Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto believes its Formula 1 rivals are currently ahead in terms of performance when assessing the pecking order in the closing stages of the first pre-season test but feels the Italian manufacturer has plenty more to come.

In a change to its testing approach, Ferrari has been focusing purely on setup and dialling in the SF1000 rather than searching for performance early on. The team’s 2020 F1 car has targeted a step up in downforce while also offering greater setup flexibility to cater for its two drivers Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel, areas Binotto is confident Ferrari has improved on.

Binotto has confirmed Ferrari won’t target any performance-focused running until next week’s second test at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya but accepts when comparing its progress to its front-running F1 rivals Mercedes and Red Bull he fears the Italian squad is currently on the backfoot.

“I am not as optimistic as last year, some of the others are faster than us at the moment I believe, how much faster is really difficult to judge and I will go through all the data in the next days but I don’t think we are as fast as them at the moment,” Binotto said.

“Do we have any concerns? Certainly, yes, when you are not as fast as you would like to be.

“But I think it is too early to define it and understand it. These three days have been really important for us, because at least we have collected all the data and have a clear picture and better understanding.”

Binotto remains relaxed with the second three-day test to come next week, plus the full 2020 F1 race campaign, and says the team has time and resources to pull off a turnaround.

“What will be even more important is to understand that we are developing the car in the right direction but it is a very long season with 22 races potentially so I think there will be time to recover eventually,” he said. “Let’s wait for next week and Australia until we assess properly the true performance of everybody.

“I think it is simply about looking at the delta pace and eventually what we assess with fuel loads and engine modes. Looking at the picture at the front comparing it to ourselves, I think we are not as fast as them.

“I think it is difficult to say because we are not looking at performance yet, we have not optimised the car. That will be clearer next week.”



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