The sport’s oldest, most glamorous and successful team have not won a drivers’ title since 2007.
Ferrari will launch its new Formula One car on Feb 11 and expect it to have less outright speed than this year’s but be better equipped to take the fight to champions Mercedes after a disappointing 2019.
Team boss Mattia Binotto told reporters at the Maranello factory that Ferrari was aiming to put a lot more aerodynamic downforce on the as-yet-unnamed 2020 car. The sport’s oldest, most glamorous and successful team have not won a drivers’ title since Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen was champion in 2007.
“We are not expecting to be as fast on the straight as we have been,” said Binotto. “Our car is aiming for more downforce and by consequence, we are certainly working more on drag.”
Binotto said there would be “quite significant changes on the engine”, with the power unit a source of controversy this year amid speculation Ferrari were bending the rules –allegations they have firmly denied.
Ferrari started 2019 as favorites after setting impressive times in testing but failed to live up to expectations. Binotto called the opening race in Australia “a cold shower”.
Mercedes won both titles for an unprecedented sixth year in succession while Lewis Hamilton, who ended the year as a six times world champion, won 11 of 21 races.
Ferrari won three, two with Monegasque newcomer Charles Leclerc who out-performed four times world champion teammate Sebastian Vettel but suffered reliability problems and team and driver errors. Binotto said Ferrari, whose driver lineup will be unchanged, would not start 2020 as favorites.
We didn’t have the best car in 2019,” he said. “So, we cannot be the favorites. The ones that won the championship this year, the ones that won the last titles are setting the bar and are having the fastest car by the end of the season.So we are the challengers.”
Ferrari chief executive Louis Camilleri saw encouraging signs for the future even if the team had not met their ambitions.
“If you look back in the history of Formula One, where teams have done very well…there is one common thread, which was that there was a lot of stability within the team and therefore they learned to work very closely together,” he said.
“That is something we are very focused on, Mattia has been spending a lot of time to ensure that we have a cohesive, united team.”