LONDON: Ferrari have had a major rethink of their 2020 Formula One car but updates to make it go faster will not be ready until the third race of the season, team boss Mattia Binotto said on Tuesday.
Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc will instead start the Covid-19 delayed season in Austria on Sunday in cars similar to those they wrapped up testing with in Spain at the end of February.
“The truth is that the outcome of the tests led us to take a significant change of direction in terms of development, especially on the aerodynamic front,” Binotto said on the Ferrari website.
“First, we had to understand why we did not see the results we had expected on track and how much to recalibrate the whole programme as a result.
“It would have been counterproductive to continue in the direction we had planned, knowing that we would not have reached our goals.
“Therefore we decided to come up with a new programme that looked at the whole car, knowing that not all of it would be ready for the first race.”
Champions Mercedes and also Red Bull looked faster in testing, with Ferrari coming away from Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya recognising they lacked comparative pace.
Both Mercedes, the team of six times world champion Lewis Hamilton, and Red Bull have subsequently added performance upgrades.
The season was supposed to start in Australia on March 15 but was delayed by the pandemic. The revised schedule sees two races at Austria’s Red Bull Ring before moving to Hungary and then Britain.
“Our aim is to introduce the updates at the third race on 19 July at the Hungaroring,” said Binotto.
He said that Ferrari had used the weeks since the Maranello factory reopened to analyse the car’s behaviour with simulation work and input from the drivers.
“We know that, at the moment, we don’t have the fastest package. We knew it before heading for Melbourne and that hasn’t changed,” said Binotto.
“Having said that, the Spielberg circuit has different characteristics to Montmelo and the temperatures will be well above those of February.
“In Austria, we must try to make the most of every opportunity and then in Hungary … we will be able to see where we are really compared to the others.”