Ferrari 'not the third quickest' F1 car despite upgrades

Jonathan Noble
·2-min read

At Silverstone last weekend, Charles Leclerc emerged as the closest challenger to Mercedes and Red Bull, as he qualified fourth and then took a podium after the late-race tyre dramas suffered by others.

But while the SF1000’s low-downforce configuration for Silverstone appeared stronger than closest rivals McLaren and Racing Point, the Maranello outfit still thinks that the fight at the front of the chasing pack will fluctuate over the course of the campaign.

Asked by Motorsport.com about if Ferrari felt it had turned its car into the third best in F1, Binotto said: “Certainly we are behind Mercedes and Red Bull. I think we are very close to the others.

“Here [at Silverstone] we brought a low downforce package which was worth a couple of tenths in optimising our package. But I think it's pretty close.

“There will be races where we are closer and others where we eventually stay ahead. So it is our task, our duty, to develop the car.”

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Leclerc’s podium finish at Silverstone was a welcome boost to the team after a difficult start to the season, but Ferrari still left the British Grand Prix with mixed feelings after Sebastian Vettel had a frustrating weekend.

He lost track time on Friday and Saturday morning with car problems and then never felt comfortable with the handling throughout qualifying and the race.

Binotto was clear that the team could not ignore the ‘negative’ aspects of the weekend that it needed to work on in ensuring they were not repeated in the future.

“I think certainly with Charles we optimised the package and we extracted most of the potential from the car,” he said. “And a great race, so pretty happy in that respect.

“I think we generally worked well through the weekend, on the circuit, on the aero package, and on the tyre management.

“We cannot be happy with the problems we have on Friday, which are reliability problems and installation problems, which simply did not help the situation of Sebastian. So the weekend has not been a perfect weekend on our side.

“That's leaving aside the overall performance of the car, which at the moment is not great enough. So the weekend has not been overall perfect. While there have been great things there have also been negative ones as well.”