Ferrari team chief Mattia Binotto conceded that their updates package had failed in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, but pledged to work harder to ensure a fight-back against dominant Mercedes.
Binotto said the changes made to the Ferrari car had not worked after watching Lewis Hamilton beat Valtteri Bottas in Mercedes’ record fifth consecutive season-opening 1-2 finish.
“For us, it was a lesson, but also a stimulus to do better,” said Binotto. “It was not a good afternoon. Nor a good week. Congratulations to Mercedes who have worked a lot and well, but for us this must be a stimulus to work harder.”
“The updates we brought were not enough. It was a bad defeat that we will analyse in the next two days of testing. But, we won’t give up.”
After five of this year’s 21 races, Ferrari are already 96 points behind Mercedes in the constructors’ championship.
In Sunday’s race, a mixture of muddled team strategy, tyre issues and imperfect pit-stops left both Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc struggling to match the pace of Mercedes and third-placed Max Verstappen of Red Bull.
Four-time champion Vettel, widely expected to be a title contender, is 48 points adrift of Hamilton in the drivers’ title race and has yet to finish in the top two this year.
After Sunday’s race in which he made a strong start, but flat-spotted his tyres locking up at Turn One, he said he did not know what the team’s tactics were during the race, “We will talk about it internally, but inside the car we try to do our own race.”
“In the beginning, it was clear Charles was faster so when he was putting on more and more pressure I was happy to let him go. But, in the second stint, I wasn’t aware we were on different strategies for a long time.
“Then, once it was clear I was let go and I was obviously a lot faster. I tried to put pressure on Max, but with the safety car, in the end, it didn’t matter,” added Vettel.
Big Question: How can Ferrari recover?