Ferrari remains adamant its pace in testing was “true” amid suggestions the team was ‘sandbagging’ with its new-for-2020 SF1000.
Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc strayed from top times across the six days of testing in Barcelona last month, instead trying to understand the new car as the team aims to end a 13-year title drought.
After testing, which was led by world champions Mercedes, Ferrari conceded it expected to start the new season behind their rivals despite the Silver Arrows encountering reliability issues.
Watch over 50 sports LIVE on Kayo! Stream to your TV, mobile, tablet or computer. Just $25/month, cancel anytime. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
Ferrari was believed by many, after testing, to have fallen behind Red Bull among the top three teams, but those expectations will have to wait until at least June as the season start has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless, Ferrari believes what we saw is what we’ll get.
However, once the season does commence, all eyes will be on the Scuderia and whether the famous Italian squad has indeed closed the gap on Mercedes.
“We have analysed the data, I don’t think there is anything wrong in terms of correlation. That’s the true performance of the car,” Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto told the sport’s official website.
“Where will be compared to the others? Barcelona is always testing, you need to wait for the first three races to understand where you are.
“It’s important for us as a team to continue progressing, to have solid race weekends, from the team, driver and reliability point of view.”
Ferrari made a concerted effort to improve the handling of its car, but it seemed to come at the expense of more drag.
Binotto conceded Ferrari “steered the direction of our project into a different direction compared to the past”, but explained that in losing initial ground in testing, the team has more room to move when it comes to future “potential development”.
Critically, he suggested where Ferrari lost out in 2019 – race pace – could well improve year on year thanks to a better all-round package which can retain tyre life in races in 2020.
“We have been a lot faster through the corners compared to last year,” Binotto said.
“The car is doing what we are expecting, being faster in the corners, but we’re slower on the straights.
“I think we believe that having more downforce should help us not only on a single lap but also in the race, like in tyre management and tyre wear.
“If I think of the race simulations we did, compared to single laps performance, we have been stronger on the longer stints. That’s the benefit of more downforce.”