Ferrari’s new team principal Mattia Binotto thinks that his outfit is not completely prepared for the 2019 F1 Championship which is set to kick off on 17 March.
Ferrari started its pre-season testing with a strong showing. The Maranello-based squad’s new car, the SF90 was reliable and competitive out of the box during the first week of testing. However, the team, which celebrates the 90th anniversary of its foundation, endured a rather complicated second week of testing despite to its promising one-lap and long run performance. The Italian outfit’s days were curtailed by problems of different natures, including issues with the gearbox, electronics, exhaust and wheel rim, all of them leading to loss of valuable track time.
The technical issues prompted Binotto to claim that Ferrari still has lots of items to tick off before it turns up in Melbourne, Australia for the season-opener.
“I am pleased with how the car behaves and it was well balanced at this track. However, we cannot be completely satisfied at the moment as we would like to be faster and more reliable. So there’s still a lot to do. Our programme didn’t always run as smoothly as we would have liked, due to reliability issues and Sebastian’s crash when a wheel rim broke.”
“There are still many issues to be addressed and we must push forward on the performance front. The fact that our car is running properly is a good starting point, but we are still not ready for Melbourne and I’d say it’s a case of a work in progress.”
The Swiss-Italian engineer and now team principal disclosed that the team still needs to find out the absolute limit of the SF90 in terms of reliability and performance.
“These past days have been very intensive and interesting. We are still focusing on our car to understand its limits in terms of performance and reliability. Overall, I am pleased with the work we have carried out.”
Sebastian Vettel suffered a violent crash on Wednesday. The German ran into the tecpro barriers at Turn 3 at high speed, writing his car off for most of the day. The subsequent investigation revealed that the the left front wheel rim caused the problem. However, Binotto said that the engineers will continue looking into the incident as the team wants to make sure that it does not happen again.
"We took a look through all the data to try to understand the origin and the cause of the problem. We believe the issue was a rim failure but because the rim has been damaged by an external hit when running on the track, so the type of thing we can not avoid. I think it's been a very unlucky situation. On our side that's the best explanation we've got so far but we will still make sure and look deeper in all the details and data, eventually, to address any issue that may be still potential[ly there],” Binotto is quoted as saying by motorsport