Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto was interviewed by Italian newspaper ‘La Gazzetta dello Sport’, as he discussed Charles Leclerc’s progress, Sebastian Vettel’s current situation and most importantly the Maranello team’s tyre issues in 2019:
How long will it take to make the SF90 a winner?
Mattia Binotto: “You won’t see a Ferrari B version or a completely modified car, but only a series of developments in the next few races to improve the use of the tyres. We have ideas, we need to hurry but we need some weeks.”
Sebastian Vettel’s mistakes in the past have been costly in the title battle. This year too..
Mattia Binotto: “I see a serene driver with a desire to drive. Remove the episode in Bahrain, which can happen while fighting wheel to wheel, we have a more solid Sebastian. I’m happy with him.”
And the fans who call Sebastian an accountant (someone who thinks a lot / is precise)?
Mattia Binotto: “Niki Lauda was like this, wasn’t he? Experience brings you to this. Maybe Seb realized last year that if the car can’t go beyond the 5th place, then you take the 5th place home.”
How do you see the evolution of Leclerc from here to last season ?
Mattia Binotto: “Charles Leclerc is a fighter. In Baku he made a mistake and in Monaco he needed more patience, but it wasn’t easy to start behind with Ferrari in his home race. Charles is working with the engineers. He wants to emerge and is aware of his own means. I expect a lot from him in the next races.”
The future could reserve a world championship battle between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen. Did you bet on the right “horse”?
“Surely our investment is excellent. Then it’s up to us to put Charles Leclerc in a position to win. We started the season as we had finished the previous one, not worse. In the 2nd part of 2018, our car was not as competitive as Mercedes. And perhaps now we are paying for the delay.”
On Ferrari’s 2019 tyre issues:
“We started the season as we had finished the previous one, not worse. In the 2nd part of 2018, our car was not as competitive as Mercedes. And perhaps now we are paying for the delay. Our project is badly suited to this year’s Pirelli tyres, they have changed a lot. In 2018 we had to avoid overheating them, now the difficulty is to get them to temperature. These new tyres are also different in construction, not only in the tread, but it is true that last year we did not grasp all the needs related to the 2019 tyres. In the last December testing in Abu Dhabi, they were almost definitive, but by then the SF90 had already been approved. In any case, I don’t want to judge whether the tyres favoured our rivals [Mercedes].”