Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Sochi Autodrom, 2020

Ferrari’s Sochi gains not down to upgrades – Binotto

2020 Russian Grand Prix

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said the team made progress with its troublesome SF1000 in the Russian Grand Prix, but not as a result of the new parts they introduced.

Charles Leclerc finished sixth, scoring his best result since the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix in early August. However Binotto believes the team’s improved form was largely a result of the differences in the track layout compared to previous races.

“No, I don’t think it’s down to the upgrades,” the Ferrari team principal explained. “That’s not the reason.

“I think we’ve got a better balance here on these track characteristics. So let’s hope again that we’ve found again some competitiveness that will give the opportunity at least for the two drivers to compete for a better position in the future.”

It was a mixed picture for the team in Sochi. Ferrari lapped 1.6 seconds slower than they did in 2019 – their biggest year-on-year loss at any circuit so far this season.

Sebastian Vettel had a difficult weekend, crashing in qualifying and finishing the race well outside the points. Nonetheless Binotto said “there are some positives” the team could take away from the race.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Sochi Autodrom, 2020
Ferrari make their biggest step backwards so far in Sochi
“The first is the result,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “The second I think the relative pace in the race.

“Certainly with Charles – it’s been more difficult for Seb today being more in the traffic, starting behind on the grid et cetera. But I think compared to the last races at least a bit more competitive in the race.”

Binotto said more upgrades are scheduled to be introduced at the next race in two weeks’ time, but again played down their likely effect on Ferrari’s pace.

“We brought some new bits, it’s not a big step forward, not yet sufficient, we are fully aware,” he said. “But it’s important to go in the right direction for at least the remainder of the season.”

“We’ll have a few more updates in Nurburgring but again,” Binotto added. “Not major, but still for us I think important considering our level of competitiveness. Then we’ll focus mainly on the diffuser for the remaining part of the season. But by when, it’s not yet defined.”

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2020 Russian Grand Prix

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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...
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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6 comments on “Ferrari’s Sochi gains not down to upgrades – Binotto”

  1. Onward and upward
    Forza Ferrari

  2. Binotto is so miserable , i understand thats they dont have last years engine due to an infringment but the team should know how to engineer a solution after the length of time in the hybrid era .
    he is using the remainder of this season as a parts test .

  3. I thought it was down to the mobile “Vettel road block”.

  4. I really wonder what they did to the poor car over the winter.
    Last years chassis wasn’t brilliant but solid. This one is just plain slow. Of course they are suffering from high drag and low power but it’s the fourth race in a row that Sebastian Vettel ist beaten by an Alfa Romeo.

    1. Stevan Vasiljevic
      30th September 2020, 14:01

      Ferrari’s 2019 car was not solid. It was draggy, but was pushed successfully by a powerful engine. Also the front wing solution was not among the best. Now in 2020 engine is weak and can’t compensate for the draggy chassis.

  5. They used Vettel as a road block and now talk about gains.

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