Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto admits he is relieved to have a delivered a more competitive car for 2021 after a disastrous season last year.
Power unit issues and high drag meant Ferrari was well off the pace at a number of circuits in 2020, finishing sixth in the constructors’ championship. Over the winter, the team worked on not only improving the power unit but also addressing the chassis deficit, and Binotto says the improved showing in Bahrain — where Charles Leclerc was sixth and Carlos Sainz eighth — allows the team to function in a better environment.
“Yes I feel relieved, certainly, because we may work in a better position and that’s healthy for the team,” Binotto said. “It’s important that the team can work in a healthy condition, staying calm and positive. For me that was important, so coming here and seeing the car has progressed, put the team somehow in a serenity where we can even work in a better manner.
“So that was important, not only from the engine but from chassis, drag, aero, tools, correlation — that was all important for us and that was key. How much is coming from the power unit, the improvement? Difficult to say because it’s all relative to the competitors; it’s not an absolute value, and I don’t know what is the progress of the others. But again in the end we always have to judge the entire package and not to split it.”
Binotto is firm on not putting a number on how much of an improvement the power unit is, but he says it is obvious it delivers a clear gain based on how the customer teams performed in Bahrain too.
“Definitely the power unit has improved, and happy to see as well that Sauber and Haas progress. I think from our side we progressed in all the areas that were possible. The aero is certainly better in terms of behaviors; I just indicated before the correlation, but the power unit, the car, overall wherever it was possible to make improvements we tried to do them. It’s an entire package, so I would not really split it into areas — it’s the entire package which now is better and that’s enough.”