Ferrari are set to bring “minor” changes to their wings at the Canadian Grand Prix in a few weeks as they seek to respond to Red Bull’s impressive recent form.
Ferrari started the season strong with Charles Leclerc as the Monegasque won two of the opening three rounds of the season in Bahrain and Australia, and Max Verstappen retired from both of those races by virtue of reliability failures either side of victory in Saudi Arabia.
But the Austrian outfit brought significant upgrades to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix a few weeks ago, and it aided Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez to the team’s first one-two since 2016, before the Dutchman won again in Miami.
Part of this success was due to the Ferrari lacking longevity in its tyres, as evidenced in the Imola sprint when Leclerc was leading Verstappen comfortably, before the reigning champion caught and passed him late on.
The Scuderia appeared to have a better understanding of their tyres during the race last weekend in Spain, but a reliability failure for the 24-year-old opened the door for Red Bull to take their second one-two of the season and assume the lead of both championships.
Nonetheless, team principal Mattia Binotto stated that his driver’s tyres were hanging on well as a result of the upgrades Ferrari brought to the Spanish Grand Prix.
“I think at the end we need to keep optimistic,” he told Sky Sports.
“It’s been a positive overall weekend in the way that we brought upgrades, the car has been fast, we made a fantastic pole yesterday and I think as well the race pace today was great.
“After a few races where we were struggling in terms of tyre wear, tyre degradation, today at least we proved that we are pretty fast.
“[We] started on the new tyres, let’s not forget that, maybe that was an advantage.
“But as well on the Mediums later on, [it was a] short length for a stint but the drivers’ feedback and the drivers’ feeling was very strong, and I think that’s at least positive.”
The changes in Canada may well be in a bid to increase their straight-line speed, which has been lacking compared to the Honda-powered Red Bull all season, but the Italian confirmed that his side have been opting for a higher downforce setup to save tyres, and does not agree with the notion that the F1-75 is “draggy” anyway.
“Honestly I don’t think we are too draggy,” stated Binotto.
“If I look yesterday at the quali, I think there was only three clicks between us and the Red Bull, I don’t think that’s much of an issue.
“We are choosing as well to run high downforce type of wings because we believe it’s important for the downforce and to manage the tyres.
“So again, it’s a choice of the team, we had as well a rear wing which was available [with] slightly less downforce but more speed which we tested on Friday, but we didn’t choose.
“We will see in the next race; we will come soon to Baku where there is a… longer straight [and] I am plenty confident that we can have the speed when it will be required.”
It had previously been predicted that the majority of the teams would have to stop developing after the Canadian Grand Prix due to the budget cap.
However, Ferrari kept the same spec car in the first five races as they used during winter testing, so they are expected by journalist Giuliano Duchessa to have the funds to bring more significant changes to the British and the Belgian Grand Prix later this year.