Austrian updates worked, but the deficit is still huge – Binotto

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Reflecting on the first three rounds of the coronavirus-delayed 2020 F1 season, Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto said that the Maranello-based outfit is in a worse shape than it expected after the dismal pre-season testing.

Ferrari has endured its worst start to a Formula One season in a long time with the Scuderia lying in the fifth position in the Constructors’ Championship after three races. The team failed to secure a two-car appearance in the qualifying session during the first two race weekends, a feat that the Maranello-based outfit had to wait for until the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The underperforming SF1000 did not catch by surprise Ferrari after the performance of its 2020 car did not meet the expectations during the pre-season testing. While the coronavirus situation hindered Ferrari in its battle and efforts to turn its fortunes around, the team started to revise its aerodynamic concept at the beginning of June when the factories re-opened following the extended, 63-day shutdown period.

The fabled Italian team managed to fast-track some of its upgrades planned for the Hungarian Grand Prix and introduced a new floor and a revised front wing at the Styrian Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel positively rated that the new parts, but the team was still 1.2 seconds behind the pace-setting Mercedes in the qualifying session in Hungary.

Mattia Binotto has revealed that Ferrari had been aware of the situation following the Barcelona winter testing, but did not think that the problem was that severe.

“After three races, it’s clear that we are in worse shape than we expected, and we need to react without delay. The entire car project has to be revised, while taking into consideration the limits currently imposed by the regulations.

“I am well aware there is no magic wand in Formula 1, but we have to step up a gear to turn things around, both in the short and the long term. It might also be necessary to look at our organisation to improve and strengthen our working methods where the need is greatest. But first, as a team, we need to understand the dynamic that led to this situation.”

The Swiss-Italian confirmed earlier that part of Ferrari’s ongoing troubles was correlation-related issues between its wind tunnel and the real on-track performance. Binotto said that while Ferrari is doing its utmost to turn its fortunes around following the horrible season start, the deficit to the field-leading Mercedes and the severity of the problems mean that it will take a long time until the Scuderia might improve its competitiveness.

“It will take a long time. I think patience will be required. The updates we brought in Austria proved correlation, and at the moment, at least we have addressed that but the deficit in terms of performance is still there.

“We are lacking speed on the straights, lacking speed on cornering. Overall, the car has to be improved in all the areas. It’s as simple as that. It's not something that a simple trick will address it, or a simple solution or package. It will take time. How long? I don't have the answer yet,” Binotto concluded.