. The race at Indy was halfway through that season.

      I’m happy to be proved wrong, the idea came to me at work while trying to get 2 deals over the line, so I did the most basic of research to try prove my point! What I do know however is that Rob Smedley has previously mentioned that Ferrari did a lot of work in 2006 to get Massa up to speed, so I know the comparison is a good one. The raw results may have been ok in the beginning of 2006, but Massa was nowhere in comparison to Schumacher or the Renault pair. I’d urge to you to watch the 2006 season review again, you’ll notice how little Massa features in the first half of the season.

      1. If you use the 2019 points system on 2006 by Silverstone (which was the eight race of the season), Massa would have 63 points same as Gasly with 4 races less, Schumacher at that point would have 122 points, so Massa was 51% of MSC, compared to Gasly 34% of Max.

        Also Fisi was never far ahead of Massa really, after the first 3 races which were Massa’s worst part of the season, Fisichella was only 41% of Alonso while Massa was 42% of Schumacher, add one more race an Fisi is 41% Massa 48%, one more race Fisi 44% Massa 51%, after this point Massa always had a higher % of points compared to his team mate than Fisichella.

        In fact I’m just gonna leave this here:
        Position 11 8 6 Ret 6 5 8 10 7 4 14 6
        Points 0 4 13 13 21 32 36 37 43 55 55 63

        Massa (2019 point system)
        Position 9 5 Ret 4 3 4 9 5 5 2 3 2
        Points 2 12 12 24 39 51 53 63 73 91 106 124

        Maybe Massa’s uptick in performance came at his 4th race? because he went pass Gasly and never looked back.

  3. Toro Rosso podium rewarded 2018 efforts

    Yes, Red Bull took a risk in getting Toro Rosso to run with the Honda engine, but thanks to lots of hard work it paid off. Now, this year, we’re seeming the fruit of that hard work. I’m sure the Red Bull management are very appreciative of all that hard work that’s been put in.

  4. Who wants to be in Binotto’s shoes right now? He has the fastest pair of drivers of the top three. Both equally able to deliver and fight. He has the most efficient engine of the grid. And he had the fastest car of the winter testing.

    Now he has only 8 races to deliver a win, has to watch his back not to loose his brilliant rookie, and Ferrari politics must be turning into a mine field… If he takes one wrong step…

    Big chances of Spa or Monza bringing their win. Their engine never seems to stop accelerating, no matter how long the straight is. But can It offset strategy masterclasses of Mercedes? Can It survive at Max asking the enginners to cut his Honda power loose?

    Any bets?

  5. What about focussing on 2021? Forget 2020.

    1. I was under the impression that in F1 development for next year’s car should already be underway at this time of the year. Binotto’s comment seems to suggest this isn’t so. As we saw with the Force India – Racing Point financial problems, compromising the development at this stage compromises your performance next season.

      1. I’m sure they have a team working on the 2020 car, but that’s different to switching focus entirely to it, for example ceasing all updates on this year’s car and devoting your design teams 100% on 2020.

        1. Indeed, and correct me if I am wrong, but there are no changes coming next year which will stop a team from being able to run a previous years car for the first time since something like 2003/2004!?

    2. Can’t focus on 2021 if there aren’t any regulations yet.

  6. I wonder why are there still (at least some) trackside walls and catch-fences, as well as curbs not to mention the pit-entry line, grid-slots, and S/F-line still haven’t been entirely erased off the tarmac despite it been little over seven years since the what proved to be the last-ever race there.

  7. Charles Leclerc on what quality he would take from Lewis Hamilton and his relationship with Max Verstappen
    “As children we didn’t even say goodbye because we confused the driver with the person”

    1. For those who want to read something more recent than 2 week old ‘what they say’ quotes :P

    2. @coldfly thanks for the link. those interviews take me back to my younger days reading F1 News, Autosport, F1 Racing and the like – for some reason I was drawn to the quickfire questions format of interview. i thought it probably died a death when subjected to kimi, but it seems the italians are still keen on it. i remember one with martin brundle where he was asked “what do you dislike about F1?” and he replied “silly interviews like this one”, which made me smile.

  8. Great news for Dario. I’d like to see him in Formula E!

  9. Hopefully Dario doesn’t do anymore damage to himself. Seems like a selfish thing to do to his wife and young child.

  10. Breathe a sigh of relief !
    The much loved Dale Jr, family and pilots OK.
    Looks like a miracle they got out.

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