Binotto: Completely wrong to think Ferrari's ahead

Mattia Binotto says it would be "completely wrong" to assume Ferrari is ahead of Mercedes, but is "happy" Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes could be half a second behind its Formula 1 rival.

Binotto: Completely wrong to think Ferrari's ahead

Hamilton said on the final day of pre-season testing at Barcelona that Ferrari could be as much as five tenths clear of Mercedes, which introduced a major aerodynamic package this week.

Mercedes has said throughout testing that it believes Ferrari holds an early advantage, but Ferrari team principal Binotto does not agree.

"We are still trying to learn our car, trying to understand the limit of performance but also the reliability," said Binotto.

"These days are very important in the preparation of the entire season. I'm happy to know that Hamilton believes we are faster. I believe they are very strong, I believe Mercedes will be very, very strong in Australia.

"It would be completely wrong to think today that we're faster than them. Here, we may run different fuel levels, we've got different programmes.

"I'm not expecting them to be behind us, or [if Mercedes is behind] they will be very, very close."

Ferrari has set the fastest time of testing so far, with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc occupying the top two places on the leaderboard after two weeks in Spain.

The best time from a Mercedes is three tenths adrift, but it has not been a perfect pre-season for Ferrari.

Cooling checks limited Leclerc's running on day one of the second week, before Vettel suffered a high-speed crash thanks to his wheel rim being damaged by an external object.

Leclerc also suffered a late stoppage at the end of the third day.

Asked by Motorsport.com what he was pleased with, and if those setbacks prompted any reliability concerns, Binotto said he would not let himself be completely satisfied.

"I'm pleased because we could do a lot of work, but I'm not pleased with where we are at the moment," said Binotto.

"I would like to be faster, I would like to be more reliable. I'm pleased the car is behaving as expected, that's the starting point.

"But I know as well there are many issues to be addressed and performance to be pushed forward. I will not be pleased today.

"Certainly the fact the car is running properly is a good starting point, but that's it."

Ferrari has looked strong over one lap and longer runs so far in testing, and Binotto believes it has been "pretty balanced".

However, he is wary of drawing too many conclusions on the characteristics of the SF90.

"The drivers have the confidence to attack the braking and the corners," he said. "[But] being here, balanced in Barcelona, doesn't mean it will be the same in all the circuits.

"Each single circuit has got different characteristics. Certainly it was balanced here, it was good, a driveable car.

"If there is any strength, I would say it's that."

shares
comments
Alfa Romeo retains Calderon as test driver

Previous article

Alfa Romeo retains Calderon as test driver

Next article

How Red Bull-Honda's victory plans are shaping up

How Red Bull-Honda's victory plans are shaping up
Load comments
How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in F1 2021 battle Prime

How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in F1 2021 battle

Supremacy in the McLaren vs Ferrari fight over third place in the constructors’ championship has ebbed and flowed between the two teams so far in the 2021 Formula 1 season. But for several key reasons, right now it seems the advantage has swung decisively back to the Scuderia and McLaren knows it.

The details that boosted Verstappen and held back Hamilton in Austin Prime

The details that boosted Verstappen and held back Hamilton in Austin

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon in Texas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Prime

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment.

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Why a misunderstood Kimi Raikkonen will thrive in retirement Prime

Why a misunderstood Kimi Raikkonen will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man Anthony Peacock explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it).

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
How Verstappen has become F1 champion material Prime

How Verstappen has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle Prime

Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be set to be another close contest.

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Prime

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021