Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto believes pre-season testing in Bahrain has proven the Italian power unit is no longer a disadvantage.
2020 was a painful year for all the Ferrari-powered teams, with a clear power unit deficit compared to Mercedes, Renault and Honda. Manufacturers were able to freely upgrade their engines through the winter and Binotto says the progress that Ferrari was seeing on the dyno has translated to an improvement on track.
“Obviously we know how the engine is running on the dyno,” Binotto said. “When you fit it in the car, what you may have a look at on track is the speed and eventually the relative speed to the others.
“When we were here last year in Bahrain for the race and for qualifying we were very slow on the straights — we didn’t enter into Q3 and we were very distant from pole. Now if I look at the first days I think at least on the straights the speed is all right. It doesn’t seem to be such a disadvantage as it was last year.
“We know it’s not only power, it’s the drag of the car as well — as we often said last year — but let me say that both of them contributed in improving our speed on the straights and today we feel it is not anymore a disadvantage.”
Binotto says there have also been improvements when it comes to the rear of the new Ferrari, taking particular encouragement from the way changes in the wind tunnel and in simulations are playing out in reality.
“We tried to develop the back of the car as much as we could. I think what was more important for these days was to understand the correlation between the wind tunnel and the simulations, so gathering data and comparing. I think we are pretty happy with the correlation, which means we’ve got a good baseline at least for the next simulations and eventual developments.