Austrian Grand Prix – Ferrari Team Principal, Mattia Binotto, has kept his feet on the ground after Charles Leclerc secured a surprise podium at the Austrian Grand Prix.
Leclerc managed to pull some moves on the McLaren’s of Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris, as well as the Racing Point of Sergio Perez, in the closing laps, however Binotto believes that Ferrari is nowhere near where they should be.
“I think we can be happy for the podium,” said Binotto after the race. “But still it is disappointing for our performance.
“I think from yesterday we saw clearly that we are not where we expect [to be]. We knew it would have been difficult, and we knew that we were not competitive but yesterday qualifying was really bad. Having such a bad qualifying [session] you are not expecting a podium.”
Whilst not happy with the current performance of the car, Binotto praised the work and unity displayed by the Ferrari team.
“I’m very happy with the way the team has worked through the weekend, so when you’re in such a bad situation, sometimes it may be difficult for the team.
“But the team were very united here at the race track, but back in Maranello [the Ferrari factory] as well. I think that is our strength, which is something that I’m very proud of. I’m pretty sure that by working so united we will at some stage be back.
“Next week, we will analyse the data, hopefully we may bring some updates. It’s still early to say, but we are pushing very hard back in Maranello to produce parts, and let’s see if we may have a bit better performance next week.”
The Ferrari car is almost a second slower compared to last year, with evidence pointing towards their 2020 engine being down on power. However, Binotto also explained that their chassis is still roughly two tenths off in the corners too.
“Without [comparing to] last year, I think if we look at our lap yesterday [in qualifying] compared to the car qualifying on pole, we were a second off and we are losing seven to eight tenths on the straights,” said the Italian. “So it means that somehow, grip limited [cornering], we’re still two tenths off.
“We’ve got a car which is not at least as expected. By addressing the car I think we can be strong on the grip limited [side], the power limited areas and the straights will only be our issue, [which is] something which we need to analyse.
“I’m quite disappointed and surprised by the difference and that’s down to us to understand. [We have] no answer yet.”
The Scuderia have a major upgrade package expected to be run in Hungary in two weeks’ time. When questioned about this, the Ferrari Team Principal suggested that the updates will not aid their current engine woes.
“The upgrades for Hungary are not to help the speed on the straights, so in that respect it’s not something we are expecting very soon,” Said Binotto.
“I think compared to last year certainly the performance of our engine is not as good as it was. It’s quite obvious, but I don’t think the difference we are seeing is all down to the engine itself.”
Four-time World Champion, Sebastian Vettel, had a weekend to forget in Austria, failing to reach Q3 in Qualifying, and getting involved in an accident with Carlos Sainz early in the race. The German managed to recover to tenth earning a solitary point for Ferrari.
“I think it’s not been his greatest race today,” said Binotto. “I think he was uncomfortable with the car and the balance, and he said the car was not as driveable as it was on Friday.
“The spin and the contact certainly was not a great action for me, and I think he’s conscious of it. I think it’s a shame because today could’ve been important to score points, especially when maybe our direct competitors have not scored many points.
“So at the end it’s a shame, but now we need to understand why the car was not behaving and let’s hope that next week he will show up all two days.”