Formula 1 | Why Ferrari F1-75 upgrades will have to wait
Ferrari and Red Bull were very close in terms of performance in Saudi Arabia, and the development race will be decisive if either team can gain a slight advantage over their rivals as the season progresses.
So far, the Scuderia has been using an F1-75 very similar to the one that had been running since the winter tests in Barcelona. For its part, Red Bull brought big new features during the Bahrain tests which obviously allowed it to unlock a lot of performance on the RB18.
For Mattia Binotto, the director of the Italian team, there is no urgency to bring drastic innovations to the F1-75. Indeed, with the implementation of capped budgets, it is no longer possible to develop new parts at all costs and it is therefore necessary to choose carefully the evolutions on which to invest part of the 140 million dollars which each team has.
« It’s not just about being ready to bring new parts, with the budgets capped we need to be sure we don’t spend all our money in the first races of the season, » explains Binotto.
« There are therefore no major developments to be expected during the next races and in particular in Melbourne, but we will do it as soon as possible. »
« These capped budgets will have a significant influence on the pace of development. I think that’s a key element and what concerns me is having the right approach because it could be decisive in this development race. »
Ferrari is better prepared than in 2017 and 2018
In the 2017 and 2018 seasons, the Scuderia were Mercedes F1’s main rival for the world titles but at a certain stage of the season, the Italian team was struggling to keep pace with their opponent’s development.
But this time, Binotto believes Ferrari is better prepared for the challenge.
« I think maintaining a high level of development throughout the season is always a challenge, not just for us but for all the teams. It’s true that our competitors are very strong and have proven it in the past, while Ferrari have lost ground with its development in 2017 and 2018. »
« We have since improved our tools for car design, which are the wind tunnel, the methodology and the simulator. I think we are much better prepared today than in the past to deal with development. »
Charles Leclerc is currently making an almost perfect start to the season with a victory and a second place. For Binotto it’s obvious: the Monegasque is ready to play for the world title.
« I think he is. But I’m not surprised. When we extended his contract until 2024 last year, it was because we knew what he was capable of and I think he can play for the title, no doubt. He has the talent, the ability, he is an excellent driver and I am very happy with what he has achieved in these first races. »