Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto believes that Maranello’s are still a long way from the big Formula 1 teams to start fighting for podiums, despite the progress seen at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
After last season’s debacle, in which Ferrari finished sixth in the Constructors’ World Cup, Charles Leclerc managed to qualify in a surprising fourth place and finished sixth in the opening round of the 2021 season.
His teammate, Carlos Sainz, also qualified within the top 10 and finished eighth in the race. Ferrari achieved its first double in the points zone since last year’s Turkish Grand Prix.
But this great start doesn’t mean that Ferrari is in a position where they can fight for podiums, according to Binotto.
“The difference with strong teams is still very large, in the race it is even greater, so there is still a long way to go, although the gap will also depend on each track,” he declared Binotto when asked about Ferrari’s chances of getting on the podium this season.
“We know that we will not work much on the development of this car, because we will focus on 2022 in terms of design development. I am pretty sure other teams will do the same.”
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“But I think if we look at our race in Bahrain, we get feedback from our drivers, they start to learn about the car, to know where the limits are with this car and on some occasions, we will be able to solve the problems or improve it, so I think the the next three or four races will be a first indication of the real pace and potential of our Formula 1 compared to the rest. “
Guenther Steiner, Head of Haas F1, and Mattia Binotto, Head of Ferrari F1.
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
Poor engine performance was the major cause of Ferrari’s problems last year, but already in the winter tests, the team confirmed the step forward made regarding its loss of speed on the straights.
Binotto admitted that it was a relief to see the improvement of the engine during the first grand prix, and acknowledges that this gives the team a solid foundation that will help to work more calmly to continue improving.
“Honestly, I am relieved, because we will work from a better position, and that is very encouraging for the team,” added Binotto.
“It is important that the team can work in good conditions, remain calm and be positive, and for me that is very important.”
“So coming here, seeing the improvement of the car and with the team in a certain calm means that we will be able to work in better conditions.”
“The engine, the chassis, the tires, the tools, the correlation … all of that was important to us and was basically the key to everything.”
“How much is it thanks to the improvement of the power unit? I think it is difficult to guess, because it is in relation to the rest of the teams. It is not an absolute value and I do not know the improvements of the rest, we can only judge the whole package.”
Binotto stated that it was positive for the team to see that the car performed as Ferrari had anticipated with the data obtained in the simulation at the factory.
“Compared to expectations, in terms of our simulation data, we had good correlations, that was important to us,” he said.
“It is something that we developed last year, to improve on where we were. The car performs as expected. Already in the three days of pre-season testing, we had some idea of how it was going to perform.”
“We know we have a better car compared to last year, there is no question, compared to our competitors.”
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