Ferrari has taken “a significant change of direction” in terms of the aerodynamic development of its 2020 car after problems in pre-season testing, but will not have upgrades ready for the first two races.
The Scuderia did not look competitive during pre-season testing in Barcelona and insisted it was not hiding pace ahead of the first scheduled race in Australia. Despite the significant delay to the new F1 season, the car that finished testing is the same one that will race in both events in Austria while rivals introduce major updates.
“This weekend the car will run in the same configuration used towards the end of the Barcelona tests,” said team principal Mattia Binotto. “This doesn’t mean we have been twiddling our thumbs in the very limited time of just five and a half weeks in which we were able to work on the cars, because of the stringent procedures involved in working around the pandemic as well as the total shutdown of activities required by the FIA in agreement with the teams.
“The truth is that the outcome of the tests led us to take a significant change of direction in terms of development, especially on the aerodynamic front. First, we had to understand why we did not see the results we had expected on track, and how much to recalibrate the whole program as a result.
“It would have been counterproductive to continue in the direction we had planned, knowing that we would not have reached our goals. Therefore we decided to come up with a new programme that looked at the whole car, knowing that not all of it would be ready for the first race.
“Our aim is to introduce the updates at the third race on 19 July at the Hungaroring. Apart from that, over and above the actual development of the car itself, these past few weeks we have worked a lot on analyzing its behavior, with simulation work and with the help of our drivers, and I think that will prove its worth in Austria.”
But Binotto said Ferrari can still target an improved performance in Austria compared to pre-season testing given the differences in track and weather conditions.
“We know that, at the moment, we don’t have the fastest package,” he said. “We knew it before heading for Melbourne, and that hasn’t changed. Having said that, the Spielberg circuit has different characteristics to Montmelo, and the temperatures will be well above those of February.
“In Austria, we must try and make the most of every opportunity and then in Hungary, with the new development step we are working on, we will be able to see where we are really compared to the others, while having to take into account the developments our competitors themselves will have brought along.”