Unable to match Max Verstappen’s pace in recent races, Mattia Binotto says he doesn’t know whether Ferrari aren’t getting the most out of the upgrades, or if they’ve gone in the wrong direction.
Although Ferrari lost points because of mistakes in the first half of this championship, they could take some comfort from the fact their F1-75 was on a par with Red Bull’s RB18.
That is no longer the case.
While Red Bull’s development path has seen Verstappen surge ahead on the track, Ferrari have not been in a position to fight the Dutchman for the race wins in the last three races.
It’s a concern for Binotto as his drivers have fallen off the pace in the Drivers’ standings, Charles Leclerc 109 points adrift with only eight races remaining.
“It’s three races in a row that we don’t have the pace on Sunday and I think [Zandvoort] was quite a parallel to Hungary,” Binotto told The Race.
“This weekend, we had a good qualifying and we are being competitive. But then in the race, we are not competitive enough. And that makes life a lot more difficult, not only because we cannot fight for the win with Max but because then we do not have the pace to keep Mercedes behind.
“It’s now three races where we have not produced what should be our potential and what we have proved to have as the potential of the car since the start of the season. And that’s something that we need to address as soon as possible, because there are a few races left.
“We still are looking for victories and our intention is to try to win every race, and that includes Monza. We need to react.”
But the ‘why’ is still a mystery to Ferrari
Binotto, though, conceded that Ferrari don’t actually know why they lacking race pace of late.
Bringing updates to the car, minor ones of late, the Scuderia team boss says it could be that the upgrades have gone in the wrong direction, or it could be they aren’t using the performance that’s in the car.
“Honestly, I don’t know,” said the Italian. “I think it’s something which we need to look at reviewing.
“Is it the car itself which is not fast enough? Is it the car balance which is more difficult and tricky?
“It may be on the single lap you can run fast but then in a race you lose confidence and you do not have the right feeling in the car.
“So I don’t know the answer but certainly the experience of the race give us some more data to analyse because we need to react.”
A step back to take a step forward
The Italian edition of Motorsport.com is reporting that Ferrari will revert to the floor they ran at the Austrian Grand Prix and ran comparative tests in Friday’s practices.
Ferrari ‘grew up to France, then crashed its development’ says the report.
‘It is probable that comparative tests will be carried out in the free practices of Monza, re-proposing the floor that had worked up to Paul Ricard.
‘We should not be surprised if we see the inlets of the Venturi channels with a design that is less oriented towards Red Bull choices, just as Verstappen rejected the Ferrari style.’