26 Jul 2020


With 5 races under our belts in the 2020 Formula 1 season one issue is still puzzling many. Where has Ferrari’s 2019 pace gone? Everyone outside Marinello is scratching their collective heads as the Italian icons continue to make a far from exemplary start to the 2020 season.

The P2 finish from Charles Leclerc in the opening race looks more and more of an achievement as the performance of the car is far from looking like title-contending material.

So how can Ferrari do an “Austin Powers” and travel back to 2019 and rescue their Mojo?

The glaring issue with the car this year appears to be its lack of straight-line speed and in this case the numbers do not lie. Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto admitted that they were seven tenths of a second slower than Mercedes during qualifying at the Red Bull Ring, putting the team at a huge disadvantage when placed against the best car on the grid.

When simple straight-line speed is the issue with a car it is easy to point the finger of blame at the power unit. Some responsibility may also lie with the aerodynamics but unless the car is styled after a square box, drag is unlikely to be the reason as to why their top speed is 10 km/h slower than in 2019.

So now the question becomes, what has changed since last year when Ferrari had Sebastian Vettel setting the fastest speed in the speed trap at 325 km/h, to now having both drivers languishing in the bottom three?

The most prominent difference is obviously Binotto himself. With Batchelors and Masters degrees in Motor Vehicle Engineering he was, prior to his appointment as Team Principle in July 2019, CTO at Ferrari and was also Head of Power Train Development for many years.

The dip in Ferrari’s performance has caused some commentators to question whether directing his full attention to his duties as team principal has meant that his undoubted skill at developing a top performing power unit has not been replaced with equal skillset within the Powertrain division of racing operations at Ferrari.

In order to address their issues this season, Ferrari have recently announced a further technical reshuffle. However, with Binotto confirming that he will remain as team principal his influence over the detail in development of the car may continue to be diluted. Keeping him in post, its clear the upper management of Ferrari has not lost confidence in his leadership and long-term strategy.

Another exciting development that could point to future Ferrari success is that Rory Byrne, who led the development of many successful Ferrari’s during the Brawn/Todt/Schumacher era will once again take on a role working with the Scuderia’s engineering team. This part of the reshuffle should bring hope to the fans that sometime in the future Ferrari will be able to compete with Mercedes.

JDC is looking forward to welcoming everyone back to Formula 1 in 2021 for what is expected to be a very exciting and closely run season. If you’d like to experience any of the races on the 2021 calendar, then take a look at our Paddock Club™ hospitality packages or contact JDC Promotions and let us build a bespoke package for you and your guests.


Formula 1 Correspondent