Ferrari losing 0.7 seconds to Mercedes on straights – Binotto

2020 Austrian Grand Prix

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said his team’s cars were seven tenths of a second slower than Mercedes on the straights in qualifying at the Red Bull Ring.

The team’s cars lined up seventh and 11th on the grid, Sebastian Vettel failing to reach Q3 for the first race of the season. The loss of performance from all Ferrari-powered cars promoted speculation over the consequences that changes in F1’s power unit rules this year may have had for the team following their private settlement with the FIA.

Ferrari’s quickest lap of the weekend was almost a full second slower than they managed last year and around a second slower than Valtteri Bottas’s pole position time on Saturday. Binotto admitted the majority of that deficit comes from the car’s straight-line performance.

“If I look at quali compared to the pole we are missing a second,” he said. “Of the second, three-tenths in cornering.”

“But then there is still seven tenths on the power,” he added. “And I think that one will be very much difficult because the engine is frozen for the season.”

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Charles Leclerc set the fastest speed in the speed trap last year, but fell to the bottom this year along with Vettel. The lack of speed on the straight is partly due to the power unit, Binotto admitted.

“There is a bit of engine power and there is a bit of the drag itself. On the engine power we are frozen, on the drag there is much we can do and I think we will put our effort in there.”

Ferrari plans to bring an upgraded aerodynamic package to the Hungarian Grand Prix next week. However Binotto cautioned there will be no quick fixes to the team’s problems.

“What we’ve seen here in Austria is very similar to Barcelona so we need to improve our car. There are some mis-correlations we can see with the the design and car behaviour, especially on the aero.

“That’s a development we are starting again, going back from the lockdown and hopefully we have very soon at the race track. It will not be the final solution, there is no silver bullet. What’s important for is to improve and address that is a type of behaviours.”

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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...
Josh Holland
USA-based Josh joined the RaceFans team in 2018. Josh helps produce our Formula 1 race weekend coverage, assists with our social media activities and...

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35 comments on “Ferrari losing 0.7 seconds to Mercedes on straights – Binotto”

  1. I truly am fascinated as to what IP has caused this massive drop in engine power. It’s almost as if there might be a document somewhere that explains it that a governing body might have access to.

    1. Combine that with the fact that only two other teams were noticeably slower than last year: Alfa Romeo (+1,009) and Haas (+0,619). Now which power unit did those team use again?

      1. If only there were some clues that could help us solve this baffling case! ;)

    2. @mouse_nightshirt the fia put a 2nd fuel flow meter and reduced the oil that can be burned. everyone was a tad slower than expected but Ferrari was hit the hardest. 10 kph slower than sauber.

  2. It’s certainly interesting to see what’s happening with Ferrari, you can’t help but think that if things continue like this (and we’ve only had 1 race to far) some there will be thinking of binning off the current reg seasons and switching focus to the new regs by rationalising that fighting for victory under new regs is better than pushing for top ten now.

    But LeClerc is a star, a great talent and he just needs to keep outperforming his teammate.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      6th July 2020, 17:09

      @geekzilla9000 But does LeClerc have what it takes to be a champion? That remains to be seen from both Max and Charles. While Seb definitely seems a different person now, he definitely had what was needed to win 4 consecutive championships.

      1. Oh, don’t worry, verstappen and leclerc would win 4 and more in vettel’s situation, all they lacked is the best car of a season so far.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          7th July 2020, 20:02

          @esploratore Well, we’ll see about that. Until it happens, though, it’s not guaranteed…

  3. When Binotto was interviewed by Sky post-race yesterday they asked him to explain the reasons for the drop-off in pace compared to 2019. The subtext was very obvious.

    He skirted around the question and was lucky to be wearing a face mask as his blushes and facial expressions would probably have been sufficient response!

    1. Did he blame COVID?
      I think it infected their engines, so they didn’t have enough breathing capacity.

  4. It’s an open secret in the paddock that the fuel-flow limit was being circumvented by Ferrari, somehow. Supported further by the extra fuel LeClerc’s car had in Abu Dhabi. F1 teams run their cars light to save laptime and fuel save if necessary, they never run heavy. I also think Ferrari are smart enough not to have overfuelled the car by accident. These guys are professionals, not amateurs.

    The massive swing from fastest to slowest is telling. Whilst I don’t think we’re going to have definitive answers any time soon, their current straight line performance speaks for itself.

    1. @racerjoss

      It’s funny when you think about how most teams questioned the legality of Ferraris power unit last year.. and many teams exacted it to a difference of 0.6s a lap worth of engine power that no one knew where it was coming from.

      A few months later, Ferrari are caught cheating, they sign a shady agreement with the FIA not to release the details of their engine cheats, and a few months after that, they’re racing and have lost 0.6s to 0.7s of performance. They went from having the most impressive straight line speed to the least impressive.

