The Scuderia had been advised to write off 2019 after Mercedes’ early-season run of dominance, and driver Sebastian Vettel admitted the team needed to make significant inroads into the championship-leading team’s advantage before the summer break to keep its title hopes alive.
But while Vettel is some 94 points behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton, and the team itself trails Mercedes by 150, Binotto says the continuity of regulations for 2020 means nothing would be gained from abandoning development on the SF90.
Asked how he planned to distribute priorities between development for 2019, 2020 and the new regulations cycle starting in 2021, Binotto told Motorsport.com: “That’s a difficult task.
“First, I think that whatever we can do in the current season will be to the benefit of the next one, so I don’t think we should stop at any stage the development on the current season, because again, I think [it] can be passed over [to 2020].
“But we need to organise ourselves for 2021, no doubt. We’ve got now some responsible [people] in the technical department, and together with them we need to carefully take our decisions relative to the priorities.”
Ferrari’s main priority with the SF90 has been to add more downforce, and the most recent grand prix in Hungary showed it still trails rivals Mercedes and Red Bull in this area.
Binotto, however, has said Ferrari is also keen to carry over the car’s lower-drag philosophy to its 2020 successor.
“Hopefully what we can do is to have more downforce at a similar level of efficiency. I think that should be the two objectives,” he said.
“I think the direction of development is that more downforce is acquired, and I will not at least put in that equation the efficiency. I think we should simply put more downforce and be as efficient as we can.
“And then we need to use properly our downforce, which is in how can we set up and have a proper balance on the car – still here I think there’s areas where we can improve and we should improve.”
Binotto admitted it was “good” to be finally heading into the summer break after what had been a taxing first half of the season for his team.
“It has been a demanding start of the season, no doubt, for many reasons – having changed as well the organisation in January, it’s not an easy one.
“So, overall, yes, it has been demanding – but I think if there is anything which is helping, it’s the team spirit we’ve got. And as you know, when you are in difficulties, but if around you you can feel people happy, supportive, with the right mood, it’s a lot easier.
“And if there is anything that makes me comfortable, it’s certainly the people around me. And that I think is true for each of us, and I think that’s our strength at the moment.”
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF90, leads Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF90
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / LAT Images