Ferrari will kick off its season with an SF1000 practically unchanged from pre-season testing in Barcelona, but it will implement a significant upgrade package in Hungary.
The Scuderia lagged its front-running rivals in winter testing, leading many to dismiss the Italian outfit as a title contender this year.
The worries were apparently founded as Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto candidly admitted that a rethink of the car’s aerodynamics was in order for the Scuderia’s engineers during the team’s lockdown.
But the result’s of Ferrari’s “change of direction” won’t be seen until the Hungarian Grand Prix at the end of July. And they’ll need to be efficient given the regulation freeze for 2021.
“This weekend the car will run in the same configuration used towards the end of the Barcelona tests,” Binotto explained in Ferrari’s Austrian Grand Prix preview.
“This doesn’t mean we have been twiddling our thumbs in the very limited time of just five and a half weeks in which we were able to work on the cars, because of the stringent procedures involved in working around the pandemic as well as the total shutdown of activities required by the FIA in agreement with the teams.
“The truth is that the outcome of the tests led us to take a significant change of direction in terms of development, especially on the aerodynamic front.
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“First, we had to understand why we did not see the results we had expected on track and how much to recalibrate the whole programme as a result.
“It would have been counterproductive to continue in the direction we had planned, knowing that we would not have reached our goals.
“Therefore we decided to come up with a new programme that looked at the whole car, knowing that not all of it would be ready for the first race.
“Our aim is to introduce the updates at the third race on 19 July at the Hungaroring.”
Despite the upcoming revisions, Binotto isn’t writing off his team’s chances of performing well in Austria, insisting the Scuderia had a much better understanding of its car thanks to the analysis done in the past few months.
“Over and above the actual development of the car itself, these past few weeks we have worked a lot on analysing its behaviour, with simulation work and with the help of our drivers and I think that will prove its worth in Austria,” said the Swiss engineer.
“We know that, at the moment, we don’t have the fastest package. We knew it before heading for Melbourne and that hasn’t changed.
“Having said that, the Spielberg circuit has different characteristics to Montmelo and the temperatures will be well above those of February.
“In Austria, we must try and make the most of every opportunity and then in Hungary, with the new development step we are working on, we will be able to see where we are really compared to the others, while having to take into account the developments our competitors themselves will have brought along.”
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