Ferrari admits it should've focused on downforce with 2019 F1 car

Ferrari should have put more of an emphasis on downforce when designing its 2019 Formula 1 car, team boss Mattia Binotto has admitted

Ferrari admits it should've focused on downforce with 2019 F1 car

The team headed into the season as favourite on the basis of a strong performance in testing, but was powerless to prevent Mercedes racking up eight straight wins and establishing a sizeable points advantage that has been maintained heading into the summer break.

While Ferrari's SF90 has benefited from superior straightline speed, its downforce deficiency has left the team exposed at circuits with a preponderance of low-speed corners.

Adding more downforce to the SF90 has long been a priority for Ferrari, and Binotto admitted he would have placed a greater emphasis on it in hindsight, which he also believes would have helped the car work the 2019-spec Pirelli tyres.

Binotto told Autosport Ferrari's current balance between downforce and drag was "not a question of philosophy" or car concept, and that extra horsepower from its engine was also a factor in its superior top speed.

But he added: "Certainly these tyres require more downforce just to heat them up, to make them work.

"So, yes, if I would go back one year ago, I would give more focus on the downforce compared to what we did, even to the disadvantage of some more drag.

"Can we call that a 'concept'? Not too sure. I think it's an objective that has become more clear, certainly."

Binotto said Mercedes' performance gains late in pre-season testing meant Ferrari was aware that its rival had assembled a formidable package.

Nevertheless the team expected its SF90 to be, on average, a match for the Mercedes W10.

"We've been surprised by our poor performance at the start of the season, because maybe we were not thinking to be ahead, but at least as fast as them, and it was not the case in Australia," he recalled.

"Maybe it was the case in Bahrain, but it has not been on average the case we were thinking."

He admitted being roundly defeated in the Spanish GP, at the venue of the SF90's strong pre-season performance, was particularly "discouraging".

"It's true as well that if you look at the first half of the season, it's quite strange how in certain races some cars are performing well and others not - even maybe the cars which have been the fastest at the start of the season, in some tracks were certainly not the fastest. It's really up and down, for all the cars," Binotto continued.

"If there is anything that needs to be looked at, it's maybe the average.

"And maybe as well winter testing simply was a case where we were overperforming or they were underperforming, whatever were the reasons, and that turned into a different situation on different circuits, different time, different weather, different tyres."

Binotto went on to add that "we missed a few opportunities, and certainly today if you would've looked at the result with a few wins, the picture would've been completely different".

shares
comments
How a 24-race F1 season will be decided

Previous article

How a 24-race F1 season will be decided

Next article

Wolff wary of radical F1 format change like cutting Friday practice

Wolff wary of radical F1 format change like cutting Friday practice
Load comments
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191
 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021