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Binotto "not as optimistic as last year"

NEWS STORY
21/02/2020

Speaking to reporters during the lunch break in Barcelona, as the mechanics changed the engine in Sebastian Vettel's car, Ferrari team boss, Mattia Binotto admitted to being less optimistic than he was twelve months ago heading into the new season.

"I am not as optimistic as last year," he admitted. "Some of the others are faster than us at the moment, how much faster is really difficult to judge and I will go through all the data in the next few days. But I don't think we are as fast as them at the moment.

"Do we have any concerns?" he continued. "Certainly, yes, when you are not as fast as you would like to be, but I think it is too early to define it and understand it.

"These three days have been really important for us, because at least we have collected all the data and have a clear picture and better understanding. What will be even more important is to understand that we are developing the car in the right direction but it is a very long season with 22 races potentially so I think there will be time to recover eventually. Let's wait for next week and Australia until we assess properly the true performance of everybody."

Even as the headlines appeared to write themselves however, the Italian moved to allay fans worst fears.

"We should not forget the history of last year," he said. "Let's wait until next week and wait for Australia to better understand the true picture."

Having come back following the 2019 summer break and taken Mercedes by surprise, when asked if he believes Ferrari can still challenge the German team this year he said: "I think it's a very early stage to decide.

"I think Ferrari will be a beater if you consider the overall season," he quickly added. "But will Ferrari be a beater already in Australia? Maybe not.

"I've seen certainly Mercedes, and Red Bull, very fast in these first days," he continued. "But I think we will assess the true performance only next week or in Australia. And that will be true performance to start the season with, knowing that 22 races are very long and everything may change."

Asked if the SF1000 seen in Barcelona will differ from the car that lines up on the Melbourne grid, he replied: "It will not differ much.

"I think the potential is there," he added. "So at first I think it's about optimising the current package and developing it."

Check out our Friday gallery from Barcelona, here.

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