Ferrari Reveals Major Vulnerabilties of Their 2021 F1 Car

Published 12/27/2021, 5:21 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 11, 2021 Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. in action during qualifying REUTERS/Rula Rouhana


After a disastrous 2020 campaign, Ferrari made a turnaround this season. The duo of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc managed to put up some highly impressive performances this season. In his first season with the team, Sainz finished 5th in the drivers’ standings, two places ahead of his teammate. The Maranello team also won the midfield battle, finishing 3rd in the constructors’ standings.

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Ferrari had been battling a weaker engine and a draggy car in 2020. With changes in power units, the SF21 found the pace again in the 2021 season. However, racing director Laurent Mekies recently said that although the pace was better, the SF21 was vulnerable to overtakes.

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Mekies believes that during the first half of the season, the drivers were not being able to re-pass once the cars had overtaken them. This killed the overall performance of the team on the track.

Ferrari had issues with the 2021 F1 car as well

The team made an exceptional comeback in the 2021 season, marching their way back among the top teams. Drivers like Lando Norris expect the Maranello team to fight for wins and podiums next season. However, the situation wasn’t all rosy for Ferrari, at least for a major part of the 2021 season.

“In absolute terms, there is nothing about the new hybrid system where you could say it was a ‘game changer’,” said Mekies, as reported by PlanetF1.

“But when you reflect on it again, you think ‘what if we hadn’t had those tenths and hundredths of a second?’ It would have moved us back X positions.”

The changes in power units came with a caveat that the SF21 was left vulnerable to overtakes. Sainz and Leclerc had to rely on that extra pace to avoid such a situation. Mekies believes it killed the overall performance of the team at some level.

“Because the field is so tight, we think it [updated power unit] has been very significant in the second and especially the third part of the season. In some situations, we were vulnerable to overtaking, which killed the overall performance of the car. Once we were behind, that was it,” added Mekies.

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“So that little extra helped us to use the car’s potential better because we were less vulnerable and could drive freely more often.”

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With an engine freeze coming into F1 in 2022, the F1 teams are looking forward to bridging the gap with the top teams. The Frenchman is optimistic about closing this reduced gap in the upcoming season. It would be interesting to see if Ferrari can match Mercedes in terms of raw power in 2022.

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Rituraj Tripathi

274 articles

Rituraj Tripathi is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. A true lover of speed, he is big fan of Lewis Hamilton and finds a future world champion in Lando Norris. Rituraj eagerly looks forward to the paddock moving to the Circuit de Monaco, and he finds Portier corner as the most exciting part of the track.

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