Ferrari could already be on the back foot heading into the 2020 Formula 1 season, with reports that its latest challenger has not met expectations from early wind tunnel data. 

It has been widely-reported in German and Italian media outlets that Ferrari’s 2020 car - which is being dubbed as project 671 - has performed worse than hoped on initial wind tunnel evaluations and could have an aerodynamic flaw which is yet to be detected. 

According to AutoBild, sources within Ferrari have confirmed to the German publication that the data on its latest car is “worse than expected”. 

Ferrari’s 2020 car is set to be unveiled at its Maranello headquarters by drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc on February 11, a week before pre-season testing gets underway in Barcelona

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will host all six days of F1’s reduced winter test programme, in which Ferrari is expected to adopt the same strategy Mercedes carried out in 2019 by splitting development concepts at each test. 

Mercedes brought an underdeveloped W10 to the opening test in Barcelona last year and somewhat fooled its rivals with initial reports that pointed towards handling and drivability issues, before it unleashed a revised package at the second test that it went on to race at Melbourne and subsequently win the opening eight events with.

Speculation in Italian media suggests that while Ferrari is struggling to understand its new challenger, Mercedes’ early indications from its 2020 bench tests show its W11 is performing even higher than forecasts projected. 

Ferrari’s 2019 challenger - the SF90 - proved to be fast but tricky to grasp after the Scuderia went down an extreme front wing design route amid new aerodynamic regulations. 

The team took until after the summer break to record its first victory of 2019 and only enjoyed a turnaround in form after making an aerodynamic breakthrough that came following a successful update that was introduced in Singapore

A run of six straight pole positions and three wins in six races followed, before Ferrari's new-found pace seemingly disappeared from the United States Grand Prix onwards, after the FIA issued a technical directive over fuel flow regulations amid suspicions from rival teams that the Italian squad had found a loophole. 

Ferrari once again finished runner-up to Mercedes in the championship, with the German manufacturer continuing its dominance of the V6 hybrid era by taking 15 wins from 21 races on its way to wrapping up a sixth consecutive championship double.

 

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