Ferrari's Baku tyre struggles not down to upgrades says Binotto

Mattia Binotto says Ferrari's struggles with Pirelli's 2019 Formula 1 tyres in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix had "nothing to do" with its Baku upgrades

Ferrari's Baku tyre struggles not down to upgrades says Binotto

Ferrari introduced its first update of the F1 season in Azerbaijan, fielding a revised bargeboard package and lower-drag wing at the street circuit.

It looked to have the edge over its main rival Mercedes for much of the Baku weekend, but was bested again in the race, with Sebastian Vettel's poor first stint on softs proving to be key as Mercedes romped to a one-two finish.

Vettel described tyres as the "dominating factor" hampering the SF90's performance after the race.

When asked by Autosport how the Baku upgrade factored into this assessment, Binotto played down its impact.

"I think it's nothing to do with the upgrades or the overall performance of the car," Binotto said.

"Certainly managing the tyres is not easy - this circuit is a very difficult circuit related to tyres, due to the very little level of energy you're putting into the tyres.

"Bringing temperature into tyres is difficult, the window [is] somehow maybe very little.

"Generally speaking it's not easy to manage them, but [this is] not related to the upgrade or nothing to do [with it]. As he went on to assess the performance of the updates, Binotto said: "The update worked as expected.

"This only the very first one, a few updates are expected as well in the next races, so we'll not stop here and certainly our hope is that we can do a better job in the future."

Vettel's team-mate Charles Leclerc topped the three practice sessions in Baku but crashed out in the second qualifying segment, with Vettel then unable to prevent a Mercedes front-row lockout, thwarted by a lack of tow and falling track temperatures in Q3.

Binotto reckoned his drivers having to start further back on the grid compared to their main opposition is what proved key to the outcome of the race.

"We've got a good car for quali. Potentially we could have been on pole, [but] we didn't, and I think the race is certainly a different matter.

"Being in front or staying behind, it's quite different to manage your pace, your tyres, and when you've got fresh or clean air it's really a lot easier.

"I think our pace [in Baku was] affected by our position on the grid, at the start.

"Not only [that] - certainly the others are very strong, and we are facing a very strong competition."

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