Mattia Binotto acknowledges Ferrari could be in for a tough week as they head to the French Grand Prix incredibly still looking for their first win of 2019.
Mercedes have dominated Formula One so far this season, with Lewis Hamilton claiming five victories and team-mate Valtteri Bottas triumphing in the other two races.
Ferrari’s wait looked set to end last time out in Canada, but Sebastian Vettel’s dramatic incident as he battled Hamilton led to a five-second penalty which handed the drivers’ championship leader another win.
Vettel’s drive might have otherwise provided a confidence boost heading to France, yet Binotto believes it will prove a tricky circuit for the Scuderia’s package.
And while there will be some further changes to the SF90 car, it is not anticipated they will have a huge immediate impact on the team’s fortunes.
“Following Canada, we definitely want to get back on track and go racing with our rivals once again,” Binotto said.
“In France, we will have a few small evolutions, elements that represent for us a useful step in defining the direction we will take in developing the car.
“What we will be bringing won’t be the solution to our problems, but the technical feedback we get from these evolutions will be important for the next steps we take.
“Paul Ricard has been a tricky circuit for us last year and we know that this kind of track isn’t particularly favourable for our package, but nothing is impossible so we will be ready to do our best.”
TALK OF THE PADDOCK
The clash between Vettel and Hamilton in Montreal continues to dominate conversation in F1, with Ferrari this week exercising their right to request a review of the incident.
Regardless of the outcome, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff this week insisted he is keen to see wheel-to-wheel racing remain in the sport.
“I’m not happy with rules that prevent hard racing,” he told Speed Week.
“My understanding is that the fans should experience the racers as gladiators in their high-tech machines. I want to see tough wheel-to-wheel fighting out there.”
Wolff was confident about Mercedes’ chances of making it eight straight 2019 wins in the upcoming race, adding: “The circuit features some similarities to Montreal and the long straights will present a challenge for us.
“However, unlike Canada, the corner characteristics are spread across a range of speeds, which should play to our advantage. We’re looking forward to the chance to put a few things right again.”
RACEWEEK SCHEDULE (all times local)
Ferrari have won 17 races and taken 17 pole positions at the French GP, more than any other team in either category.
2018: Lewis Hamilton
2009-2017: Race not held
2008: Felipe Massa (for Ferrari)
2007: Kimi Raikkonen (for Ferrari)
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 162
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 133 (-29)
3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 100 (-62)
4. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 88 (-74)
5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 72 (-90)
1. Mercedes 295
2. Ferrari 172 (-123)
3. Red Bull 124 (-171)