Scuderia Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has described his team’s updates ahead of this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix as ‘the first step in the development of the SF90’.
Ferrari has two third placings to its name through the first three races of the 2019 Formula 1 campaign as its main rival, Mercedes, went one-two in each.
The Maranello outfit took pole and was on for a victory in Round 2 in Bahrain, both courtesy of Charles Leclerc, before the Monegasque driver lost the lead due to a short circuit.
In Australia and China, however, Mercedes-AMG had a clear pace advantage.
The Silver Arrows have featured small updates at each race so far while the Ferraris have been largely unchanged, but the latter will tackle Baku with new features.
“Coming off the back of three races that definitely didn’t go the way we wanted, this GP is another important moment for us,” said Binotto.
“We have prepared for it very well, analysing all the data we have acquired up until now, looking at areas where we can improve and working on adapting the car’s set-up and the power unit management to the characteristics of the track.
“In fact, Baku features a very long straight, which places special demands on the engine, both the internal combustion part as well as the hybrid elements.
“We are bringing a few updates to Baku, as the first step in the development of the SF90.”
Several commentators have noted a tendency for the SF90 to struggle in low-speed corners in comparison to Mercedes’ W10.
Baku therefore presents a particular challenge for Ferrari, given that it features extremely high-speed sections as well as a number of sharp, slow corners, which Sebastian Vettel alluded to.
“A big challenge at Baku is to find the right wing level to get good grip for the slow corners but also to be fast enough on the straights where we spend a lot of time at full throttle,” noted Vettel.
“It’s not an easy compromise.”
Mercedes leads the constructors’ championship with 130 points having missed out only on two fastest lap points so far, while Ferrari trails by 57 points in second position.
Practice in Baku starts on Friday at 1900 AEST.