Ferrari Formula 1 team principal Mattia Binotto says Mercedes’ assertion that it has been running lower engine modes throughout pre-season testing is “not correct”.

The Italian squad has changed its approach for this season's winter test and decided to focus on better understanding its 2020 car concept rather than posting fast lap times as it has done in previous years.

Ferrari has been well down in the timesheets throughout the opening four days of running at Barcelona, leading Mercedes to suspect the Scuderia has been hiding its true pace.

But when asked to clarify Ferrari’s stance, Binotto flatly denied the suggestions.

“This seems very much what we are doing but it’s not correct,” he insisted.

“I think we’re really focused on ourselves, understand the car, correlating the data with what we have back home.

“The first week of testing last week was focusing on that one, car understanding mapping.

“This week will be a bit different, today starting work on set-up, trying to optimise it and we will try to push more for performance later this week to see what we have.”

Asked why Ferrari had opted to revise its approach, Binotto replied: “Because in the end we always want to try and improve ourselves.

"We did some mistakes last year and the way we approached it, especially from reliability tests and or for functionality and understanding of the car.

“We are still a young team and it’s important for us that we are improving. And that means learning from the past and adapting better.

“But it is not to play any games or whatever.”

Binotto downplayed Ferrari’s chances following the first week of testing and believes his side will start the season behind its rivals in terms of relative performance.