Ferrari chief Mattia Binotto believes the Italian squad still boasts many of the qualities it had during its sustained period of Formula 1 dominance with Michael Schumacher

Schumacher helped Ferrari enjoy a five-year spell of F1 supremacy from 2000-2004, with the team and driver combination sealing five successive championship doubles. 

Ferrari has not won a title of any form since 2008 and headed into the 2019 season hoping to end its drought of F1 silverware, but has endured a difficult start to the season, while rivals Mercedes have won the first six races of the season. 

Asked if today’s Ferrari team still feels like the Schumacher era in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Binotto replied: “I would say yes for vision, desire to do, passion and talent.

“I too am sorry for the beginning of the season, but we must continue to believe in the red. 

“I know we are asking a lot of our fans, who deserve great joys, but today more than ever we need their patience and their support.”

And Binotto refuted the suggestion that Ferrari is suffering from not having a driver on the level of seven-time world champion Schumacher. 

“No, we have a nice pair of pilots. On the one hand, the experience of Vettel and on the other a very fast young man like Leclerc.”

Ferrari currently trails Mercedes in both world championships and already sits 118 points adrift in the constructors’ standings. While Binotto concedes Mercedes is simply doing a better job at the moment, he insists it is too early to rule the Scuderia out of contention.

“They [Mercedes] are strong at a technical and process level,” Binotto explained. “But I prefer the comparison with the 1996/1997 Ferrari, a growing team, with solid foundations. 

“We too are a young team in the roles. And there is so much hunger. I see many similarities with then. 

"I would wait until the end of the year to take stock, because it could be very different from that of the first six races. 

“We started the season as we had finished the previous one, not worse. In the second part of 2018 our car was not as competitive as Mercedes. 

“Perhaps we now pay the accumulated delay. But the results and the current standings are strict for Ferrari. In Bahrain there could have been a double and also a different result in Baku

“The goal remains to get ahead of everyone.” 

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