Ferrari boss concedes Red Bull have pace advantage, warns ‘it’s our turn’ to bring upgrades

Max Verstappen has won the last two races in Imola and Miami.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto believes that Red Bull have “a couple of tenths” over the Scuderia at present, but he aims to pull it back as the development battle continues.

Red Bull implemented changes to their RB18 at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was described as a “risk” by adviser Dr Helmut Marko due to the lack of preparatory time that weekend, but the reported 5kg weight loss and two-tenth improvement helped Max Verstappen to victory, before he overcame Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz to win again in Miami.

Ferrari started the year evidently the stronger of the two teams but, while the Dutchman was ultimately relatively comfortable in both of the last two races, the Italian observes that Ferrari’s qualifying pace – having locked out the front row in Miami for the first time since 2019 – is a perennial reminder that the Scuderia are a threat.

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“In terms of performance assessments, and how much they [Red Bull] developed compared to us, is that a concern? I would say not,” he said, quoted by Autosport.

“I don’t think that the difference is huge. It is a matter of maximum a couple of tenths and we should not forget that [in Miami] we locked the front row.

“In qualifying we had a better performance compared to the Red Bull, so overall, in a weekend, I don’t think there is much difference between the Red Bull and the Ferrari.”

Ferrari were denied after qualifying first and second for the first time in 48 races, and occupying the whole front row at the start for the first time in 47.

It is symbolic of the Maranello squad’s massive improvements under the new technical regulations, but also that Red Bull’s significant evolutions appear to be making the difference in the reigning champion’s two wins on the bounce, but Binotto is convinced that the Milton Keynes side will run out of budget eventually.

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“If there is a concern, it is how much they are developing considering the budget gap. But more than a concern, maybe it is a hope because at some stage they will need to stop,” he explained.

The 52-year-old confirmed that Leclerc and Sainz will have an improved F1-75 underneath them in Spain.

“In the next races it will be at least our turn to try to develop as much as we can the car by introducing upgrades,” affirmed Binotto.

“I think it’s not a surprise that we may have a package in Barcelona which will be important for us.

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“As usual, I hope the package we are introducing is working as expected in order to try to catch up the current gap we’ve got compared to Red Bull.”

Ferrari lead Red Bull by just six points in the Constructors’ Championship after reliability failures for both Verstappen and Sergio Perez, intertwined with three wins for the 24-year-old.