Mattia Binotto admits that the Hungarian Grand Prix exposed Ferrari’s main weakness as a lack of overall downforce after it finished over a minute behind race-winner Lewis Hamilton.
Max Verstappen secured pole position ahead of the two Mercedes cars, with Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel half a second off the pace in fourth and fifth. The race become a straight fight between Verstappen and Hamilton, with the championship leader eventually winning on a two-stop strategy while Vettel was more than a minute behind in third place. Binotto says qualifying already indicated where Ferrari is lacking, and it’s a weakness that is multiplied in race conditions.
“I think what we should try to explain is not the minute, but how is it possible that maybe a week ago we had the fastest car, and (in Hungary) we are somehow not the fastest,” Binotto said. “Here, as we often say, is very track-dependent. We know that our car is somehow lacking maximum downforce, and when you are on a circuit like Budapest where maximum downforce is required, then we are certainly suffering.
“You are suffering even more in the race compared to quali, because in the single lap of the quali eventually the grip of the tires is coping with the lack of downforce, but over a long distance you are sliding, overheating the tires and things are certainly more complicated.”
Formula 1 is now embarking on its summer shutdown where the teams are forced to stop working for two consecutive weeks during August before reconvening in Belgium on September 1. Binotto says the break is needed given how hard Ferrari has been trying to rectify a difficult start to the season, with the team yet to win a race this year.
“Next week we will be back in the office and there is still much to do before we are on the summer break, but I think it’s important for us to stop and rest a bit,” he said.
“We spent a lot of energy on this initial start of the season, after the winter testing and Australia, when we recognized that we have got some gap to close on our main competitors. We really spend a lot of energy in all the departments back in the factory and at the race track, so it’s the right time to have some holidays.”