Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has given a final preparation call to his team to focus on “21 rounds of equal importance” as it looks to sustain a Formula 1 world title challenge which has come up short in recent seasons.

For the past two years Ferrari has consistently threatened Mercedes’ F1 dominance, starting with consecutive victories at the season opener in Australia, before seeing a strong title bid falter over the closing rounds to miss out to its German rivals.

Having produced an impressive pre-season testing display, Binotto is relishing the chance of making it a hat-trick of wins at Albert Park but has warned his Ferrari squad must be wary of “very, very strong” rivals and concentrate on the entire F1 campaign to achieve its target.

“After the winter tests, the whole team wants to get out on track to compete with opponents who we know are very, very strong,” Binotto said. “We are heading into the first of a long series of stages, and our task is to try to make life difficult to rivals who proved stronger last year. It will be a demanding season.

“It is important to start well, aware that we have 21 rounds of equal importance ahead of us. The championship ends in December so every point can be valuable.”

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Binotto took over the Ferrari reins as team principal in January, following the exit of Maurizio Arrivabene, with the new boss dovetailing his role as chief technical head at the Maranello squad.

With Ferrari celebrating its 90th anniversary this season, Binotto feels the squad he’s helped assemble along with the SF90 F1 car it can produce a campaign the Italian squad is hungry for having been starved of title success for over a decade.

“The race that marks the start of the season is always special and this year even more because Scuderia Ferrari is celebrating its 90th birthday in 2019,” he said. “We are very happy to have a couple of extraordinary drivers like Sebastian and Charles.”

Ferrari’s last F1 title triumph came in 2008 when it sealed the world constructors’ crown while seeing Felipe Massa miss out on the drivers’ championship by a single point to McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.

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