‘Not good enough for a team by the name of Ferrari’ – Binotto's scathing assessment of Scuderia’s struggles
For the last two Grand Prix weekends, Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto has watched as one of his fully functioning cars has failed to make it out of Q2 on pace alone. And Binotto vowed to “change this state of affairs”, as he called his team’s current performance unworthy of the Ferrari name.
Jaws hit the floor at last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix season opener when Sebastian Vettel failed to make it out of Q2, starting the race P11, while Charles Leclerc could only manage seventh on the grid – although the Monegasque then restored some Ferrari pride with a strong drive to second.
But despite fast-tracking upgrades to the team’s SF1000 for this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix, a second consecutive qualifying disappointment for Ferrari – with Vettel going through to Q3 but ending up P10, while Leclerc couldn’t progress beyond Q2, and will start 14th after a three-place grid drop – seemed to be more than Binotto could take.
“A really disappointing day,” seethed Binotto after qualifying. “We have to accept that the stopwatch doesn’t ever lie. In two qualifying sessions, albeit in different conditions, we have not been competitive, not only against those who have been our closest rivals over the past few years, but also against others, who up to yesterday were generally behind us.
“We worked very hard to bring updates to the car earlier than planned, but they didn’t show their worth on track,” he added. “We have to work out why and change this state of affairs, which is just not good enough for a team by the name of Ferrari. We mustn’t get het up about it, but we cannot ignore the facts.”
Despite updates to the front wings and rear diffusers for this weekend, plus an experimental floor reportedly tried on Leclerc's car, a lack of power appears to be central to Ferrari’s woes, with only two Q3 appearances for Ferrari-powered cars – Leclerc last weekend, Vettel this weekend – in 2020’s opening two Grands Prix weekends, with neither of customer teams Haas or Alfa Romeo having broken into the top 10 in qualifying so far.
Somewhat ironically, meanwhile, qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix saw Ferrari’s future driver Carlos Sainz secure his best ever grid slot, as he claimed a sensational P3 for the resurgent McLaren team – the second time a McLaren driver will start from that position in a Grand Prix in as many weeks.