Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020

Ferrari “slow in all three sectors” admits Binotto after grim Friday

2020 Belgian Grand Prix

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says their car couldn’t get its tyres to work after ending Friday practice 15th and 17th at Spa.

“It didn’t look too pleasant from the outside [or] from the inside as well,” Binotto admitted. “Certainly we are not competitive today both in first and second practice.

“We struggled to make the tyres work. Which obviously, lacking the grip both in braking and acceleration, gave no overall performance to the car. So the drivers are complaining about grip, overall grip.”

The team’s quickest lap time was 1.6s off the pace set by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. Binotto believes Ferrari will be able to improve if it is able to solve its tyres problems.

“I think obviously that’s not the potential of our car. It’s certainly not the normal position, at least for our car of today if you compare where we are on the grid and the relative competitiveness to the others.

“So I think there is a lot to work on through the night to analyse data, understand why eventually we are not bringing the tyres to the right window of temperature and make sure that we have addressed it for the rest of the weekend. It’s the same situation on both cars, so it’s not driver-related, it’s really the way we set up the car in order to find the right window in the tyres.”

Charles Leclerc had suggested yesterday the team might struggle in the long straights of sectors one and three but perform better in the middle of the lap. That proved not to be the case, said Binotto.

“Depending on the level of downforce you are at first choosing, which compared to yesterday we may have tried something different, but generally speaking if you don’t find the right window on the tyres, you are not making them work, certainly you have no grip and you are not fast in sector two.

“Then you are slow in all three sectors as a consequence. So there is a lot to do and try to address it for the rest of the weekend.”

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2020 Belgian Grand Prix

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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...
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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19 comments on “Ferrari “slow in all three sectors” admits Binotto after grim Friday”

  1. Ritual sacrifices at Ferrari at the end of the season?
    Corrado Iotti?

  2. So, engine is already slow and now they can’t make the tyres work and there’s a chance that they might not even break into Q2. I can’t believe we’re talking about Ferrari and not Williams!

  3. Continuously amazed by the fact that how has Ferrari managed to screw it up in a year’s time when the rules have been so stable. Was the cheating engine really the only factor in Ferrari’s competitiveness last year? How can that be?

    1. When McLaren finally got the Renault engine after their Honda years they soon realized they didn’t have one of the best chassis on the grid, which they had claimed. It is easy to get stuck in focusing on the one wrong thing, rather than looking at the whole picture I guess. In the case of McLaren they started a big restructure and that is starting to pay off now, a few years later. Let’s see what Ferrari does…

    2. @knightameer
      The SF1000 was designed with the 2019 Ferrari 064 evo numbers in mind. Ferrari went for high downforce philosophy given the fact that the PU would compensate the speed loss on the straights resulting from the additional drag. The technical directives issued by the FIA as a result of their investigation have actually castrated the PU power wise which was redesigned in a hurry over the winter in order to comply.

      Furthermore, the Ferrari PU when turned up in Qualy and in some stages of the races was generating an important amount of heat that impacts directly the aerodynamics (airflow to be channeled) and the cooling system. This no longer the case after the TDs being issued, so Ferrari has to upgrade the radiators to adjust them to the new cooling requirements.

      Moreover, it has emerged that Ferrari faced a structural problem with the the torsional stiffness of its new narrower gearbox that makes the car to understeer in unusual way. The gearbox that is made from titanium with a strengthening carbon fiber casing around it. The latter proved to be too weak, and was replaced by a thicker gearbox casing that compromised the suspension configuration and the aerodynamics as well.

      To wrap it up, Ferrari has a draggy car with no power and a structural problem that compromised both the aerodynamics and the suspension settings. In a nutshell, a very slow and undrivable car. It’s not just the PU that slowed them down but it did have a chain reaction effect on the rest of the car as well.

      1. Coventry Climax
        29th August 2020, 1:20

        My reply below sort of crossed yours, @Tifosi1989, but you’re spot on.

      2. Thank you for this level headed explanation. Your comment saves me 150 speculative articles. They’ve a crisis and it’s hard to convert it into addressable, prioritized problems, within a blame culture.

    3. Coventry Climax
      29th August 2020, 1:17

      It’s a lot more easy to heat up your tyres when there’s a much more powerful engine in the back, as you’ll be able to run with much more downforce without -relative to the others- massively losing topspeed. It’s the opposite of what happened with Merc, Silverstone 1, this year: they have, thanks to their engine, (and their confidence in DAS to compensate) been able to build a car that generates a lot of downforce. Fast in the corners, but hard on the tires.
      Ferrari also built their car based on their powerful engine, until somewhere down the line, they struck a deal with the FIA to change their PU ‘solution’.
      There’s a saying in dutch, translating roughly to: Who burns his behind, will have to sit on the blisters.

    4. Harold Wilson
      29th August 2020, 7:40

      I think it probably was just the power unit that made them so fast last year. The mistake, though, was to engineer a brilliant work about the FIA could not get a handle, but not a fall back position if they got caught. They will most probably have reengineer that whole power unit to get anywhere near the other manufacturer any time time soon. And i’m not sure they are even allowed to do that.

    5. They’re competitive since 2017, last year wasn’t anything special in particular regarding their performance compared to 2017 and 2018, so…… my guess it’s more than the engine.

  4. Alonso must have that smug look on his face now. He did say a while back that Ferrari were not prepared to fight for championships

    1. They did fight for championships in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

      1. @Karthik M Not last year.

  5. But they’ve been unable to win anything.
    He was free up with just winning a few races and then falling off. Now it even appears that’s done if their more recent wins are questionable since they were forced to ditch the engine concept that have then those wins.

  6. Close to unbelievable that this so called Flagship F1 team
    is reduced to the current shambolic mess.
    Worse that even with all their cash rich & technical team
    they can’t get their act together, this far into the season.
    Big thanks to @tifoso1989 for a well balanced appraisal.

  7. Both Ferraris out of Q1 and both Williamses in Q2 confirmed?

  8. Hope Sainz bring good luck to ferrari. I want this season to end asap — a dejected FerrariFan

  9. Thank you. Spot on.

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