Ferrari Driver Academy results not as strong as 2020 – Binotto

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In the round-up: Ferrari’s driver academy is not enjoying the same level of success in 2021 as it did last season, admits Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto.

In brief

Ferrari Driver Academy is not performing as well as in 2020, says Binotto

The performance of Ferrari’s Driver Academy junior drivers, particularly in Formula 2, has not been as impressive so far in 2021 as last season, according to Ferrari team principal, Mattia Binotto.

Ferrari’s current crop of junior drivers includes the likes of Robert Shwartzman, Marcus Armstrong and test driver Callum Ilott. Despite Shwartzman currently sitting third in the F2 championship, Binotto says he is not as happy as with their academy drivers’ performances last season.

“If I look at the Ferrari Driver Academy, I think that it’s notable that overall in terms of results, it’s not as good as last year,” says Binotto.

“Last year I think especially in F2 we had great results, which is not the case for us [now]. So I think overall we can not be as happy as we were.”

With FDA driver Mick Schumacher having graduated to Formula 1 for this season after claiming the 2020 F2 championship, Binotto says he believes Schumacher is “doing well” in his rookie season so far.

“I think we said at the start of the season that the objective for him was first, no pressure, but make sure that he’s learning and that 2021 has to be for him an important year in terms of transition, in terms of learning,” Binotto says.

“I think that Mick since the very start of the season is doing well. He’s learning, he’s progressing. Obviously a few mistakes but that’s part of the learning process. So I think that in terms of balance so far, we can be happy, Important for him to continue developing and progressing in the second half. But I’m confident he can do that.”

Kobayashi secures Toyota pole at Le Mans

Former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi has secured pole position for the #7 Toyota team for this weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

Kobayashi’s hyperpole time of a 3’23.900 was enough to secure pole for team mates Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez, ahead of fellow Toyota entry, car #8, driven by Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley.

Toyota’s pole is the first under the new ‘hypercar’ class introduced for this year’s World Endurance Championship, replacing Le Mans Prototype as the premier class of the multi-class championship.

The #7 Toyota team have never claimed overall victory in the famous endurance before, with all three of Toyota’s wins in the race having been claimed by Buemi, Nakajima, Hartley and current Alpine F1 driver Fernando Alonso, who will demonstrate an Alpine-liveried F1 car during pre-race ceremonies before the start of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

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Comment of the day

A unique contribution from a reader who remembers the sudden and tragic loss of world champion Jim Clark back in 1968.

Jim was my hero. I followed his career with fervor.

When I learned of his death on that Sunday I went outside and just reflected. I guess I knew that day would come. My mom had hoped that his death would put an end to my desire to race but it only strengthened my resolve. My cousin raced a Lotus 17, but I was too short financially, and a little too young to race without my parents approval, something that would never happen.

The passing of time has relegated him as possibly the most under-rated driver. The young people today just don’t know. He didn’t think he was fast, but did wonder why the others are driving so slow.
‘Mad’ Max Speedwell

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 19 comments on “Ferrari Driver Academy results not as strong as 2020 – Binotto”

    1. +1 for COTD, Anyone who saw Jim master everything from saloons to F1 without any dramatics pulling further and further away from other drivers who were obviously trying harder had to believe he was the most talented driver of his time, I thought he would never crash but sadly I had not taken mechanical failure into account.

      1. There’s also a Historical Hypothetics about Clark at F1Metrics. You should check it out!

    2. Clark? Not underrated to me. Stands at #2 in my list, with only Fangio ahead.

      1. Exactly, true fans know where Jim Clark sits in the pantheon of greats.

    3. F2 has proved itself in the last four seasons qualifying juniors to perform quite well in F1 coming right out of F2 (at least the top two ones); thats quite an accomplishment and the F2 administration should be highly commended for that; however I think this year took a weird direction and will be much harder to gauge who is doing well and if the drivers will be as sharp as the previous champions?
      With the increased reverse starts effecting the points & grid starts (seems more like FE racing) and the massively spread out race calendar in my opinion it has really hurt the quality of the racing compared to past seasons and judging who is been the best driver this year? We still have some more races to go so hopefully it becomes more clear. Would love to see it go back to a similar schedule and format of 2019. I really have enjoyed watching F2 in previous season, more than even F1 but not this year.

      Looking forward to hearing what changes they will be making this Fall with next years F2 schedule and racing format as they promised they were looking into making changes. I would love to see race schedule much closer together and not a couple months apart from each race. Also would like to see less reverse grid starts and letting a normal quali format judge who gets the best grid spots.

      1. @redpill I agree with you, especially on schedule. I also hope the race schedule would be more condensed, even if this meant only European circuits.

    4. Binotto setting the ground for making no promotions to F1 next year?

      Little strange as Giovinaazi and Raikkonen are clearly nearing the end of their F1 careers. May be Mazepin too.

      Ferrari most probably have open seats for next year. Then why such expectation setting?

