Ferrari’s team principal Mattia Binotto says he does not “understand how” Red Bull can maintain their current development rate, whilst confirming that it was always the plan for Ferrari to wait for five races to “assess the proper competitiveness” of the field.
This comes in the wake of the brewing development war between constructor’s championship protagonists Ferrari and Red Bull, with the latter having introduced several performance enhancing upgrades to their RB18 that has left the former with work to do to catch up.
The upcoming Spanish GP weekend is set to be the first race weekend of the year where Ferrari arrive with major aerodynamic upgrades in their arsenal – designed to close the newly-established gap in performance to the Milton Keynes-based team. The team will certainly be wary of introducing upgrades designed to manipulate the infamously perplexing porpoising phenomenon, with their F1-75 seemingly close enough to the bouncing limit at this stage to not hinder performance.
Last round’s Miami Grand Prix showcased Ferrari’s weaknesses somewhat, with Red Bull able to reach significantly higher top speeds on the long back straight in the final sector, whilst Ferrari struggled to counter it with any form of advantage at low speed in the narrow and twisty second sector.
Low to medium speed corners is where Ferrari has tended to make up the lap time, and often given it the outright edge, against Red Bull this season. Whereas Red Bull have diverged in the opposite direction by compromising their low to medium speed corners for top-end speed. The ideologies in the first few races this year almost balanced out, leading to the marginal gains and losses that each team took out of each other making for an enticing championship battle.
However Red Bull seems to have pulled ahead in the last couple of races, in Imola and Miami, by upgrading their car at a quicker rate than their rivals believe is plausible within the budget cap restrictions. This is something that Binotto is not overly concerned about on the face of it, but is intending to submit a financial findings report to the FIA regarding other teams’ spending.
“I always said that we should wait five races at least to assess the proper competitiveness between the cars and the teams,” said Binotto. “Now, five races have gone, we are leading both championships which is great. Ferrari should not be too disappointed.
“But it’s true that Red Bull improve their car, since the very start of the season they introduced upgrades. Today, if I look at the last two races, maybe they got a couple of tenths per lap faster than us. Now, no doubt that in order to keep the pace we need to develop ourselves and introduce upgrades because there is as well a budget cap..
“I hope that at some stage Red Bull will stop development. Otherwise, I will not understand how they can do that. But let’s say that in the next races it will be at least our turn to try to develop as much as we can the car and introduce upgrades.
“I think it’s not a surprise that we may have a package in Barcelona which will be important for us. As usual I hope that the package we are introducing is working as expected. In that case [the upgrades could be] good in order to try to catch up the current gap we’ve got compared to the Red Bull,” summed up Binotto.
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