Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020

Ferrari’s rebuilding could take “many years” amid development restrictions

2020 F1 season

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says it could take “many years” to bring Ferrari back to the front of the Formula 1 field.

The team won three races last year and finished second in the championship. But it has struggled so far this season.

It reached a new low at Spa-Francorchamps where neither car reached Q3 and both finished well outside the top 10. The team has slipped to fifth place in the constructors’ standings.

Binotto, who took charge of Ferrari at the beginning of last season, says he takes first responsibility for the team’s plight and said it is not up to him to decide whether someone else should be put in charge.

“Who is responsible? The entire team is responsible and myself as team principal as first. [Whether] I am the right man or not, [is] not [for] myself to answer.”

There will be no quick return to the front of the field for the team, Binotto warned.

“How long it will take, I think if we look back in all the winning cycles that have been set it’s always many years. There are no silver bullets in F1. Patience and stability is required.”

The introduction of new technical regulations, which has been postponed from next year to 2022, will offer Ferrari an opportunity to close the gap to its rivals. In the meantime Formula 1 has introduced several development restrictions as a cost-saving measure, which will make it harder for Ferrari to make quick progress.

“The engine is frozen this season, so there’s nothing we can do on that,” said Binotto. “We are developing it for next year. It’s progressing well at the dyno at the moment.

“As well on the car we’ve got some restrictions. So what are the plans for us? The main plan is focussing on the next seasons. At first 2021 but certainly as well 2022.

“I think that in order to do well the next season will mean as well trying to understand the weaknesses of today and make sure that [we] are addressing them.”

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58 comments on “Ferrari’s rebuilding could take “many years” amid development restrictions”

  1. Same record being played over and over again nothing new.

    1. Yes, it does feel that way sometimes and as a Ferrari fan of 30-odd years myself, it’s a painful period. But these are early days for the new management structure at Ferrari. It will take a while before it bears fruit.

      Give this article by Dieter a read for more context:

      1. Thanks for the link, that was interesting. I had missed reading it.

    2. We should remember Enzo Ferrari’s quote: “Aerodynamics are for people who can’t build engines.”

      As for

      “Who is responsible? The entire team is responsible and myself as team principal as first.

      , he should challenge Toto Wolf for a duel at sunset in Monza, but Toto is right. A few people at SF decided that they should cheat the fuel sensor rule. Not the whole team. Fish rottens from the head.

      1. Most duels, as I understood, were held in the cold light of the early morning.
        I can just see it now, the protagonists, with seconds, facing off inside the Parabolica for the call, “Choose your weapons”.
        My choice … Feather Dusters at a hundred yards.

      2. @svianna except that it’s very questionable if Enzo really meant it to be taken as seriously as so many fans seem to think, as the remark seems to have only been intended as a throwaway comment to make Paul Frere shut up about the design of the windscreen on the sportscar he was driving. After all, Forghieri has indicated that Ferrari were negotiating access to the University of Stuttgart’s wind tunnel at around the same time that remark was made, which does suggest Enzo was rather more aware of the importance of aerodynamics than the quote suggested.

        1. Good comment, and great insight (new to me) on the Uni Stuttgart wind tunnel. anon

        2. It’s like the Senna quote about going for a gap.

          Where people still use it where a driver has gone for a gap that will close and then cause an avoidable accident!

          1. If you go for a gap, the is not knowing if it closes.
            So the quote still stands there.
            Taking risks is accepting a chance it could fail.

          2. erikje the point about the Senna quote is that he said it in a hearing to defend his *deliberate* crashing into Prost in Suzuka in 1990, which he later pretty much admitted was a deliberate crash. So while the quote in itself may sound kinda right, it was made in a context were it just was not applicable.

      3. Considering Ferrari’s last race results maybe they better aerodynamics would help them.

  2. I wonder how this will impact Ferrari’s willingness to take risks in the future. Obviously they understood there was risk in the power unit solution they pushed over at least last season if not before, I’m guessing that getting one decent year of performance in at the cost of being put back probably two years engine development will not be looked upon kindly in Maranello.

    If it does influence their readiness to take on risks though maybe that could be even worse for them though? What good’s a racing team that won’t take risks in the search for performance? Especially heading towards an era of having 10 “franchises” and increased parity, taking calculated risks will become ever more important so you wouldn’t want to go in with a more conservative calculus whilst at the same time getting pushed back a few years could lose them a decade. Tricky times ahead for Ferrari…

    1. I’m not sure they did understand the risk, after all they are the mighty Ferrari. Who was going to challenge their engineering?

  3. I’m not sure if FIA has formally banned the copying route as taken by RP, otherwise Ferrari could take some pictures of the Alfa Romeo.

