Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says the extra development work they were able to do on their 2022 car compared to Mercedes was only worth up to a tenth of a second per lap.
As Mercedes won the 2020 constructors championship they were permitted the least development time last year, when their cars for the new season were being designed. Ferrari placed sixth in 2020 and therefore were allowed to do more of the same development than Mercedes, plus rivals Red Bull, McLaren, Aston Martin and Alpine.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff suggested Ferrari’s extra development resource could have been worth at least two tenths of a second to them. Binotto put it at half that.
“We have some more runs at the wind tunnel but if you look at the amount it’s a couple of sessions in the entire year,” he said. “It’s maybe a tenth per lap if you are very good, I think that’s the amount.”
The so-called ‘sliding scale’ aerodynamic rules are intended to encourage teams to use their development capabilities in a more efficient way, said Binotto.
“It’s all how you manage priorities, how good you are and efficient in your activities,” he said. “If you look at Mercedes, Red Bull, how strong they were last year, no doubt that as a team they are very, very strong and I think the regulations are in place to help the ones that are less efficient.”
Lewis Hamilton said Ferrari could be several months ahead of Mercedes with their car development, as they were not in contention for last year’s championship and could divert their efforts to the coming season sooner. “It was important for us trying to put focus and priority on 2022,” Binotto acknowledged. “We always said it was a good opportunity.
“Now we are on track, trying to learn the car. How we benefit from that I think only the next months will tell us and not the next days. I think as I said some weeks ago before [we] see the full potential of those cars let’s give it at least four to five races because there is so much still to learn, to adapt, to address.”
Binotto expects to see “a different balance between teams in terms of relative competitiveness” over the opening races. “So let’s wait and see.”
“I think do we have a benefit from that? Honestly I think we are not the strongest team, we are still the outsider and not the favourites.”
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