Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2021

Ferrari to introduce power unit upgrade bringing “significant step” before end of season

2021 F1 season

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Ferrari will introduce an upgrade for its power unit in the second half of the 2021 Formula 1 season as it bids to beat McLaren to third place in the constructors championship.

The two teams are level on points following the Hungarian Grand Prix. Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto believes third place is a realistic target if they continue to make gains with their car.

“Being third is certainly a possible objective,” he said. “We are third at the moment, equal points, but we are third.

“The team is doing well and we are improving so I think we can achieve it, that’s no question. But I think it has to be the simple consequence of the path that we are improving in all the areas.”

Ferrari’s straight-line speed was a major weakness of its previous car. The SF21 is much improved in this respect, though the team has indicated this is not entirely due to changes to its power unit.

Binotto revealed more improvements in that area are coming in the second half of the season. Under F1’s rules for 2021, teams were only permitted to introduce a single revision to their previous power units. However Binotto said Ferrari will only introduce upgrades for 2020-specification parts on the power unit it has used so far this year.

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“From now to the end of the season we will bring a power unit development,” he said. “Which, just to clarify, the regulations for 2021 [say] that you may have a brand new power unit in 2021. So it means that you may bring an update in all the components of the power unit, whatever it is, ICE, turbo, MGU-H, batteries, MGU-K et cetera.

“But what we made at the start of the season, we didn’t complete the entire power unit development, so there are still components which are the ones of last year and we will bring an evolution to those ones.”

He expects a substantial gain in performance from the update. “That will be for us an important or at least a significant step for the end of the season. But more importantly it will be for us, again, experience in the view of 2022.

“So I think that’s all the ingredients to complete well the season and I think third certainly will be [possible].”

Carlos Sainz Jnr has already used all three new power units he is permitted to take this season and was therefore expected to incur a penalty for taking another. The power unit Charles Leclerc used at the last race was his second, but Ferrari confirmed that was irreparably damaged in the first-lap crash at the start.

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Dieter Rencken
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16 comments on “Ferrari to introduce power unit upgrade bringing “significant step” before end of season”

  1. Can someone explain me how is it possible ?

    1. Teams are allowed to introduce one new component of a PU per season. Ferrari elected to to do it at the end of the season.

      Maybe Ferrari has been holding back, continuing to develop it as much as possible and then test the upgrade at end of this 2021 season to see how it goes, then refine it over the winter with data they learned and utilized it in the 2022 package? It will be like introducing two new components for 2022 package, with one that has been vetted going into season.

      That’s pretty smart

      1. Aok I get it now. Thank you !

    2. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      10th August 2021, 14:09

      I would explain it this way. There are several components that make up the ICE each component is allowed one upgrade for power and as many as needed for reliability.

      Ferrari are saying they didn’t use upgraded parts for all of the engine and so are going to introduce them now.

      This is also what is allowed for 2022.

  2. They must be experimenting for next’s years PU.

  3. Will it be legal this time?

  4. John (@barbsandwich)
    10th August 2021, 5:55

    Here we go again! Hopefully they can overtake those McLaren boys on the straights at least in the second half.

    1. Might even take one red bull and one mercedes xD

  5. Alarmingly slow rate of development, either that or the 2021 pu is really a 2022 pu, not like the rules were not delayed.

  6. Have been a McLaren fan for centuries [well this & last] & trust RIC will get back his missing ‘Mojo‘.
    In saying that, believe it grossly unfair that crash costs are NOT excl. from Cost Caps and PU limits do Not excl. those damaged in crashes.

  7. The last paragraph could be more specific concerning PU elements separately rather than the entirety.
    I can’t check Sainz’s Hungarian GP weekend situation right now. He may have used three engines, TCs, MGU-Ks, and MGU-Hs thus far, but of course, two CEs and ESs. EX is more secondary because the upper limit is eight, IIRC. For Leclerc, Ferrari only mentioned ICE, but that alone means an almost-guaranteed grid penalty at some point, worse if other elements also prove unusable.
    I doubt Ferrari will suddenly overhaul Mclaren.

  8. This is certainly a surprise. I thought they would upgrade every part of their PU by the first race, but it seems that they took more time to further develop certain parts of it.
    I wonder which parts they are going to upgrade. Their ERS seems already very competitive, because the Ferrari switches very late into ‘harvesting mode’ on the straights, unlike the McLaren. Could be ICE and Turbo. Who knows?!
    I also wonder when Ferrari will bring the upgrades. Spa would make a lot of sense, because they will likely be beaten there by McLaren anyway (under normal circumstances) and it’s a very power-sensitive circuit. I don’t see it happen at Monza. No way Ferrari will compromise their home race! If they plan on bringing it later, then Sochi would be good choice.

    1. I suppose they upgraded the thermal components at the beginning of the season, as those were the one affected by the 2020 sanctions. Maybe they’ll upgrade the electric components later this season.

      Long shot but it could have been a tactic to stay behind in the first part of the season to get more wind tunnel and simulation hours, then try to jump the competitors later.

      1. Looks like Ferrari has new Masterplan… MissionUpgradeNow :)

  9. By any chance, do any of you know if Mercedes and Red Bull have already taken advantage of this opportunity this year?

    Reply moderated
    1. I think yes. From the start

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