Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto insists its pre-season testing showing was a “true” reflection of the current performance of its 2020 Formula 1 car.

Unlike in previous years, Ferrari largely stayed away from the top of the timesheets during pre-season testing at Barcelona and instead used the six days to get a better understanding of its latest challenger, the SF1000.

Ferrari conceded after testing that it expected to start the season behind its closest rivals Mercedes, with the reigning world champion squad enjoying another strong winter programme barring some reliability concerns.

“We have analysed the data, I don’t think there is anything wrong in terms of correlation. That’s the true performance of the car,” Binotto told the official Formula 1 website.

“Where will be compared to the others? Barcelona is always testing, you need to wait for the first three races to understand where you are.

“It’s important for us as a team to continue progressing, to have solid race weekends, from the team, driver and reliability point of view.”

Speaking about the performance of Mercedes throughout testing, Binotto added: “They did a great job, so we need to recognise what they did.

“On our side, we steered the direction of our project into a different direction compared to the past.

“Normally when you do that, you may lose initially some ground but hopefully that will give some more potential development for the future.”

While Ferrari has now lost some of its straight-line speed advantage due to the pursuit of adding more downforce to its 2020 car, Binotto expects the Scuderia to boast a stronger threat in race-trim this year.

“We have been a lot faster through the corners compared to last year,” he explained.

“So the car is doing what we are expecting, being faster in the corners, but we’re slower on the straights.

“I think we believe that having more downforce should help us not only on a single lap but also in the race, like in tyre management and tyre wear.

“If I think of the race simulations we did, compared to single laps performance, we have been stronger on the longer stints. That’s the benefit of more downforce.”