After a very disappointing 2020 season, Mattia Binotto had to reverse the balance and come back with great improvements in 2021 if he wanted to ensure his seat as the Formula 1 team principal of Italy’s most famous brand.
In 2019, a big scandal has broken out concerning Ferrari’s power unit, which was accused of being illegal by several teams. The FIA and Ferrari have reached an agreement that was kept secret. Nonetheless, they came back in 2020 with a gigantic loss of performance in terms of straight-line speed, suggesting that great modifications were made to their power unit.
After a terrible and disgraceful year for Ferrari, Binotto says it is a big “relief” to see the improvements they did over the past season and this winter. The Italian says it is a real morale boost for the team to see that their hard work is finally starting to pay off.
“Certainly the fact that the car is performing better so we can have a better result at the end of the race weekend is important. We often said that our performance of last year was not acceptable for a Ferrari brand. So we knew that this year is for us important still showing developments in all the areas. So again, I think the performance is certainly a relief,” Binotto explained.
“The relief is to see that we are developing the right direction. (…) I think it’s important to see that simulations, wind tunnel, and track now are correlating certainly better compared to what it was in the past, and that gives confidence in the tools and our design capacity for the future. That I think was the most important and I think that respect is a relief,” he added.
Binotto also pointed out the fact that Imola was, in a way, an exam for Ferrari considering their very poor pace on the track last year. We all remember the great on-track battle that opposed Leclerc’s Ferrari and Magnussen’s Haas.
“Last year we were performing very badly there. (…) Both on the straights and in cornering. Very slow in quali and in the race. (…) So certainly for us it was an important exam, a very important test and I think that the car somehow progressed well.”
“The power unit made a good step forward. Today on the straights we are certainly not lacking the speed as it was in the past. And I think that as well the car is behaving well. I think that was the most important.”
However, the 51 years old remains critical, in order to push the team forward, admitting that their quali pace is actually much better than their race pace, as opposed to McLaren. The team boss is currently working hard on this topic with his team, analyzing data, to be sure they will be in a realistic fight for P3 against the British team this year.
“We learned from Bahrain that our race pace was not as competitive as the quali. (…) That’s for many reasons, but certainly reasons that we tried to analyze.”