It seems that the most interesting aspect remaining in the 2019 F1 season is that of whether Ferrari can get their act together before the end of the year, at least for those focusing on the sharp end of the field.
The promising start for 2019 in winter never materialised and Ferrari has solidly been outgunned in the development war, their entirely new aero concept in the 2019 SF90 car more difficult to unlock compared to the Mercedes W10.
Indeed Mattia Binotto says it will take Ferrari “two or three upgrades” before the Italian team can take on Mercedes at every track, and even then one ponders whether the engineers at Maranello will ever really find their car’s relative pace again since glimpsing the car’s potential in Bahrain.
According to Italian motorsport.com’s Roberto Chinchero, insiders within the team claim that despite the lack of victory at the ‘power circuit’ in Canada, a breakthrough had been found and finally the numbers from the simulator correlated to their track performance. Honey to the ears of the Tifosi no doubt.
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Ferrari seems to think that their pace for the next Grand Prix in France will be much closer to Mercedes. That said, Binotto warns fans that until the team race on a circuit similar to Canada, don’t expect victories just yet.
“As a circuit, Paul Ricard should be more difficult for us,” he told the Italian broadcaster Rai. “It’s more like Barcelona than Montreal.”
“Regarding the tyres, obviously we cannot change that. What we can do is change the concept of our car,” said Binotto.
“That means more downforce and drag. And you cannot correct that in a day.
“The process will take several weeks, because we have to make sure that any changes to our aerodynamics go in the right direction.
“It will take two or three upgrades before we’re able to challenge Mercedes everywhere.”
But F1 fans do not despair, insiders within the team do think that progress has improved and Mercedes can be at least challenged later in the season. The first step will be in France with the cars totally rebalanced, the result of a long verification work that has revealed some discrepancy between what had emerged from the beginning of the year in the simulation and development in the wind tunnel, to data fed-back from the track.
The same insiders say that this is proof that the designers has never stopped trusting the SF90 project, even in the worst weekends, and there must be a reason.
When important performance numbers emerge from the wind tunnel, it becomes even more frustrating not to find on the track one hundred percent of the potential of the SF90, and for this reason, the French weekend will be an important step for the entire season.