Mattia Binotto, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2019

Ferrari accept they can’t fix car’s “big weakness” this year

2019 Italian Grand Prix

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Ferrari won’t be able to fully address the SF90’s lack of competitiveness compared to their rivals before the end of the season, team principal Mattia Binotto has conceded.

The team is unable to generate as much downforce at its rivals which has put it at a disadvantage on some tracks. While the team won at Spa, they finished over a minute behind the leaders in the previous race at the Hungaroring.

Binotto admitted the “quite different characteristics” between their car and those of rivals Mercedes and Red Bull explain their shortcomings. “We are certainly lacking in grip-limited areas and this is where we need to improve,” he said in today’s FIA press conference.

“Whenever we may go to circuits where there are a lot of corners and we are grip-limited, or maximum downforce will be required to be fast, we are certainly showing our big weakness.”

Although Binotto does not believe Ferrari can fully close the gap this year, he said any progress they are able to make will pay off in the 2020 F1 season, as the technical regulations will change little next year.

“Are we addressing that [deficit] by the end of the season? I don’t think so because the gap is too big in that area. Can we improve the situation? Certainly we are working to address it.

“Are we putting too much effort on this season and should we concentrate on next year by trying to address the issue? Being that the regulations are stable from now to next year we believe that whatever we do this season will be useful for the next one.

“So yes there are gaps that will remain. Hopefully we may close it.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “Ferrari accept they can’t fix car’s “big weakness” this year”

  1. Can they fix Vettel 2.0?

    1. They are focusing all resources for next year Vettel 2.0

  2. Ferrari claim (implicitly or explicitly) that next year is their year as often as computer enthusiasts claim that next year is the year of Linux on the desktop.

    1. Hey @phylyp I use Linux :)

      1. So do I :-)

        Ferraris basic design error in air flow was pointed out way back in the spring by an expert guest writer on this blog. (Was it Scarbs?)

        1. You mean the front wing philosophy? Yeah, that was Scarbs who wrote a good article about how that locked them into a particular design approach.

          @johnrkh & rpaco – oh, I don’t deny there are users of Linux :) It’s just there was a bit of an ongoing theme a decade or more ago about how year+1 would be the year of Linux on the desktop, and I was just playing off the similarity between that misplaced optimism*, and Ferrari’s perennial “The hell with this year, but watch us next year!”

          * I agree that we’ve instead got Linux in (nearly) every pocket.

          1. Scarbs must be right on that, even if both STR and Mclaren have gone Ferraris way, I guess both needed better top speeds.

        2. The funny thing was that when winter testing was going on, Ferrari’s approach was heralded as the best idea “evar” by the experts.

          1. It wasn’t a terrible concept, really. If I recall correctly, it paid dividends early on in regards to stability, driveability & was very aero-efficient (and still pays dividends on faster tracks as we saw last weekend, & will probably see more of this weekend), but I do remember Scarbs suggesting that it’s biggest downfall lied in that this particular concept didn’t leave much scope for Ferrari to add as much performance/downforce through the season as other concepts would allow.

    2. I’ve only seen this now, but I wanna thank you because I though I’d never see a “The Year of Linux Desktop” joke on RaceFans :-)

  3. Just a random thought: great differences between performances of cars like this could be actually pretty interesting in terms of the championship battle (but then ruin individual races). One team might be great at slow tracks, one at fast ones, another in hot conditions and so on: pretty much like selecting a car in a racing game where you have to choose the right combination between acceleration, top speed, and grip.

    Regarding 2020, I wonder what Ferrari will do in terms of the car concept: can they fix the shortcomings of the current one, or will they start from a scratch for just a single season before the next big rule change?

    1. Well just add up all the straight bits and the curvy bits for each track and bung it in the sim. It may tell you you are not going to win anything!
      Unfortunately Ferrari’s design concept is fixed, it can only be altered so far without a major concept re-design.

  4. Perhaps they should head out on the test track and put in some work developing the car, instead of just all this talk… Oh wait . . .

  5. Ferrari seem to in recent yeara always bet on a new season to come up with a design. They dont seem to be able in season. Even when they come up with a better car it will not hold its advantage this way.

    Hope they learn to develop again..

  6. Wasn’t Vettel supposed to have sewn up the driver’s championship around this time? At least that’s what some people were predicting after pre-season testing…

    One would hope that people finally learn from this not to read anything into pre-season testing. Especially if that prediction is that Ferrari will miraculously do well this year. But of course, it keeps happening. Every. Damn. Year.

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