    1. Ouch!

    2. Comment of the day?

  4. Sainz furiously reading the small print…

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      1st September 2020, 13:47

      Yeah, did he sign before or after the FIA settlement? He may end up being another Ferrari casualty of this settlement which has pretty much hurt everyone across the paddock.

      1. What now are the odds that Hamilton will have a swansong career end at Ferrari?

  5. “There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it”.
    Hope Binotto would understand Oscar Wilde quote and more importantly the hashtag #EssereFerrari.

    1. You need two people for the truth, one is telling the other listening.

      1. You need nobody for the truth. The truth simply is.

        The real.issue is likely the development freeze. Not only was their loophold closed, their ability to redesign a legal solution was taken away. Of course this year was always going to be a disaster. Literally no way around it.

  6. I have zero sympathy for Ferrari I think they have gotten off incredibly lightly and still have to much power over the FIA and Liberty. Having said that the two biggest players Mercedes and Renault could force change but hey business doesn’t work like that.

    1. We’re lucky that a good for nothing team like Ferrari has such power. Now imagine, an innovative team like Mercedes wielding such power. F1 would have been much worse to watch.

  7. Poor Carlos.
    Hope he has some escape clause in his sentence.

    1. Even if he does, where’d he get a seat? I just hope he didn’t put too much emphasis on a commission for race results otherwise he’s going to wish he’d taken a seat somewhere that “paid less”.

  8. The complete shambles of 1992-93 was only really rectified (more than 1 win per season) when the Benetton “names” were tempted across and Ferrari’s unique Bridgestone/empirical method was honed. How long will it take this time? The 21 year wait (Scheckter-Schumacher) might be flirted with, particularly if they can’t spend their way out of it. Regardless of their longevity, Ferrari are reverting to their mean of being mediocre.

  9. This is not what I hoped to hear. It’s going to be difficult enough encouraging everyone to wait until 2022, let alone “many years”…

    1. It might be a reflection of how small the time window is to actually improve the engine enough to be on par with the rest before most of it gets all but frozen for the 5 following seasons @alianora-la-canta.

      If Ferrari doesn’t get the engine sorted, even a superb chassis for 2022 (I doubt they have what it takes to build that, but still could) won’t bring them into championship contention.

      1. @bascb Perhaps. But if a bad engine is frozen for 2022, then saying there is no chance until 2027 is going to be more time than most of the people there now can be expected to wait.

        1. Indeed, @alianora-la-canta. Which might be the best explanation of why we hear Binotto bringing this up at this very moment.

          I can imagine Liberty and the FIA would also be more happy if Ferrari got a bit of leeway to be able to bring that engine more in line with the rest again. Or alternatively, find the loopholes others might be using to be ahead.

          1. @alianora-la-canta @bascb Personally I doubt it is going to take years. Let’s recall that there is no way their poor performance now is entirely down to them losing their engine trick. They obviously have chassis issues too, and aren’t able to get the tires to work.

            Likely next year will be tough too, but I suspect not as tough as this year as they will find some answers with their chassis at least, and perhaps get back to making the tires work better. At least somewhat anyway. Hard to imagine them staying this down for very long. If they’re lacking downforce, well, they’ll all be having a bit less downforce next year with the floor changes so an opportunity is there for Ferrari to nail that coming change.

            But for 2022, even if their engine is still lesser, the cars and tires will be entirely different, and it will be more of a driver’s series, so I see no reason to think Ferrari won’t at least be able to show some exciting and encouraging performances and be in the fight for podiums.

            Binotto is speaking of the usual way it can be in F1 where after a team has had a run of success and then another team takes over the top spot, often from major rules changes, it can be years for that run to come back to the team that was usurped. True, however, that is not a written in stone guarantee, and big changes/opportunities are on the horizon.

            What else can they do but noses to the grindstone and do their best? One could be in a worse position than being Ferrari with their resources.

          2. I guess it depends on what you see as “years” @robbie.

            Since it is pretty clear they will have their jobs cut out trying to find power from the engine with the few things that are allowed, they would have to build a car at the level of the RB cars of the 2009-2014 years to be able to overcome a deficit of maybe 3-5 tenths a lap from that engine.
            And that would be for 2022 earliest, since they cannot really change anything much on their chassis from now until the end of 2021 anyway, so that car won’t be up to more than midfield if they do a good job.
            Making a competative Ferrari at least 2 years away, even if they do manage to also up that engine back to the rest of the field by then.

          3. @bascb Yeah fair comment.

          4. The car will only be better if answers are actually found. The one upgrade the car’s had so far didn’t seem to help, which is not a good omen… Besides, winning a championship (Ferrari’s aim) requires both a good car and a good engine. So if either isn’t good, that season is not going to be a title-winner.

