Ferrari enter 2021 looking to recover from their shambolic 2020 season that saw them finish a lowly sixth in the Constructor’s Championship. They have taken a great first step towards partially regaining that lost glory by putting in an encouraging performance in Bahrain. However, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto notes that even though the power unit is vastly improved from last season, it will still take time to reach Mercedes and Red Bull’s level.
Both the Ferraris finished within the points in the season-opener at Bahrain. Charles Leclerc brought his SF21 home in P6, as he had an interesting battle with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. Carlos Sainz had a very solid P8 on Ferrari debut, something he would look to build on in future races.
In an interview, Mattia Binotto revealed that even though they have partially closed the gap with Mercedes and Red Bull, it is still a gradual process. He said, “I think we are still lacking on the engine, less than before certainly. So I think the gap has closed and we are converging and hopefully, by next year when we have a new power unit, we will catch the benchmark of the others.
“[I] don’t think we have all the details yet, but here we saw we are apparently lacking in all the areas.”
“I think on the aero as well, medium and high-speed downforce…it’s the whole package again. But the differences now are closer and closer. More important is that we are working in the right direction with the right tools. And that will make us stronger in the future.”
The Italian believes the team are in a happier space this season. He said, “I feel relieved, certainly because we may work in a better position and that is actually very healthy for the team. It’s important for the team to be in better positions, it helps to stay calm and positive.
“And that’s for me that’s what’s important, coming here, seeing the car that has progressed, with the team now enjoying stability we can work in an even better manner. So that was important.”
This will represent great progress from the depths of last season. If they are able to pull this off, Ferrari will fancy their chances of mounting a title challenge in 2022. They have something which other teams certainly envy, and that is having two reliable and pacy drivers.
The team just need to make those tweaks on the car, which could push them to the next level. The Italian team should look at playing the long game, just as every team, and look to exploit the 2022 rules change in F1.
If they do so, they could be legitimate contenders for the championships, and a good Ferrari is always great for F1.