Mattia Binotto believes Ferrari is seen as the “outsiders” in the title battle heading into 2022 despite a very strong pre-season.
Ferrari hit the ground running in Barcelona and was competitive throughout the first test, although Mercedes went quickest late in the opening week.
More consistent running in Bahrain continued the positive atmosphere around Ferrari and team principal Binotto accepts the signs are positive heading into the opening race weekend but says Red Bull and Mercedes have to be seen as the benchmark.
“No, not at all, I think we are not the favorites,” Binotto said. “I think the favorites are the teams that were the best last year because they are strong teams, they have proved they can be very fast, they’ve got a fantastic team and again on track I think they are showing that they are very, very fast.
“So I think at Ferrari we are the outsiders. It’s true that we had a good start to testing and a good start to the season, but becoming favorites I think we first need to have good races and prove that we are capable of winning, while we know that they are so honestly I think they are still the favorites.
“I think so far we had good testing, we still need to learn the car and optimize its potential. I think it’s very difficult to judge looking at the tests who will be ahead or not.
“I see Ferrari fighting for the best because we need to somehow come and try to fight for the best, but only the track can say how quick we will be. I think we’ve got other teams that are favorites but we will try to do our best.”
The 2022 grid has seen a wide variety of sidepod and nose solutions despite restrictive regulations and Binotto believes that the differences will remain in place throughout the year.
“I think it’s great to see so many different cars, it was not expected – at least I wasn’t expecting it myself – because the regulations are quite prescribed, certainly on the floor. But I was expecting the cars to be more similar. It’s great for the fans, it’s great for F1 to have different cars.
“Now, will we converge? I don’t think we will converge during the season because first we have got the budget cap so we cannot do many developments, and I think we also need to understand our cars and understand what’s best and what’s not best. Maybe for next year we can see more similar cars but not during this season.”