Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto insists he is not concerned by the pace shown by Red Bull in the past two races after Max Verstappen won the Miami Grand Prix.
Verstappen took maximum points from the Sprint weekend in Imola and followed that up with victory and the fastest lap from third on the grid in Miami, cutting his deficit to Charles Leclerc to 19 points. Despite the form shown by Red Bull at the last two venues, Binotto believes the amount of upgrades Ferrari’s main rival has brought suggests it is using its development budget up early in the year.
“I would say not (concerned) because I don’t think that the difference is huge,” Binotto said. “It’s a matter of, maximum, a couple of tenths in the race and we shouldn’t forget we locked out the front row. In quali, we had a better performance than the Red Bull, so overall in the weekend, I don’t think there’s much difference between the Red Bull and the Ferrari.
“If there’s any concern it’s how much they’re developing considering the budget cap – that’s certainly a concern I have got but more than a concern, maybe it’s a hope, as at some stage they will need to stop.”
Red Bull went for a lower downforce set-up than Ferrari in Miami, but Binotto believes Verstappen was a match for Leclerc in the lower-speed corners, something he says is due to the way the car has improved.
“We’re running a bit more downforce in terms of wing configurations, lacking speed on the straights but normally gaining a bit more on the corners,” he said. “I think it has been the case, in corners 5, 6, 7, but maybe it’s not been in the case in the very slow corners, the ones you’ve got after that: 11, 12, 13…
“The Red Bull has been very good in that respect, they’ve been very good on the medium tires to be as fast as us, if not faster, in the very slow speed corners. This is something we need to assess and understand. In part, I believe it’s in the fact they’ve brought upgrades the last races – they’ve made their car simply faster.”