In some ways, it’s really funny to reflect on Red Bull team principal Christian Horner’s statement on the 2020 season. This is when Mr. Horner didn’t say anything untoward and unjust about what was until a few months ago, the forthcoming Formula 1 season. He’d said, “the 2020 season will be key to the sport!” And here we are, nearly a month down from the “five red lights going green” and not a single race has taken place. All thanks to the Coronavirus outbreak, not only was the Australian Grand Prix called off, but the Bahrain Grand Prix has been postponed and the Monaco Grand Prix- one of the sport’s signature events- has been called off already.
Never before in the checkered history of Formula 1 has the famous event in the salubrious principality has been called off ever since coming on the calendar, decades back. But one team that may be ruing the lack of chances it already has with whatever’s left on the calendar would be Scuderia Ferrari.
This is a team that, fans cannot possibly believe, even to this very moment (having witnessed the struggles of 2019), managed to win but not before the resumption of the season, post the mid-season break.
So every which way 2020 was to have been the year that many were hoping would’ve been synonymous with Ferrari’s resurgence, something that Charles Leclerc’s massive drives at Belgium and Italy indicated at.
Yet, something that the likes of Vettel, clearly struggling to hold his place in the shining reds, would’ve wanted to make the most of.
Clearly, an ardent fan-favorite and the number 1 opponent to Red Bull and Mercedes, two teams that have, time and again, owing to worthy and consistent performances made Ferrari seem amateurs, 2020 was to have been the year for the Scuderia. And yet, what we saw from the pre-season testing were signs of Ferrari lagging in speed and car performance.
The SF 1000 doesn’t to this day, even as not a single race has taken place, doesn’t inspire much confidence.
The car was nearly over a second off the fastest car on the timesheets, which, needless to say, were Mercedes. The likes of Red Bull, who are roaring in confidence, having drastically improved the car for the 2020 season, are also making Ferrari appear as weaklings.
But that said, let it not be forgotten that to be underwhelming in the testing runs is one thing and to be completely miserable in the race is something quite different. Yet, Mattia Binotto, the team principal at the famous Italian outfit suggests what one saw during the run in Spain is pretty much where the team (and hence the car) are at.
So what exactly is Mattia Binotto suggesting here?
Well, let’s take a look at the bespectacled gentleman’s own statement:
“We have analyzed the data, I don’t think there is anything wrong in terms of correlation. That’s the true performance of the car,” Binotto reportedly told the official Formula 1 website.
“Where will be compared to the others? Barcelona is always testing, you need to wait for the first three races to understand where you are.”
“It’s important for us as a team to continue progressing, to have solid race weekends, from the team, driver and reliability point of view.”
That said, one cannot possibly wait anymore- isn’t it- for the season to begin. After all, a lot is at stake already. And not only from the perspective of the Scarlett Red cars; Lewis Hamilton is closing on his seventh driver’s title, a feat if he achieves, will place him alongside Michael Schumacher.
But for now, there’s no respite whatsoever from the Coronavirus outbreak. The question is loud and clear: what’s going to happen ahead?