Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto admits to issues with the design of its 2019 F1 car which hampered its title charge against Mercedes.
Ferrari made plenty of mistakes in the 2019 F1 season, ranging from strategy errors to driver crashes. Even with these title-costing errors, however, the Italian marque’s team principle, Binotto, firmly believes that their title challenge was over in 2018 already.
He puts it down to the design of the 2019 car. The SF90, as it is best known, was considered to be the quickest in F1 winter testing, but dropped off in pace considerably in Australia, where everyone was clueless as to see the difference.
It was slower in the former half of the year as the issues in cornering speed was evident, but it gained ground on Mercedes and gradually became faster at select circuits. Even still, the points chasm was too great, and the silver arrows retained their championship lead.
“I think we lost this last year when designing the car,” said Binotto to media in Abu Dhabi after the race, including FormulaRapida.net. “Because at the end we’ve not been competitive at the start of the season. And, there are reasons for it.
“So, at the end I think it’s the car project that was not good enough to start with, showing that our development or, our designing, was not as good as our main competitors. I think that’s it.” He recognised the team’s hard work to move forward despite the poor designs.
“It has been an intense season,” he said. “There’s lot to do. We even restructured, reorganized the team. But I think in the mean time, we always tried to address something to improve the car, and I think we did this through the season, at least to some level.”
When asked if they know where the design issues were and what are they doing to rectify it, Binotto didn’t wish to dwell too much into the work. “We will present the car in February, so I think it’s really early stage to discuss about it,” said Binotto.
“We know where we’ve got at least some weaknesses, where we we are weak compared to them and putting all our effort trying to address it, and it’s all relative. I don’t know what will be the situation at the start of next season. No one can know it right now.
“We know it’s a 22 race season next year. So what will be the picture at the start it still may be addressed later on. What’s important is that the team remains united keep being focused working hard working well and have high motivation.”
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The story was written by Duncan Leahy and edited by Darshan Chokhani