      The Tifosi and Ferrari fans will come out with their cliche argument of there was no cheating ‘proved’ and where’s the ‘evidence’ for these claims, but the truth is that it doesn’t get more obvious than the numbers from the Austrian GP this year. And all the ‘evidence’ and proof they require is locked up in a shady contract within the FIA’s safe.

  5. With Mattia Binotto at the helm Ferrari seems like a messed up team. With Arrivabene it seemed everything is more under control, no panick, more calamity, stricter decisions. Now Ferrari is nowhere. It just shows that only engine was holding them at the top and their chassis is far from brilliant. I just can’t imagine them claiming a title in the next 5 years, unless they really nail new regulations. But considering new budget cap, it’s not very likely.

    1. Yeah, but his relation to the media!!1!

  6. The fact that as team principal Binotto is able to say this and keep his position is a sure sign of the level of.mediocrity that Ferrari has sunk to.
    They need more than a young star to lift them out of the deep abyss.

  7. Well, it’s a good thing that they automatically receive more prize money than other competitors, otherwise they would probably be even slower.

    On a more serious note, Ferrari turning this lump around would be a miracle. Can’t see them competing for much this year nor next with car development mostly frozen.

  8. I would love to know what changed on that engine? It is a power hungry circuit, so power loss is quite noticable.

    They were slow on straights. I almost wish they were cheating again.

    1. @jureo
      Very simple, it was completely redesigned in a hurry in the winter to satisfy the FIA’s technical directives as part of the settlement.

      The current PUs are very complex, and we have already seen the results with Honda and Ferrari (2014) when they underestimated the design time of their engines.

  9. They probably were cheating. And FIA probably knew. However an incredibly dull 2019 season would have turned into the most boring F1 season ever if they had uncovered them.

    Mercedes (or any other team) dominance for 5 years in a row is bad for the sport. I just wish they had had the courage to completely change the rules like they did in Schumacher’s era. Mercedes has been sandbagging since 2016 (where both pilots were fighting for the crown) and still winning.

    1. True, it’s just not fair they change the rules when a team is dominating but not when the other is.

  10. What a disaster! Somebody fire Binotti ASAP! Hope they get rid of that nose too, they were on the right path in 2015.

  11. Bruno Verrari
    6th July 2020, 15:47

    Are now Mercedes AMG M HPP cheating with their engine – anyone?!

    1. Of course not !!! Never.

  12. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    6th July 2020, 17:04

    Could P2 be the highest finish of a Ferrari in 2020? It’ll be quite something if it’s their only podium…

    This certainly has made things tough for Vettel as he now has a massive point deficit to LeClerc.

    1. @freelittlebirds

      I think Vettel was lucky to get a point from this race. For me, he was the worst driver on track this weekend, with Grosjean a close second.

      1. @todfod
        Grosjean. How on earth is he still in F1?

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        7th July 2020, 13:36

        @todfod I agree but I don’t know why Vettel is driving so bad especially having all those spins. I remember Raikonnen having all kinds of spins in the Ferrari a few years ago. Now it seems that Vettel is having similar kind of spins.

        5 World Championships between them and they were both driving as if they’ve never held a steering wheel before. There’s no way that Vettel has turned into a rookie and I find it unlikely that he’s caving under pressure. I’ve been Vettel’s critic for a long time but like you said he was the worst driver yesterday and there’s no way that could be true from a skill perspective.

  13. So, it is upto Red Bull to provide any sort of challenge this season?

    1. Yes, and not sure they will, they lack both speed and reliability.

  14. Looking at the way that some are responding here with calls for Binotto to be fired, for all those that complain that Ferrari changes their team personnel too frequently, there are a lot here who seem to be keen to hire and fire staff with even greater alacrity…

  15. With engine development by and large frozen, do you scrap 20/21. Leclerc is still young by 2022

  16. “It is,isn’t it…? It must be, yes! It must be!” I hear the whispers getting louder…😊😊

  17. What’s most disturbing about the whole story is that it seems that the FIA never actually understood how Ferrari were getting extra chemical energy into the PU, although it seems we know it had to do with fuel flow rate metering manipulation. All kinds of smart people were on these boards throwing greek letters and matrix algebra at the issue too lol. The point of the settlement was for Ferrari to come clean and avoid getting excluded from points etc. in exchange for FIA getting to hide the fact they lack the ability to properly regulate PUs. I’m sure a MB, Renault, and Honda were forced to dump some money and expertise into replicating Ferrari’s chicanery and they probably found some things FIA never learned that they are now keeping in their pockets to deploy at a convenient time should Ferrari or FIA come after them for something.

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