Although Ferrari was off the pace in pre-season testing, Pedro de la Rosa says it would be wrong to rule the Scuderia out of this year’s fight.
Ferrari introduced its SF1000 ahead of testing at Barcelona, saying it would take a different approach to the pre-season.
Insteaad of focusing on hot laps from the get-go, Ferrari opted to slowly develop the car to gain a better understanding.
They walked away from pre-season testing down on pace and lagging behind both Mercedes and Red Bull.
This has led to many pundits saying Ferrari could struggle in the opening races of this year’s championship, a sentiment echoed by Ferrari.
De la Rosa, though, says one writes Ferrari off at their own peril.
“It is a very atypical season, for the late start, and without an audience,” the former F1 driver told Marca.
“Otherwise, I think it will be a fantastic season in sports.
“Good things wait, but let’s start.
“Mercedes will be very strong, Red Bull more than ever, and although Ferrari had problems, they have had time to work and I would not rule them out at all.”
After months of waiting the 2020 season begins in July with a double header at the Red Bull Ring.
That could play into the hands of Max Verstappen and Red Bull with the Dutchman having won the last two editions of the Austrian Grand Prix.
Verstappen was second quickest in pre-season testing making him one of the favourites to win this Sunday.
De la Rosa isn’t so quick to make that prediction.
“It is difficult to foresee, because four months have passed,” he said.
“Although the factories have been on hold for 73 days, the F1 teams are working in the medium term, and in Barcelona they were all up and running and with the ‘upgrades’ designed to arrive in Barcelona in May.
“Cars will be very different now.”