            (I want to believe Ferrari’s resurgence is just around the corner, but I need more evidence). Also, my comment started with “if a bad engine is frozen for 2022”, which is a key conditional here. A good engine being frozen gives Ferrari a lot more leeway).

      2. There is always IndyCar. Dallara supplies the chassis. All they have to do is supply the engi….oh never mind.

  10. Ferrari needs someone non Italian again to deal with Car design and Strategy. They were doing a whole lot better when someone like Brawn, Allison, Byrne and even Smedley were at the team (at different times). Italians are passionate people and there is a huge sense of pride involved in what they do, but they tend to act on that instead of common sense. Don’t get me wrong….. Italians are awesome people and have and still do great things. But when it comes to Ferrari in F1 you have to get the best people on your team to become the best not who can wear the Ferrari emblem the best.

    1. Lets say their emotions get in the way of the sensablethings sometimes.

    2. The Italians love to look good and exagerate their problems. What we need now are a few centurion and some horns blaring and a march to pick up the team principal.
      Add some drama too.

  11. Ferrari build their cars with flair and passion.

    Others use science and technology.

  12. if it really takes 4-5 years for Ferrari to get back to the top, it makes me sad for Charles and Carlos.
    Both are talented drivers that should fight for podiums in a decent car. No one enjoyed Alonso fighting for points in McL-Honda a few years back…

  13. Nothing will change for Ferrari until 2022 if they step up by then. Too bad for Carlos as a Ferrari ride is often the dream ride for all who race. Like in the dominating years with Michael when Ferrari’s were Kings.
    Most races won by Ferrari’s competition we’re mostly about getting lucky.
    Now everybody is getting crushed by this Incredible Sliver Arrows, the machine of machines and until you see Lewis get 100poles and 100victories, better plan on second place at best.
    My guess is that in 2022 or 2023 Carlos could see the benefit of joining a down and out team.
    Ferrari will rise again. It’s just racing and someone will win. Hope I live long enough to see Carlos get a P1 on Sunday. Stay strong and work towards former glory.
    It’ll be a great day when that happens.
    Go Carlos

    1. Tommytintop (@)
      2nd September 2020, 10:05

      Carlos may have to move teams to see that happen.

    2. Oh well, I suppose Merc and Renault are going to shake legs and eat pizza all the way then.

  14. “Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all of the time.
    Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”
    Vince Lombardi
    Does Ron Dennis speak Italian.?

  15. Sucks being Charles (5 years locked) and Carlos (2 years).

    1. I’d be very surprised if Charles doesn’t have some sort of release in his contract should Ferrari continue to produce dogs. If he doesn’t, then he needs to fire his agent immediately!

  16. The Italians love to look good and exagerate their problems. What we need now are a few centurion and some horns blaring and a march to pick up the team principal.
    Add some drama too.

  17. So officially I close the conversation which is going on since 2015: Alonso was right.

  18. It’d be interesting to be able put a Ferrari engine in a Red Bull, just to see how much a really good chassis could help them.

    1. You mean … “Take it to the Max.”

  19. NeverElectric
    2nd September 2020, 0:50

    When was the last time Ferrari did well in F1 while the racing outfit was headed by an ethnic Italian?

    1. As opposed to a non-ethnic Italian? or a non-Italian ethnic? or a non-Italian ethnic European? or a non-ethnic European male of Italian heritage?

  20. This great article by RaceFans explains very well the historic successes and low times with the various directors, non Italians compared to Italians.
    If Ferrari insists with the EssereFerrari by being so closed/short sighted with their management then it will be a long bumpy road to recovery. Ferrari brought Alonso, Raikkonen and Vettel, all World Champions, but it does not seem enough. So, they need to find the problems elsewhere.

    1. Ferrari needed a solid racer, they should have tried Lewis, or Ricciardo.
      The Two best Drivers in current era.

      Instead they went for Alonso who was beaten by rookie and then they went to Vettel who was also beaten by another rookie.
      Wow, this is seriously a crazy team 😀😀😀😀😀

  21. Patience? Please, Not good enough from Ferrari. Biggest pretenders at least for the last 4-5 years

  22. I am patient, be it 2 to 5 years as long as we’re winning again it’ll be worth it.
    I joined in 2017 and at 24 still got a long time ahead.
    This is the time more than anything to really get behind the team and let those who want to leave, leave, no trash talking no name calling as everyone is free to support whatever team they like and associate themselves with success.
    Binotto should absolutely stay and spearhead this next phase of rebuilding and ignore all the comments and opinions because these same ones will be watching videos and reading articles about how he took on a struggling giant, had a rough start but with some changes pioneered Ferrari’s Rise back to the top.
    That will be worth it

  23. This is what happens when you cheat, and got found out.
    Bye bye Ferrari.

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