Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Ferrari: Racing Point could be a “threat” at start of season

2020 F1 season

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says the team isn’t quick enough to head the F1 field despite improving its lap time by more than a second and leading the fifth day of testing.

“I think we are anticipating on the last days that we are not sufficiently fast, we believe,” Binotto told Sky. “Looking as well at the race simulations we are not in the fastest.

Sebastian Vettel completed his pre-season testing for the team today. Charles Leclerc will take over the for final day tomorrow.

“The season will be very long so let’s complete the test, let’s see tomorrow as well with Charles, let’s start to better understand the car and certainly address what is necessary to do,” said Binotto.

Binotto denied the team expects to be significantly quicker at the first race of the year in Melbourne. “Honestly I don’t think so,” he said.

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Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Racing Point are “certainly very close”, said Binotto
“We know what we are doing and we know if we’ve got margin or not. If you look at the race simulation pace, it’s true that today Hamilton had an issue but if you have a look at the initial stint the speed he’s got is quite impressive.”

Racing Points new RP20, which is closely modelled on last year’s Mercedes, could start the season as a threat to Ferrari, Binotto added.

“They are certainly very close,” he said. “I think it’s not surprising if you look at the shape of the car.

“Certainly they are a threat but I am convinced as well that Ferrari as a team is strong enough to develop the car from now onward and to make sure that in the future we will be strong enough not to be threatened.”

[smr2020test]However Binotto echoed the view of his drivers that the SF1000’s cornering performance is “faster in cornering and slower in the straights” compared to last year. “So I think we have got what we expect.

“Is that sufficient to be the fastest? Overall not. So it means that the overall speed of the car is not sufficient to simply be competitive enough and challenge for victory from the start of the season.”

“We did a lot of testing as per plan,” he added, “we had just an issue on the engine last week which was a detail, a small issue. I think we did the mileage we were expecting. Today we did the entire programme.

“Hopefully we conclude tomorrow positively on that. So I think testing related, yes, we did what we are hoping to do. But now we need to move forward.”

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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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  • 16 comments on “Ferrari: Racing Point could be a “threat” at start of season”

    1. No chance considering how far off the pace of the top-three teams they, as well as the rest, were last season, so chance on pure pace under normal conditions.

    2. I got more flack than Binotto for saying Ferrari was in trouble.
      Before testing, I said, RP “Ferrari beater”, after the very first morning of testing I said “Ferrari is doomed”. I got called out, got called all sorts of ugly things, I had a harder time than Mattia… just joking. Ferrari need a big upgrade, that front end still doesn’t turn in and the drivers compensate by flooring the throttle.

      1. Ferrari needed to come up with some new idea, new device, something like Merc have done. But no. Have they made progress in any area? I guess we’ll find out in Melbourne [if the race goes ahead!]and I will be happy to eat my words.

        But I’m anticipating another year or two in the shadows for the scuderia. Till Max arrives on the scene….

        1. The Ferrari-strats coined by Verstappen and Norris at one of their funniest simracing sessions could trick Verstappen too :)

          I laughed a lot at that session and they had some quite good jokes that day. This is a short clip of the prank:

          Imo this joke is solid, Ferrari is famous of their strategy and pitstop blunders for a long while. Many times I’m seeing their pitstop strategy I have a feeling, that that’s just too much or too few, a bit late or overcooked. It’s likely happening because of the political and authoritarian nature of them which results in too much pressure or fear to be a bit more pure. After Schumacher’s and Ross Brawn’s et al heritage gone they have years like MU having without Sir Alex.

          Imo yes, Ferrari would need someone like Verstappen if they can’t produce the best car.
          Although I won’t bet too much on Verstappen beating Leclerc in the long run. That’s far from sure for me.
          Then there are a Norris and Russell, and who knows what if Albon turns out to be reliable like Prost? :P
          (Prost not had the steepest learning curve at his young years, but Verstappen is not famous for that either, he had a lot of time to get where he currently is).

    3. I was sure he’s talking about possibility of copying and incorporating some of Ferrari’ new ‘stuff’ from their 2020′ challenger…

    4. I can’t help but feel Ferrari have piled on down force to compensate for their weakness in concept last year and while still not matching Mercedes and Red Bull have lost the only advantage they had in top speed

    5. I can see RP raising their game for a some margin but as the regulations didn’t change much I can’t see Ferrari messing it up so bad that they will drop to 4th fastest. Of course they want to catch Mercedes and make some changes to this years car but I highly doubt that they are as slow as timesheets look.

    6. Binotti cannot do that. Stop him. Being the Unterhund is Mercedes’s trademark.

    7. they’re all copying Mercedes… from an entire car to the “we are the underdog” PR

      1. Yea sure.. what else?

        1. DAS maybe?

    8. RP have consistently diverted more performance per buck than all of the other teams in recent years,. If they have copied Mercedes but understood all of what they were doing, there’s no reason to suspect they won’t be able to add extra performance during the year. The big teams needs to look out I suspect. Next year will be very interesting indeed. They’re no longer held back by financial constraints, so even if they go their own way, they’re certainly one to watch…

      1. Myorin indeed it will be interesting to see what they do…I suspect however that Ferrari needn’t worry as per Binotto saying RP could be a threat to them. That would surprise me. But you are right that they are known as great bang for the buck’ers. Next year though, of course they won’t have a car to model their current one after, so yeah it’s going to be great fun to see what they come up with on their own for 2021. It’s fantastic that Stroll and group are building something there. Great for F1.

    9. I meant delivered of course. Predictive text grrr!

    10. The only take-away from testing so far is that the field has closed up. The rest is meaningless.

      Last year 5 teams ran in the 1:16’s in winter testing (and Red Bull were not one of them). I think everyone is expecting the cars to be 1-2 seconds faster than last year based on stable tire compounds and regulations (if not there are a lot of employees back at the team factories who should be sacked…).

      Hence the laptimes we have seen so far are heavily disguised by fuel load and engine maps. Anyone who is predicting the outcome of the opening races from these times (or team principle comments) should be prepared to be wrong.

    11. IF the RP is anything like the W10, then Ferrari are in trouble. W10 is a Monster of a car, the best by miles last season. If Ferrari have made small gains from last season it still would not be enough to beat the W10.

      We are talking about a car that left Ferrari for dead by over a minute in some races last season.

    Comments are closed.