Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020

Ferrari’s deficit to top teams prompts early focus on new car for 2022

2021 F1 season

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Ferrari’s strategy for the year ahead is to focus on new regulations for the 2022 F1 season because the team has fallen so far behind its rivals under the current regulations.

Team principal Mattia Binotto said they could not realistically expect to significantly close their deficit to Mercedes and Red Bull in 2021 as opportunities to make progress this year are limited.

“We’ve got some limitations in terms of degree of freedom, of car design and the token system,” said Binotto. “We paid our tokens on the back of the car.

“I do believe that our car is better than the one of last year. Obviously you cannot compare them [exactly] because there is a change in the regulations on the floor, at the back. But the way I’ve seen the car developing both at the wind tunnel and at the dyno I believe we’ve made a significant effort.

“Obviously you cannot know where you are [yet] since you are not on track. I think that will be important for us. But we need as well to be realistic. The gap to the best last year was very important and not something that we can recover in a single winter.”

Ferrari has been allocated more aerodynamic development time than the majority of its competitors this year under Formula 1’s new handicap rules, because it finished in the bottom half of the championship last year.

Binotto acknowledged the “wind tunnel opportunities” Ferrari will benefit from “having finished sixth last year”, and said it will largely be spent working on their 2022 chassis.

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“Our focus during 2021 will be developing the 2022 car,” Binotto explained. “That will be the main target, so we will not spend much time on the 2021 [car] during the season.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Sochi Autodrom, 2020
Ferrari can do more aerodynamic work than some rivals in 2021
“There is always a balance, it’s a choice that we need to make at some stage, but 2022 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 in there.”

All teams have just three days of pre-season testing before this year;s championship begins. Binotto is keen to validate the improvements the team believes it has made with its car on the track.

“To see how the car is handling at the very start of the season is very important because it’s the balance of performance we may see for the rest of the season,” he said. “Obviously we know how much we progressed in the wind tunnel [and] power. But more than that, what will be important is to see the track delivery, how really the car will be able to track compared to expectations.

“We have experienced in the past, we are not the only ones, that sometimes you may have a mismatch from the wind tunnel to the race track and competitors. Because, again, having changed the regulations from the back of the car, I think there is a work of correlations which is needed. I think that would be a key factor for the season.”

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2021 F1 season

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 7 comments on “Ferrari’s deficit to top teams prompts early focus on new car for 2022”

    1. It will be interesting to see whether they can make up the engine deficit between now and the engine freeze because if they don’t, I’m not sure what happens then for them. Maybe improvements in other areas can make up for their engine? I hope they figure something out, the more at the front the merrier. For the fans at least.

      1. Likely Ferrari is pretty confident that they can and likely have, worked through their penalty and improved the engine (sorry, Power Unit) to the point they have confidence to be competitive come the Big Freeze. Otherwise, they could have voted against it.
        It would be really interesting to get the Ferrari driver’s reactions to this kind of announcement. Probably not suitable for Prime Time Media.

      2. “aerodynamics are for people who can’t build engines”. ..

    2. Only themselves to blame for cheating on the PU.

    3. Looks like they have shown their hand, this year is simply a gap year and the real fun and games come in 2022.

      1. Let’s fast-forward to 2022…

    4. Encouraging words
      We have to come next year a force to be reckoned with

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