Ferrari aims to draw level with rivals on power unit performance in 2022

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In the round-up: After making a clear step forward with its new power unit for the 2021 F1 season, Mattia Binotto says Ferrari aim to close the gap to their rivals next year, when engines will be frozen.

In brief

Binotto: Ferrari’s power unit closer to rivals

Binotto says that after a frustrating 2020 season and despite development limitations this year, their power unit is progressing well against the benchmark of their rivals.

“I think we are still lacking on the engine, less than before, certainly, so the gap has closed and I think we are converging,” said Binotto following Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

“Hopefully by next year when we will have again a new power unit, we may catch up on our benchmark for the others.”

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

Grosjean crash prompts medical team changes at Paul Ricard

Marshal, Paul Ricard
Paul Ricard has made safety improvements
The Paul Ricard circuit, which will host the French Grand Prix in June, has used the Covid-19 downtime to improve its fire and safety protocols, in response to Romain Grosjean’s fiery crash at last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

The team, which is present at championships which do not supply their own medical service as F1 does, will consist of three members: A doctor, a nurse and a trained firefighter. The presence of the latter allows the others to attend an injured driver while the firefighter douses any flames. They aim to have safety personnel on the scene of any fire within 90 seconds.

Paul Ricard is the first circuit in France to implement such a protocol and to use the specialised Rosenbauer foam extinguisher the fire fighter will be equipped with, which has eight times the capacity of a standard extinguisher.

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Comment of the day

When it came to strategy in Bahrain, Red Bull did nothing wrong but Mercedes got a bit more right – for Lewis Hamilton, at least – says Slowmo:

It did indeed turn out perfect in the end. I actually think their strategy was even better than most people realised but was wrecked by the bad stop for Bottas. Had Bottas not lost all that time on his stop then he would have been 27-30 seconds behind Verstappen with fresh tyres to push.

They could have forced Red Bull to pit a lot earlier as they would have run the risk of falling behind Bottas too on the undercut in the second stop. Bottas could have been used to force Red Bull to choose between a earlier stop than they wanted at the end or give up track position to Bottas too.

In summary, the Mercedes strategy was the only way they could win but people forget that Red Bull could still have turned the tide had they got a Safety Car in the 20 laps or so they ran longer on their stints too.

That combined with the fact that there is no guarantee the Red Bull could make its tyres last as long as Mercedes and they also didn’t have two sets of new hard tyres to use either. The Red Bull strategy wasn’t a mistake for me and I honestly don’t see what they could have done differently once they committed to using some of the hard tyres in practice. That was the mistake they made, if anything over the weekend, as it limited their options in the race.

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On this day in F1

Nakano, 50 today, made his F1 debut with Prost and later drove for Minardi
  • Born on this day in 1971: Future Prost and Minardi F1 driver Shinji Nakano, who shares the record for the best result scored by a Japanese driver on their debut, seventh, with Satoru Nakajima

Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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17 comments on “Ferrari aims to draw level with rivals on power unit performance in 2022”

  1. Regarding COTD, I think Red Bull made one very minor mistake which was not managing the gap to Lewis in the 1st stint. They should have tried to maintain a gap of 2.5-3 seconds instead of the 1.3-1.7 seconds that was maintained post lap 5, especially as it was known that Merc had a fresh hard tyre set available

    If that was not possible (due to the diff issue, may be) then minute attention needed to be given to the lap times being done by Fernando, Charles, Lando post their pitstops. If these data points had been analysed in time, I am sure Max would have also pitted on lap 13. Of course, this is all very easy to speak in hindsight 4 days after the race and writing on internet.

    In real-time, you literally have less than 2 mins and need to simultaneously study the micro-sectors of at least 4-5 drivers to decide if a pit-stop needs to be made or not.

    1. To make the point again, had Red Bull pitted Max on the same lap as Lewis then they’d have very likely suffered with extreme tyre wear later in the race as they only had one set of hards available. Stopping that early was likely never an option.

      It would have opened the door for Mercedes to go long with either one or both drivers during the second stint and left Max vulnerable to losing two positions at the end. As it happened they would have benefited from Bottas’ botched stop, but there’s still no guarantee Max would have been able to hold on against Lewis with better tyres available.

      It shows the importance of having a second driver available to force / cover strategy. I love strategic battles just as much as on track battles, especially as they converge towards the end of a race so bring on the rest of the season!

