Scuderia Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto has revealed that the team is “evaluating new concepts” for its 2019 Formula 1 car, after an eye-opening post-Spanish Grand Prix test last week.
Ferrari’s chance of claiming a first Constructors’ Championship in 11 years looks to have faded after just five races of the ’19 season, with rival Mercedes AMG Petronas taking 1-2 finishes in every race so far.
Another poor outing in Spain nearly two weeks’ ago, with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc finishing fourth and fifth respectively, ensured that Mercedes moved 96 points clear at the top of the standings.
This led to Binotto suggesting that Ferrari may have taken the wrong direction with its design concept for ’19, but added that the situation could be resolved by the mid-season.
The two-day test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya told Ferrari that the ’19-specification tyres from Pirelli Motorsport, an area subject to much debate throughout the field, have a greater impact on car balance and performance than in previous years.
“Last week’s testing in Barcelona and analyses carried out in Maranello confirmed just how much this year’s tyres, which are very different to those we had in 2018, require different mechanical and aerodynamic settings to work properly,” said Binotto.
“We are already working in Maranello on evaluating new concepts, as well as bringing some initial further updates here.”
The Italian said that qualifying could hold the key to Sunday’s result, with overtaking opportunities limited at the Circuit de Monaco, and added that the team is aware of the significance of the race to home hero Leclerc.
“[Monaco is] a very different sort of race, where the track characteristics that can shake up the order could be jumbled up still further this weekend.
“As usual, qualifying will be very important because of the fact it’s almost impossible to overtake.
“Of course, Monaco is Charles’ home race and we know how much it means to him.
“It means a lot to us too.”
Binotto ended by further paying tribute to Ferrari and F1 icon Niki Lauda, who sadly passed away at the age of 70 on Monday.
The 49-year-old said that the Austian’s “straightforward, no nonsense approach will be missed” in F1 and spoke highly of his work to help make F1 the professional sport it is in its current state.
“The run up to this Monaco Grand Prix has been perturbed by our sadness at the news of Niki’s death,” Binotto continued.
“It will seem strange for all of us not seeing him in the paddock.
“Niki was a standard bearer for Ferrari and for Formula 1 and he pushed through changes in motor racing that made it even more professional, being ahead of his time in terms of being a stickler for detail which is now very much a key element of our sport.”