Ferrari rivals don't have 'doubts' about engine legality, Binotto claims

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Ferrari chief Mattia Binotto believes rival teams did not have "doubts" over the legality of their engine.

Throughout 2019, the Scuderia enjoyed a big straight-line speed advantage over Mercedes and Red Bull due to a combination of more power and less aerodynamic drag from the SF90.

After the summer break, however, when results really improved including three wins, requests for clarification were made to the FIA directly aimed at what was seen as the reasons for Ferrari's engine performance.

And it was the timing of their rivals' actions which Binotto feels is proof that they don't really think they were doing anything illegal.

“I’m not sure they actually had doubts about it,” the Ferrari boss told Auto Motor und Sport.

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“They probably used the circumstance to put pressure on us. Pressure distracts.

“It is part of the game of Formula 1 to unsettle the opponent. Our business is not just about athletic and technical competition; anything that harms the opponent, use it.

“Everyone plays the cards they hold in their hands. Should that make me proud? I’m only proud when we win.”

A number of technical directives were issued and coincidentally, Ferrari's performance dropped.

Binotto though claimed that was due to the team running higher downforce than previously and actually welcomed the rulings.

“We are satisfied with that because there is more clarity in a very complex set of rules," he suggested.

“Will they be completely clear? Probably not. I am sure there are a few more directives to come in the future.

“As a team, we should support the FIA to eliminate ambiguity in the rules.”

01-ferrari-brazilian-gp-2019-gallery-friday - Sao Paolo 2019 - Sebastian Vettel

Now Ferrari is planning another overhaul of their engine design for 2020 with changes to the architecture externally and internally reportedly being made.

However, a change in philosophy with the chassis means the Swiss chief is not expecting the top speed advantage of this year to be repeated.

“Our car next year is aiming for a lot more downforce," he explained. “We are not expecting to be as far on the straight as we have been but you never know what the others are doing.

“The things that we learned, we recognise that we need to have certainly more downforce – as we saw at the end of the season, still there is a gap to close.

“So, our car is aiming for more downforce and by consequence, we are certainly working more on drag.”