Ferrari believes small gains are proving to be enough to take the team from the back of the midfield to the front in recent races after Charles Leclerc finished fourth in the Portuguese Grand Prix.
Leclerc qualified fifth in Mugello and fourth at the Nurburgring, but on both occasions faded in the race to finish eighth and seventh respectively. At Portimao, however, Leclerc qualified fourth on the medium tire and finished in the same position after a strong race performance.
“I don’t think it’s day and night compared to Mugello; the car was slightly improved, but it’s not a completely different picture,” Binotto said. “When the battle is so close in the midfield, a couple of tenths may help being ahead of staying behind.
“In the Mugello our race pace was very poor, compared to qualifying. [In Portugal] the race pace has been better, but there are many reasons for it and not only the car upgrades. But it’s important for us that we [see] in the next races [whether] they are bringing the [same] performance, or if it was just specific to Portimao.”
The main upgrades in Portugal were around the floor and diffuser, and head of race strategy Inaki Rueda said further work on tire performance also helped deliver an improved race result.
“In Portimao, we completed a development program that began in Sochi,” Rueda said. “In Portugal specifically, we introduced a new floor and diffuser, which we had wanted to test at the Nurburgring, but could not because of the rain.
“We also experimented with a new configuration to the end of the floor to reproduce the downforce levels we will have in 2021, after recent changes to the technical regulations, and also tried some solutions that should help to warm up the tires, an area in which we have suffered this year, especially in the low temperatures we have encountered in this unusual season.
“I’d say the results were positive, to the extent we then fitted the updates to both cars. Now we have to confirm what we saw in Portimao this coming weekend at Imola. That will be another unusual weekend give that the event takes place over just two days. It won’t be the first time, given that in the past, bad weather has led to sessions being delayed to the following day, but it will still be a different experience. Who knows, it might be an additional opportunity to do well.”