Mattia Binotto says Ferrari didn’t develop its car as much in 2021 apart from engine and that they weren’t third best car on all the circuits.

For Ferrari, the 2021 season where they were third overall in the constructors’ race was a tremendous fillip for them after a horrendously uninspiring shortened 2020. In 2020, they were not the team of old. It was a mystery in a way but many put it down to the 2019 engine situation wherein they were asked to make changes by the FIA.

The 2020 season also saw not once but the team drivers collide ( Austria & Brazil) – the very last thing a team needs. But however, in retrospect, they did not panic. They did not develop all that much however. Their car in 2020 was a great disappointment.

The 2020 season saw their worst performance since 1980, and the previous season to that they had won the title. But 2021 saw a marked improvement, a very consistent season and a very strong finish, particularly over the last third of the season. Charles Leclerc also did everything except win at Silverstone as Carlos Sainz picked up four podiums.

It was a good season and a strong one too which is pleasing for all. Team Principal Binotto stressed on the fact that they did not develop the car as much in 2021 and one of the bigger changes in the year was the engine itself, which was brought in looking towards the 2022 season and beyond.

“It was a very difficult season in 2020, finishing sixth in the Championship,” started Binotto. “That was the worst in the last 40 years. In terms of performance, it was very poor, both on the straight lines and in the corners. I think that was the baseline for the 2021 because somehow most of the car was frozen, only two tokens or two changes possible.

“Aerodynamically, we could have developed it but with some limitations, so I think the baseline was difficult and so see that we are finishing third, again I think it’s encouraging. It’s showing that the team has been capable of addressing some weaknesses, the team has been good in understanding the weaknesses and developing the car furthermore.

“I think we have not developed much the car, we have just introduced an evolution of the power unit at some stage. That was it. To see that we have achieved a third place – and know that the competitors are strong around us – it’s showing that the team has done good progress and progress has been done in all the areas.

“I mentioned before the straight line and the corners but that’s the result of the aero, the chassis, the power unit – but as well I think in terms of race engineering, strategy, pit-stops, everything has come together with some improvements now. Third place is not what we are looking for as Ferrari. Our DNA, Ferrari DNA is to complete for the first place.

“But knowing what was 2020 I think it has again been quite encouraging to see the progress,” summed up Binotto. Third in the championship standings was a great achievement and there was when one looks back quite a battle between them and fellow long – termers McLaren throughout the season and it was Ferraris consistently in the end the end that sealed the deal.

But were they always third best over the season? In short…no.  At some venues yes but not at others. “I don’t think in each track we have been the third fastest car,” said Binotto. “In the midfield, the level of competitiveness was very close and sometimes we’re slightly ahead or slightly behind – but I think we have been quite consistent through the season, scoring points with the two drivers in a consistent way.

“I think that was important because, by simply scoring points at each single race we have been capable of increasing our understanding in the Championship. I think it’s a great overall effort and result of the team,” summed up Binotto.

As per above, it is great to see them back at the sharp end. Their target now will be to bridge the gap to Mercedes and Red Bull. It will be interesting in 2022 to see how Ferrari adapt to new regulations. If Ferrari continue their consistency, then latter part of 2021 will prove to all it wasn’t a fluke.

The story was written by Neil Farell

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