Binotto keeps claiming that he would have done this differently had he known how the tyres are but I dont think it's that. I cant remember that a car that has so little downforce ever won the title, regardless of the tyres. Even when the tyres were absolute junk for Red Bull in 2012 their downforce still made it the best car in the field, same for Mercedes on some occasions in the last couple of years.
I think it's more that with the new front wing regulations it is very difficult to balance your car without sacrifying front downforce. Just look at the concepts: most of the field went more to the Ferrari direction than to the Mercedes direction. And it initially looked like that is the way to go. Mercedes so to speak went for the riskier approach with their concept and won.
Which is why I dont really get why Ferrari is not at least trying to copy the Mercedes or at least the Red Bull approach (perhaps - as many suspected - you can only really perfect it over low rake): This year was the perfect opportunity to try it out. Nothing to lose. Even if you dont manage to get exactly the same performance out of this you still have the best engine of the field to offset that. We'll see next year if sticking to their current concept and just adjusting it will be the way to go, but I do have my doubts.
What astounds me is with the engine advantage, they don't need to go towards a high efficiency/low downforce & low drag philosophy that Red Bull for example had to in previous seasons to compensate for the relatively under powered Renault engine.
As Jenson pointed out when he still active at McLaren and the woeful Honda engine at the time, the lower power has a compounding effect on the aero issues. The low engine power takes away any flexibility to not just add downforce, but just as importantly, balancing out downforce front to rear.
So one would think that with a power advantage, Ferrari was in the box seat for the aero philosophy. They could pile on downforce, even if it wasn't as efficient as possible, knowing they had the engine power to overcome it and similarly have a lot more flexibility with setup because of the ability to add downforce to one end for better balance.
With this engine, coupled with the aero changes to reduce the complexity, they should have walked this season.