Mattia Binotto believes last season’s showdown was “something incredible” where he wished they were part of it, as Zak Brown thinks the “spectacular” season is a taste of the future.

In the midst of a fiery championship battle at the head of the field – between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes and Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren were fighting their own fight for the next two spots in the Constructors’ Standings.

Ferrari went on to claim third ahead of McLaren as Scuderia drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz secured a huge haul of points for the team in the last few races, topped off by a superb third place for the Spaniard in Abu Dhabi, as McLaren tailed off.

Ferrari Team Principal Binotto reveled in the battle with McLaren, even though he admits he’d liked it to have been for the outright championship win. However, he seemed to have one eye on the front end of the grid anyway throughout the 2021 season.

“The battle [between Hamilton and Verstappen] was very intense, and very nice I have to say, and even watching from outside it was something incredible, coming to the last race, equal points,” said Binotto. “I think it was something incredible for the fans, for the entertainment. Obviously it was a shame, or a pity for us not being there.

“We would [have] liked to be there and fighting as well – but it was a great championship.” Binotto spoke admirably on the state of Formula 1 looking at the fight between Mercedes and Red Bull, believing it to be on a good and healthy path for the future in all areas of the sport, with the entertainment aspect being a key part.

“F1, generally speaking, is giving a great show,” said Binotto. “It’s giving a great show as a sport… but it’s always improving. I think in terms of show, broadcasting, communications, the sport itself, a lot was done [in 2021] and everybody simply can only enjoy it.”

Meanwhile, McLaren’s CEO Brown also spoke decorously on the sport’s direction, and his hopes for how the 2022 season will play out. “I would be very surprised if 2022 was a boring campaign with the new cars,” he said to media including “I think we’re going to get some winners and losers and some surprises.

“I’d be surprised if there was dominance, you could get a team who’s maybe dominant for a small period of time like Brawn GP was when they figured out something in 2009, but I think with the cost cap now in place, you can feel the tension that’s put on the teams.

“I’d be surprised if the field didn’t continue to get closer. My hopes are we go into Abu Dhabi [in 2022] with three or four cars that can compete for the championship, I think that’s the ultimate goal, I think last year was spectacular up and down the grid.

“I hope with what’s been put in place and the new cars and the new aerodynamic package that what we see now is just a taste of the future,” summed up Brown. F1 heads into a new technical era this season with fresh aerodynamic concepts introduced, and in some cases re-introduced, in the hope of improving the show even further.

The story was written by Danny Herbert

Here’s Zak Brown on changes in directives from F1/FIA

Here’s Mattia Binotto on Ferrari line-up plus Zak Brown

Here’s Zak Brown on livery

Here’s Zak Brown on F1 2021 and how the future is for McLaren