Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says the track layout played a key role in his team’s performance at the Austrian Grand Prix but that upgrades also helped.
Charles Leclerc took pole position and led the majority of Sunday’s race at the Red Bull Ring, eventually losing out to Max Verstappen in the closing stages. Ferrari had the measure of Mercedes in qualifying having been comfortably adrift at the previous race in France, and Binotto says the long straights in Austria were central to the turnaround but that new parts also contributed.
“I think certainly the track characteristic is the main factor,” Binotto said. “As I think we foresaw, Paul Ricard would be a difficult weekend; we knew coming (to Austria) that we may have a better chance. But we are aware as well we are improving our car, so I think it’s a combination of two factors.
“After Paul Ricard we said the car has improved compared to Barcelona. Here we had new upgrades on the car that all went in the right direction, the driver confidence, there are a few things.
“Will we be able to fight and battle (for the win) on all the tracks? I don’t think yet. There will be tracks that are more difficult for us. But again, from now until then, we may bring some more development and I think we can only see race by race.”
With Leclerc missing out on his maiden victory in Formula 1, Binotto says coming so close will act as motivation for the Monaco driver heading to Silverstone.
“I think there is no difficulty to encourage him. I think he’s already prepared for the next one. (Austria) gives him even more of a boost to somehow get his first victory in F1. Certainly he’s sorry for the result, I think after the qualifying he was very optimistic and after the first laps of the race he was controlling the race and saw himself in a good position.
“But that’s what’s good in the sport — the checkered flag is only at the end of the race, and anything may happen. So I think he’s simply looking ahead at the next races as a new challenge and he’s very hungry, so I’m pretty sure sooner or later it will be his time.”