Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto admitted that the Italian team plots significant changes to its 2020 Formula 1 car in a bid to close the gap to the field-leading Mercedes.
Formula 1 teams are busy with preparing and finalizing their cars which they want to commence the pre-season testing with. With the regulations remaining stable for the forthcoming season, most of the teams are expected to introduce only minor tweaks to their 2019 cars to cure the issues they experienced during the past season.
On top of the stable technical rules, the fact that the coming season will see the end of the current technical regulation also has an impact on the way how teams approach the new championship. As the 2021 season will bring a whole new set of technical rules, only the top teams can afford to invest heavily into the development of their car for the coming season while the majority of the outfits has to regroup their forces and budget for next year.
Mattia Binotto has claimed that the Maranello-based outfit has been working on brand-new ideas and solutions, reshaping many of the main technical ascpects of the car compared to the 2019 machine. The team is adamant to mount a serious challenge to Mercedes this year after the sixth season dominated by Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton.
The SF90 established itself as the benchmark in terms of straight-line speed, leading to allegations that Ferrari was exploiting grey areas with the structure and working method of their power unit. However, the Swiss-Italian emphasised that the advantage was mainly due to the different aerodynamic concept that Ferrari followed compared to its main rivals Red Bull and Mercedes.
After the sport introduced new, simpler front wings for the 2019 season, teams had to decide on the way how they re-balanced their cars. Ferrari went for the route of generating lower front-end downforce, but achieving higher straight-line speeds. While that paid dividens on venues like Bahrain, Azerbaijan, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Russia, the SF90 developed serious issues on tracks featuring many medium-speed corners.
Changes to the aerodynamic concept
Ahead of the new car launches, Binotto explained that Ferrari’s new car was built with the aim of adding more downforce to the concept after the lessons learnt throughout the 2019 season.
“Our car next year is aiming for a lot more downforce. And by having more downforce, [it will certainly produce] more drag. We are not expecting to be as far[ahead] on the straight as we have been.”
The Swiss-Italian said that the season finale in Abu Dhabi was another reminder of how much Ferrari has to make up in terms of balance and downforce compared to Mercedes after the main rival’s W10 was on another level in the last sector of the Yas Marina circuit that features a series of 90-degree corners and a set of changes of direction.
Although Ferrari is regarded as the leading engine manufacturer, Binotto confirmed that the egineers responsible for the team’s complex power unit have made significant tweaks to the structure of the engine. “We have changed, by quite a lot, our power unit, in terms of architecture, the cylinder, he said.”
The team will launch its car on February 11, eight days before the first three-day test in Spain.