    5. Shwartzman probably has been a bit disappointing to be honest. Considering his results from F2 last year the FDA should expect him to be leading and to win the championship, not to mention that his rookie teammate Piastri is leading the championship. I doubt now he will get promoted to Alfa Romeo next year, with my prediction being that they’ll stick with Gio alongside either Kimi or Bottas if he becomes available before promoting Pourchaire (a Sauber junior) for 2023, although Theo might get the nod for next year if he can come through and win the championship this year.
      Piastri seems the best of the F2 bunch this year anyway (not biased as an Aussie at all), with my hope being that he wins the Championship and Alpine have him as a full reserve driver next season before getting a race seat for 2023 when/if Alonso retires. Although I fear Zhou’s Chinese money pulling a few strings for him to get the seat, I think at the moment performance wise the decision on who is better is pretty obvious in Piastri’s favour.
      Hopefully Oscar doesn’t drop off in the second half of the season like Shwartzman did last year.

      1. Also, what about Callum Illot? He is reserve driver this year and another year on the sidelines won’t be fair on him.

      2. @milesy-jam Shwartzman still has a realistic shot at winning F2, so nothing’s over for him yet. Vasseur has previously ruled out Pouchaire for next season, so unlikely.
        @sumedh Yes, but he could be somewhat rusty.

      3. @milesy-jam exactly this! I had high expectations for Schwartzman after that stellar F3 campaign, but ultimately his F2 one went short. In the meantime, Piastri was doing the same in F3, albeit I will always have a “what if” thought for Sargeant. But so far Piastri is doing what I expected from Schwartzmann, and it’s pretty exciting.

        He can do it, and would join the very short list of double champions. I just hope he isn’t sidelined for a year to keep momentum, but it will probably happen unfortunately. And I’m torn about it as I’d love to see Alonso stick for a bit more!

    6. It seems that it is time to revive the GOAT debate. A few months ago, I created a list of the top 200 best drivers of all time, and had Jim Clark at #4. My top three was Hamilton, then Schumacher, then Fangio. I believe that in a championship where every driver from history was driving equal cars (and the cars would have to suit the driving styles of drivers from different eras as well – obviously this scenario is impractical), Michael Schumacher would win overall. But I didn’t want him at number one, because of his dirty tactics, most notably Jerez 1997, so I had Hamilton first instead, as I believe he would come second in that championship. But with the margins between the first four as fine as they are, Hamilton’s mistakes this season have made me question his ranking at number one. Schumacher’s penalty for dirty tactics still applies, while Fangio and Clark had previously been just that tiny bit behind, but are now back in contention for the title of ‘greatest of all time’. It is now up in the air as to which of those four I think is the Formula 1 GOAT. Anyone is welcome to try to persuade me as to which of the four drivers should be number one.

      1. Its hard to judge for me as I never saw Clark and Fangio drive. Schumacher not at spot 1 because of your argumentation plus he had no competition. I am sure some will be upset by that remark but I do not consider Hakkinen, Villeneuve or Hill worthy opponents to make you a goat. Lewis, I agree with your comments plus there is just this part that has to be credited to the car dominance. Together with Vettel he stands out for me as luckiest of all time. It is Lewis credit he got that car, but luck that the domination streak is this long. So statistics in case of Schumacher and Hamilton dont mean much to me (race wins, titles) as they are heavily circumstances influenced. But nevertheless accomplishments, dont get me wrong. The ones I have seen racing and would make up my top spots would be Senna, Lewis, Schumacher and Max. Purely based on what I have seen them do with a car which I havent seen any one else do. So then I would come to 1. Senna 2. Lewis 3. Schumacher 4. Max. I feel Max is more skilled than Hamilton but 7 (soon 8) titles should count for at least something. Max still has some time to score some WDCs to potentially go up some spots. My apologies to greats from the past, but I would be judging them based on other people’s narratives rather than first hand experience.

    7. I hope Kamui Kobayashi finally wins Le Mans ghost year. He’s such a great driver, I don’t wanna see him finish second a 4th time in 5 years.

    8. +1 COTD. Me + all the other younger generation can only hear about the legends of the past. For someone who grew up watching Michael and Mika battle, that one was the ultimate battle because I didn’t know any better. As I grew up I learned about Senna, Prost, Lauda, Hunt, Stewart, Hill, Clark, Fangio and all the others. For me Michael became the unbeatable driver and that’s why Hakkinen and Alonso are in my books the ones who I remember beating the unbeatable. Of course as it has been said many many times it’s impossible to know the real GOAT. Still one thing is certain. I once saw a picture where F1 was written like “Fastest one.” and everybody will have their own childhood hero who once was the exact one.

      1. Clarke, Senna and Fangio top 3. Wouldn’t put Schumacher in my top 10 due to the lack of competitive teammates despite the numbers.

        1. It’s difficult to rate drivers we only saw in black and white old recordings but the documentaries I’ve seen on Fangio show a rare humble champion, wise and compassionate and for that reason he’d be near the top. I’d have to award it to Lewis who shows at least as much racecraft as Schumacher with similar fearlessness but with the integrity in his racing that MS lacked. I agree that Michael did not have much exceptional talent to compete against but his “total racing” was revolutionary and despite his obvious flaws he was a master of his craft. Hamilton shows similar skills with better consistency of opponents.
          For intuition and entertainment I’d have to rate Alonso up there too, the guys been a blast of fresh air and fun for years.

    9. I wonder if Badoer has a lifelong pass to Ferrari whenever and wherever they publish something. He was in the photos when Michael came to Ferrari in the late 90s and I wouldn’t be suprised if he would be in some videos decades later in the 30s or 40s.

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