Mattia Binotto has insisted he isn’t openly concerned about a potential Mercedes revival after a disastrous 2022 Mexican Grand Prix weekend which saw his Ferrari team struggle for outright pace.
Despite a strong showing in the first practice session, Ferrari endured a nightmare in Mexico, with Charles Leclerc crashing in the afternoon before suffering a myriad of problems on his final qualifying run, consigning him to seventh on the grid with teammate Carlos Sainz only fifth.
Things got worse in the race as neither Ferrari driver managed to stay in touch with both the Red Bull or Mercedes cars, who quickly blasted by the two Ferraris after the first round of pit stops, with Sainz leading home Leclerc in fifth to round off a miserable weekend.
Binotto unconcerned about the rate of development
With Mercedes finishing second and fourth, the gap between the two teams in the Constructor Standings is down to 40 points, and with the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix being a sprint weekend, extra points will be on offer putting further pressure on Ferrari.
But when speaking after the race to the media, which included Total Motorsport,Binotto remained unconcerned about the rate of development at Mercedes, or Ferrari’s current run of form, which includes a winless period of nearly three months.
“Certainly, if I look at the last few races, it’s not always been great, but in Singapore, I thought we were competitive,” Binotto stated.
“In Japan in the wet, we were not as fast as Max [Verstappen], but there was no drama, in Austin in qualifying we were competitive but not as much as we would have expected in the race, I think here it’s a lot worse.
“Now Mercedes is coming back because they developed the car more than we did; we know ourselves that we stopped developing this car quite early, focusing on 2023, so somehow I am not too concerned about the rate of development.”
Friday runs conditioned strategy
The different running plan on Friday and the lack of degradation gave Ferrari the idea of starting the race on the softs before switching to the mediums, putting both cars on a one-stop strategy.
Although the gamble failed to bear fruit, the medium tyre proved to be the better race tyre as the hards chosen by Mercedes were slower and ultimately cost the team a race win, something Binotto picked up on following a season where Ferrari’s strategy has been heavily criticised.
‘‘Yeah, in Hungary, we were criticised and normally when we aren’t doing things entirely right, we are criticised,” Binotto claimed.
“Mercedes maybe have lost the last race by not choosing the right tyres, so I think it’s not only down to us to make different choices or making mistakes so today why we concluded that starting on the softs and then the mediums were the best choice?.’’
‘‘After testing them on Friday, we saw that their wasn’t sufficient degradation on the softs, and we went for it.
“Of course, in the race, we had to manage our tyres to make sure that we were surviving on a one-stopper, so managing tyres has been an item for us today, but still, we believe that the soft-medium was the right choice for the race.’’