Ferrari: F1 2019 battle was lost before season started


Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto believes the squad’s 2019 Formula 1 title hopes were ultimately blown by a car project that was “not good enough” when it was in the initial phases of development last year.

Mercedes has been the pace-setter throughout the hybrid era but aerodynamic regulation changes in 2017 brought Ferrari back into contention.

However, after an encouraging pre-season campaign, Ferrari started the year poorly amid a lack of pace, reliability issues, and tactical blunders, and did not win a race until after the summer break.

Its SF90, which held strong straight-line speed for much of the campaign, was particularly weak at downforce-dependent circuits, most notably in Spain and Hungary.

Ferrari went on to win three races in a purple patch after the summer break, during a spell in which it claimed six straight poles, but by which time the title was long out of reach.

 “I think we lost the championship last year when designing our car,” said Binotto.

“Again, we did not have a competitive start to the season and there are reasons for it, so I think it was the car project that was not good enough to start with.

“Our development rate, and generally speaking our design, was not as good as our main competitor’s, so I think that’s it.

“It has certainly been an intense season with a lot to do.”

Ferrari’s return of three wins and 504 points was its lowest since the new regulations came into force in 2017.

“We have restructured and reorganised the team,” asserted Binotto.

“But I think in the meantime we have always tried to address and improve the car.

“I think we did this through the season – at least to some level.

“Now the season is over, so we are looking at the next one.”