Mattia Binotto believes Scuderia Ferrari will be in a better position in 2021 than they were in 2020, particularly when it comes to the straight-line speed deficit that they faced last year due to power unit and aerodynamic shortfalls.
Binotto, the Team Principal of Ferrari, says the power was down to where it needed to be last year, and coupled with too much drag on the SF1000, it meant a year contending in the midfield rather than at the front of the field where they expected to be.
The development of the SF21 has given Ferrari hope that they will show themselves in a better light this year, with the power improved and the drag reduced.
“I think that last year the main issue was the speed on the straight lines, not only the power but both power and drag,” Binotto said at Ferrari’s 2021 launch on Friday. “We’ve worked a lot, both on the power unit, and the car aerodynamics, to reduce the drag of the car.
“And based on our simulations today, based on what we can see in terms of power output from the dynos, and the drag of the car from the wind tunnel, I think that we recovered quite a lot of speed on the straights.
“So I’m expecting the speed not to be such an issue as it was. We hope to be competitive, but we will know it only when being in Bahrain, because it’s always relative to what the others are doing.
“But we believe that our car is certainly more efficient compared to the one we had last year, and when I’m saying efficient, again, it is both from the aero point of view, and from the power unit point of view.”
Binotto says there is encouragement within Ferrari that they will be in a much better position in 2021 compared to where they were last year where Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel struggled for performance. However, he remains realistic that they will not be able to completely close the gap on their rivals over just one, relatively short, winter.
“The way I’ve seen the car developing both in the windtunnel and on the dyno, I believe that somehow we made a significant effort,” said Binotto. “But you cannot know where you are if you are not on track, and I think that will be important for us.
“We need to be realistic. The gap to the best last year was very important, and not something that we can recover in a single winter.”
Whilst they are looking for improvements in 2021, Binotto says the main focus for Ferrari during the year will be the development of the 2022 car, which will be the first under the new regulations of Formula 1.
“Our focus during 2021 will be developing the 2022 car,” added Binotto. “That will be the main target, so we will not spend much time on the 2021 [car] during the season.
“There is always a balance, and it’s a choice that we need to make at some stage. But the 2022 car is such a big change that there is at least a minimum quantity of exercise and design and projects that need to be developed. So most of the effort will be there.
“That’s why how the car is handling at the very start of the season is very important, because it’s somehow the balance of performance we may see for the rest of the season.
“As I said, we obviously know how much we progressed in the windtunnel and with power. But more than that, what will be important is to see the track delivery. How really the car will be on track compared to expectations.”