Ferrari Formula 1 boss Mattia Binotto concedes the team’s 2020 engine is “not as strong” as its 2019 power unit following a push to improve reliability. 

The Italian squad has focused much of its 2020 car development on improving some key weaknesses that troubled its 2019 season, including reliability issues and performance struggles in cornering compared to nearest rivals Mercedes and Red Bull. 

Ferrari has made significant steps forward with its engine and straight-line speed performance in recent years and often boasted the strongest power unit throughout last season, though Binotto admits the team has now lost some of the edge it previously had. 

“I think in terms of overall performance on the power and the engine we are not as strong as we were last year,” Binotto explained. 

“As I said as well we focused somehow on reliability and somehow compromising eventually the performance. 

“But the drag is significantly affecting the speed, but I think when looking for better speed you look both for the driver and power of the engine so we will work on both items in the future, no doubt. 

“Drag is the one you may eventually address earlier compared to the power unit - the power unit you need to wait at least for the second unit.” 

Binotto’s admission came at a press call shortly before an FIA statement which confirmed it had reached a “settlement” with Ferrari following an investigation into its 2019 power unit after suspicion was raised among the Scuderia’s rivals last year. 

Asked to pinpoint which areas Ferrari needs to focus on to improve, Binotto replied: “I think we still need to work on the balance of the car and the set-up to optimise its overall performance at the race track. 

“But generally speaking I think we need to improve the base performance of the car which is power, drag and downforce. 

“I think if we look at the picture of winter testing we’ve got relative to the others a better, it doesn’t mean the best, but a better race pace compared to the quali pace. 

"I think we are suffering a bit more on quali simulation compared to the race simulation, which is something again we need to understand, analyse and eventually address it.”