Formula 1: Ferrari want to operate in 'sharpest possible manner' for 2020

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Sebastian Vettel, Mattia Binotto, and Charles Leclerc
Ferrari have the most pole positions in 2019 with nine, but only converted three into a race win

Ferrari team principle Mattia Binotto says they are determined to sharpen up their race management over the final races of the season to ensure they are best placed for 2020.

The team have let a number of wins slip this year, owing to a combination of driver, operational and strategy errors.

Team boss Binotto said: "We have started the last six races from pole position but have only gone on to win three and we want to do better than that."

"We are encouraged we have a package that can fight for wins at most tracks," he added.

Ferrari started the year with a car that was competitive only on circuits dominated by long straights, which played to the standard-setting performance of their engine and did not expose the lack of grip from their chassis.

But aerodynamic upgrades in recent races have closed the gap to Mercedes and Red Bull on cornering performance and Ferrari head to this weekend's US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, as the team to beat in Formula 1.

Binotto added: "It's a significant improvement on how we started the year and credit must go to all the people in Maranello and at the track, who have worked so hard to fight back from where we started.

"We need to use the last three races of this season to further develop as a group and to operate in the sharpest possible manner in order to be better prepared for next year. It is a very tight field at the front and every detail matters if we want to win more often."

In Mexico last weekend, Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel started together on the front row but a too-early pit stop for Leclerc and then allowing themselves to be out-thought on strategy by Mercedes with Vettel left them second and fourth at the end of the race.

Binotto said after the Mexican Grand Prix: "Going to Austin, no doubt we have all the possibility to win. Let's try to start on pole and win and not start on pole and not win. I am pretty sure we can do it."

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of tying up a sixth world title and will do so in Austin as long as he does not lose more than 22 points to team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

The only possible scenario in which Hamilton will not clinch the title is if Bottas wins the race - and even then the Briton needs only to finish eighth to become champion.

Hamilton has won five of the seven races held at the Circuit of the Americas since its debut on the F1 calendar in 2012 and it is one of his favourite tracks.

Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton
Any other result in Austin and Lewis Hamilton will win the world title for a sixth time

Last year, Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, Leclerc's predecessor in the team, won the race and Vettel and Leclerc both go to Austin believing they can beat Hamilton.

Vettel said: "The US GP in Austin is a very different proposition to the high-altitude of Mexico. The Circuit of the Americas is an exciting track, with a wide range of cornering speeds and lots of changes of direction. It's quite bumpy, particularly in the big braking zones so it's easy to lock wheels there.

"The strategy choice is quite open, with both one and two-stop plans looking possible.

"Last year's event was difficult because none of us got much useful running due to the poor weather on Friday.

"The forecast for this year is dry but quite cool. It should be a good circuit for us but, as we saw last year, we can take nothing for granted and the competition is also strong."

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