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Ferrari: podium still far away

Charles Leclerc and Daniel Ricciardo in Bahrain. Credits: Getty Images.

Despite a good start to the 2021 season, Ferrari Team Principal, Mattia Binotto, believes that the gap between them and the top teams is still too big. 

After the worst season in ages for Ferrari, the Bahrain GP showed that the Italian team might be on the right path to come back even stronger and challenge Mercedes and Red Bull in the next seasons. 

On Saturday, Charles Leclerc qualified fourth on the grid, with Carlos Sainz in P8. The race was also good for Ferrari, which scored a double-points finish, kicking off the season in a great way. 

However, this does not mean that the Maranello-based team is ready to fight for podiums in 2021. At least, this is what Mattia Binotto said. 

“The gap is still very clear compared to the top competitors, which in the race was still big, so it was still a long way, but it will depend as well track to track,” said Binotto.

“We know that we will not work much on the development of that car because we will focus on 2022 in terms of design development. I am pretty sure it is the same as the other competitors.

“But still, I think that if we look at our race today, we got feedback now from drivers, they start understanding the car, start knowing what are the limitations of the car, and eventually, we may address or we may improve it, so I think the next three [or] four races will first indicate what is the true performance and potential of our car compared to the others.”

In 2020, one of the main issues for Ferrari was that it was too slow on the straights. Then, after doing a great job during the winter, the Italian team finally improved its power unit, which is now way faster than last year’s one. 

Binotto was extremely happy to see that the engine was competitive, and he also added that it gives a solid base for the future. 

“I feel relieved certainly because we may work in a better position, and that’s very healthy for the team,” Binotto added.

“It’s important that the team can work in a healthy condition, stay calm and positive, and for me that was important.

“So coming here, seeing the car has progressed, with the team somehow in a serenity, means we can work in a better manner.

“Engine, chassis, tires, tools, correlation, all of that was important for us, and that was key.

“How much is coming from the power unit improvement? I think it’s difficult to say because it’s so relative to the competitors. It’s not an absolute value, and I don’t know the progress of the others, but we can only judge the entire package.”

Finally, it was also great news for the Ferrari Team Principal, and the whole team as well, to see that the data back at the factory were the same as the one collected on track. 

“Relative to expectations, as far as how it is compared to our simulation data, I think good correlations, that was important for us,” he said.

“It’s something which we developed last year, to improve compared to where we were. So the car is performing as expected. How it performs, I think we have some ideas starting from the testing the winter testing of these three days.

“We knew we had a better car compared to last year, no doubt, relative to the competitors.”

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