Team principal Mattia Binotto believes Ferrari is slowly closing the gap to Mercedes given its performance in the French Grand Prix, even if some upgrades did not work.
Ferrari brought a number of new parts to Paul Ricard last weekend and was carrying out aerodynamic testing on Friday before opting to remove the new floor ahead of qualifying. Binotto (pictured) says other new parts remained on the car and showed a better performance to similar circuits, pointing to last year’s struggles in Spain and France as a way of measuring progress this year.
“I think there are two levels of judgments,” Binotto said. “The first is absolutely we cannot be happy, not until we can say for a fact we’ll be faster than the competitor. But we were expecting a difficult race weekend in Paul Ricard.
“We said it’s a circuit that is pretty similar to Barcelona in some respects and if you look at last year we were as poor in Paul Ricard as we were in Barcelona, so I think in that respect we improved a bit, not yet sufficiently but we were not expecting to close the gap at all in Paul Ricard.
“We brought some upgrades; some of them worked well, others not. We removed the floor from the car after Friday practices. I think it’s always a shame when something is not working so we’ve got some homework to do in that respect but that’s ensuring that we’ve got some margin to improve the car.
“At least the direction that we are starting to set is the right one. Still much to do. Overall I cannot say it was a positive weekend but I think not too bad as well, considering initial expectations.”
While Ferrari has enjoyed a straight-line speed advantage so far this season, Binotto admits the his technical department is willing to sacrifice some of that pace in order to corner more quickly and improve tire performance.
“I think we are looking for eventually more downforce to the detriment of the speed. We knew the car wouldn’t be too efficient but giving more downforce to make the tires working, that would be the direction to go. I think again on Saturday we’ve seen how difficult it is to make the tires work. I think that is somehow something on which we are focused on.”