Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto insists his side has not been hiding its true pace during Formula 1 pre-season testing.

The Italian squad has largely stayed towards the bottom of the timesheets throughout the two weeks of testing at Barcelona, with Ferrari only beginning to show its hand in the final two days as Sebastian Vettel topped the penultimate day and Charles Leclerc turned in some fast laps on Friday.

Its altered approach to testing has led to rivals Mercedes suggesting that Ferrari has been running with its engines turned down in a bid to avoid revealing its competitiveness ahead of the upcoming season.

But Binotto has repeatedly downplayed Ferrari’s chances and is convinced the Scuderia will be behind its rivals in the pecking order during the early rounds of 2020. 

“The two weeks of testing were quite different,” Binotto explained.

“In the first one we tried to understand the car, all possible set-ups, even the extreme ones – aero and mechanical ones – to try and understand how the car was handling compared to what our simulations predicted.

“For the second week we worked on optimising the set-up of the car and on the performance, simulating the race weekends.

“Two different weeks that gave us a clear picture of where the car is, a clear picture of where we need to focus our efforts for the near future.

“Are we trying to hide our speed? No, I don’t think so, we know our program and how much fuel we’ve been running, but I don’t know how much fuel the others have been running with.

“I think all of us have different ideas of where everybody is, but honestly speaking, as I’ve repeatedly said, I don’t believe we’re yet quick enough to fight for victory in Australia.

“But the season will be a long one, we’ll work hard to improve and to be in a position to win races as soon as possible.

“We’re happy with the philosophy of the car but we’re not happy with the performance it’s showing.”

Asked about Ferrari’s rivals’ suggestions that the Italian squad has been hiding its true pace throughout testing, Binotto replied: “Honestly, I don’t know what they think or what they saying.

“From my side, I know our situation and I think that’s enough.”

 

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