Ferrari to start the season with its basic 2020 car

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Ferrari will participate in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix with the car configuration it tested during the Barcelona pre-season testing, admitted the Maranello-based team boss Mattia Binotto.

After Ferrari established itself as the benchmark in terms of straight-line speed during the 2019 season, the Maranello-based outfit has pursued different aerodynamic goals with its 2020 car. The team wanted to improve the cornering speed of its F1 machine after this feature had proved to be a major weakness last year.

The pre-season testing indicated that the new car produces higher speeds in the mid- and high-speed turns, albeit it does so at the cost of the straight-line speed. Overall, the team was very unhappy with the performance of the car with team principal Mattia Binotto admitting ahead of the disrupted Australian Grand Prix that the SF1000 was significantly off the pace.

On the eve of the season-opener at Spielberg, Binotto has admitted that his team will kick-off its title challenge with the same configuration that it had brought to Australia, the original location of the season-opening race.

“This weekend the car will run in the same configuration used towards the end of the Barcelona tests. This doesn’t mean we have been twiddling our thumbs in the very limited time of just five and a half weeks in which we were able to work on the cars, because of the stringent procedures involved in working around the pandemic as well as the total shutdown of activities required by the FIA in agreement with the teams.”

Binotto has admitted that Ferrari had to rethink the development route it wanted to take with its SF1000. After completing a thorough analysis based on the pre-season testing, the Maranello-based team decided to pursue a very different development path with the aerodynamic package of Ferrari’s 2020 race machine.

“The truth is that the outcome of the tests led us to take a significant change of direction in terms of development, especially on the aerodynamic front. First, we had to understand why we did not see the results we had expected on track and how much to recalibrate the whole programme as a result.

“It would have been counterproductive to continue in the direction we had planned, knowing that we would not have reached our goals. Therefore we decided to come up with a new programme that looked at the whole car, knowing that not all of it would be ready for the first race. Our aim is to introduce the updates at the third race on 19 July at the Hungaroring.”

Despite retaining the basic specification of its SF1000, Ferrari hopes that it will turn up in better shape in Austria thanks to refinements and drivers’ inputs. “Over and above the actual development of the car itself, these past few weeks we have worked a lot on analysing its behaviour, with simulation work and with the help of our drivers and I think that will prove its worth in Austria.

After the pre-season testing, the Lausanne-born indicated that Ferrari’s 2020 car, the SF1000 was no match for the cars of its rivals Mercedes and Red Bull. Binotto rules out that the picture will massively change in the season-opener, but he hopes that his team can count on the upgrade package that is set to make its debut the Hungarian Grand Prix.

“We know that, at the moment, we don’t have the fastest package. We knew it before heading for Melbourne and that hasn’t changed. Having said that, the Spielberg circuit has different characteristics to Montmelo and the temperatures will be well above those of February.

“In Austria, we must try and make the most of every opportunity and then in Hungary, with the new development step we are working on, we will be able to see where we are really compared to the others, while having to take into account the developments our competitors themselves will have brought along," Binotto concluded.