Binotto hoping budget cap curbs Red Bull's progress


Ferrari boss, Mattia Binotto is hoping that the limitations of the budget cap will compromise Red Bull's upgrade programme as the championship battle develops.

Just five races into the season, the teams are separated by 6 points, though Charles Leclerc enjoys a 19 point advantage over Max Verstappen.

The world champion has won each of the three races he has finished thus far, but the Austrian team's questionable reliability has had both the Dutchman and his Mexican teammate demanding that things improve.

In previous years, as the championship developed, the sport would have witnessed a spending war on costly upgrades but this has gone out of the window with the imposing of the budget cap from last season.

This year the teams are operating under a $140m (115m) cap, and already there is consternation among them as they deal with the weight issue, each dollar spent on solving the problem being a dollar that cannot be spent on developing and upgrades.

Believing that a package of upgrades will be more effective than incremental changes Binotto is doubtful whether Red Bull can maintain the development programme which has allowed it close the gap.

"I always said that you should have wait five races at least to assess the proper competitiveness within the cars," said the Italian. "Now five races has gone, we are leading both championships which is great, so we should not be too disappointed.

"But it's true that Red Bull improved their car since the very start of the season, that's why they introduced upgrades," he added. "If I look at the last two races, maybe they got a couple of tenths per lap faster to us now."

It's widely believed that one of the reasons for the improved performance of the RB18 is that the team is gradually getting down to the 798kg limit, and while this might be paying off now, further down the line Ferrari is hoping that its rival has to reign-in its spending.

"It's no doubt that in order to keep the pace, we need to develop on ourselves and produce updates," said Binotto. "I hope, because there is as well a budget cap, at some stage Red Bull will be stop developing.

"As it was I think I would not understand how they can do that, but let's say that in the next races it could be at least our turn to try to develop as much as we can the car by introducing updates."

As its rival draws ever-closer, asked if Ferrari will now introduce regular updates, Binotto replied: "We do not have the money to spend for upgrades at every single race.

"It's as simple as that," he added. "Not because of reliability but because of budget cap. So we need somehow to try to focus the development on when we believe it's the right moment and the right spending.

"It's not a surprise that we may have a package in Barcelona, which will be important for us," he admitted. "I hope that the package we are producing is working as expected, and in that case can be a good boost in order to try to catch up the current gap we've got to the Red Bull."

To that end, the Scuderia took advantage of the filming day rule this week as it carried out a highly-secretive test with Charles Leclerc at Monza from which the media and just about everybody else was strictly excluded.

With its high-speed straights it is understandable why Ferrari would choose to use the Autodromo Nazionale as opposed to its own facility at Fiorano.

Though the day is limited to 100 kms (62 miles) and only production tyres may be used, Ferrari obviously thought it would be worth the effort.

We can't wait to see the film.

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Published: 15/05/2022
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