Mattia Binotto expressed less optimism at Ferrari camp for the 2020 F1 season than what he had at this juncture in 2019.

W​hile 2019’s F1 winter testing at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona saw Ferrari leading the pack performance-wise, 2020’s first week of running has seen the Italian team behind both Red Bull and Mercedes, from what we have seen thus far.

T​his – combined with the Mercedes’ Dual Axis Steering innovation and a reliability issue for Sebastian Vettel sending an ominous message – has led Ferrari team principal Binotto to be more pessimistic heading into the first season of the 2020’s.

The team completed only 354 laps among the two drivers which included a power unit issue for Vettel. Speaking to media including, Binotto admitted to shortcomings and less optimism, looking at the performances.

H​owever, the Italian made it clear that it was still early to decide who is fast and who isn’t an that they have to investigate the issues. This lesson was learned last year when Ferrari were ahead in testing, but behind in Australia.

“I am not as optimistic as last year,” said Binotto. “Some of the others are faster than us at the moment, I believe. How much faster is really difficult to judge and I will go through all the data in the next few days but I don’t think we are as fast as them at the moment.

“Do we have any concerns? Certainly, yes, when you are not as fast as you would like to be. But I think it is too early to define it and understand it. These three days have been really important for us, because at least we have collected all the data and have a clear picture and better understanding.

“We changed the approach to the testing and the programme, so we focused the first session of these three days to try to map the car with various aero configurations without really trying to optimise the setup and look for overall performance.

“On the other side it’s true last year, I was more more optimistic at the stage of the year because the lap time was easy to find, while I think this year even it’s true, we didn’t focus on concentrating on set-up work or performance, but it seems a bit more difficult.

“In next week’s test, we will begin to investigate the performance side, working on set-up and moving forward with the usual tests in qualifying and race trim in order to be well prepared for the opening round in Australia.

“What will be even more important is to understand that we are developing the car in the right direction but it is a very long season with 22 races potentially, so I think there will be time to recover eventually.

“Let’s wait for next week and Australia until we assess properly the true performance of everybody.” While things can be deceptive during testing as we have seen time and again but with Binotto sounding 50-50, it doesn’t bode that well for Ferrari.

Here’s how Day 1 of F1 Barcelona test ended

Here’s how Day 2 of F1 Barcelona test ended

Here’s how Day 3 of F1 Barcelona test ended

The story was edited by Darshan Chokhani