    2. You don’t manage a 1.5s gap, you manage a 10s gap, if you could get it. Just look at Bottas’ failed pit stop as to why you wouldn’t manage a gap that small. If Max was able to pull away, he would’ve, but ultimately it’s pretty clear the Merc and Red Bull were even on race pace in the hands of Lewis and Max.

      If Max had pitted alongside Lewis (which as the lead car would’ve been a mighty lucky guess, as Lewis pitted way earlier than you’d normally would on the Medium tire), than what @sparkyamg says still matters, Bottas would’ve tried to push him back into Lewis as best he could after the stop, and then he’d been put on a different strategy to win the race (botched pitstop notwithstanding)

      Pitting a lap later wouldn’t have been an option as Lewis immediately pulled 1.5s to Verstappen in the middle sector, by the time he’d be on the start-finish straight he’d already be level or ahead of Verstappen exiting the pits.

      All in all, Red Bull really needed Perez there this race to counter two Merc’s. He’d already qualified too far behind, though a good start and some quick first laps might have helped them (with the SC this is unlikely though). But with him starting from the pit lane, Merc’s strategists pounced and ultimately won.

      1. @sparkyamg @aai

        Had Max stopped on lap 13 (same lap as Lewis), Bottas pushing Max back into Lewis was not a factor. Bottas was only 6 seconds behind Max on lap 13. For Max to catch him after his 1st pit-stop would have taken at least 8-9 laps – Assuming a 1.5 second advantage to cover up 16 seconds (22 seconds – 6 seconds) – pushing Bottas into a 1-stop strategy window which Merc wouldn’t have done.

        I agree that stopping on lap 13 would have left Max with too much to do on his last 2 stints (with only one of them on the hards). However, he would have had the benefit of track position which would have reduced his wear marginally. Plus, on the mediums, he could have been faster and managed the gap to Lewis (who was on hards) during the 2nd stint better. Even if the mediums had worn out faster during the 2nd stint, he could have pitted earlier w/o encountering traffic and maintained track position for the 3rd stint as well.

        Having the 2nd driver definitely opens options in terms of strategy. But Red Bull could have won without Checo. It was within the realm of possibility. It was difficult, but not impossible.

  2. Before the season I’d have gone “hah, never” at Binotto’s claim there, but it certainly seems possible. Ultimately I think they’ll still end up a few bhp short of level, but with enough development this year, let’s hope it’s enough to come close enough.

    Perhaps they should consider to go the Honda route and use Haas to take a ton of engine penalties and fast track development during this year.

    1. @aiii
      Would Ferrari be even allowed to do that? I thought three was only one upgrade allowed during the season, due to cost saving because of the pandemic.

      1. Tried proofreading before posting? Or a ploy to up your post count?

  3. I’m surprised Pirelli shared an image (in video form) of almost the entire car, even though they’ve avoided doing so when Ferrari has been doing 18-inch wheel rim tests.

    I agree with the COTD.

  4. 1.5 minute sounds an awfully long time to wait for the firefighter.

    1. @qeki Indeed. The target should be lower.

      1. I thought that too, but remember that this is in addition to the firefighting capabilities at the marshalling posts around the track @qeki @jerejj

        1. @ahxshades I was thinking if that would be the case. Makes more sense.

  5. April fools!!

  6. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    1st April 2021, 17:31

    Feel like the Canadian GP has taken a bit of an uncertain hit today, all of Ontario locking down and Quebec likely a week or two away from a lockdown…..god how sweet it would be to see F1 cars around Montreal in a few months though.

    1. @canadianjosh Agreed, and yeah on the one hand it is not a good sign and one wonders if even though the race would not be til June, a lockdown now could hamper planning for it, but on the other hand if this can help stem the tide then maybe it bodes well for June. Guess we’ll just have to see but for now I think they had to do this lockdown. The variant numbers are climbing, these variants are more aggressive, and are now affecting more young people than before. And ICU units are filling which of course affects greatly hospitals’ ability to handle non-COVID related health issues many can and do have.

      1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
        2nd April 2021, 4:13

        Ya I feel like this is probably the most serious this pandemic has been in Ontario. Hopefully it slows down and hopefully Quebec can stop the numbers from climbing too high before they get to where we are. That would keep some hope of having a GP there.

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