Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto accepts the scale of the task remains unknown as he concedes its Formula 1 car is “losing a lot in each corner” to main rivals Mercedes leaving him searching for answers.

After ending pre-season testing at Circuit de Catalunya as strong favourites, Ferrari has endured a nightmare start to the 2019 F1 campaign which continued at the same circuit for the Spanish Grand Prix with both Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc off the pace and off the podium in fourth and fifth respectively.

While Mercedes dominated to a historic fifth consecutive 1-2 at the start of this season, Ferrari were left in the shadows with an F1 car struggling to replicate its pre-season pace despite both aerodynamic and engine upgrades for this weekend.

“We are disappointed about the race and the performance during the weekend. Our hope was to deliver more. We brought some upgrades, aero and engine, here and we were expecting to somehow be in the fight, but it has not been the case,” Binotto said.

“The upgrades worked well, power-wise, straight-line speed we are good enough, but certainly we have some weaknesses on the car that were highlighted this weekend. It is up to us to assess and to improve in the future.”

Pinpointing the area of weakness, Binotto says the Ferrari’s cornering is suffering with understeer while the problem is thought to be focused on getting the 2019 Pirelli tyres in the best operating window – a similar problem the Ferrari-powered Haas squad has struggled with so far this season.

“Right now we are losing a lot in each corner not only in the last sector,” he explained. “Each single corner we are slow with quite a lot of understeer.

“That is not only downforce, we have seen something in the data which we need to analyse and understand so I think an early conclusion today would be a wrong conclusion.

“We need a fix on this, but we need a proper analysis and try to understand the matter of balance, the matter of downforce and maybe even tyre concepts. I think we do not have the answer and I would not like to go through it yet.

“The tyres are certainly difficult to manage and I think tyres are a key performance factor of the car. So, management and optimisation is key for the overall performance of the car itself.

“The tyres are behaving differently compared to last year, I have to say that from the Pirelli point of view they have achieved their targets, the tyres are not blistering which is good. But understanding, addressing and optimising the performance is part of our job. That is not a obvious or a straightforward task.”

Ferrari has two test days this week, along with the entire F1 grid, at Circuit de Catalunya following the Spanish GP to figure out its weaknesses as it bids to stage a comeback after just three podiums between its two drivers over the opening five rounds. Ferrari is running two cars at the second in-season test with the second F1 car devoted to Pirelli tyre testing as part of the tyre manufacturers’ own development programme.

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