F1 | Binotto says 2021 might be 'difficult' but has praised his drivers
Scuderia Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto warns that the 2021 season will be a difficult one to overcome once again. However, he is happy with the talent in his team.
Scuderia Ferrari concluded the 2020 F1 season in 6th place in the Constructors’ Championship. Despite the fact the Italian manufacturer had a satisfactory pre-season training, the team’s team principal Mattia Binotto has been quoted on racer.com as warning that the 2021 season will be a hard one to overcome once again.
On the live broadcast of F1’s pre-season testing, the senior writer of F1’s official website, Lawrence Barretto, was asked about which team had impressed him during the three day testing. His reply of ‘Scuderia Ferrari’ was met with bewilderment by those also in the commentary box with him but Barretto stuck by his claim saying that Ferrari had done well in the test. Now, the benchmark this was being judged against was last year’s pitiful showing from the Italian outfit and in that respect – yes this was good test. However, there is still an extremely long way to go before the prancing horse will have managed to canter back to the front of the grid.
Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto, as published on racer.com, has indicated that despite a greater sense of unity in the team there are still many obstacles ahead.
“It would have been easy to fall into a different situation seeing the bad performance we had, but the team remains united, continuously tried to work and improve. We are now at the start of a new season, you have got a different car, you’ve got new hope, so it’s normal that now the atmosphere is certainly better. But we know it will be a long season, 23 races; it may be very difficult again so I think we need to be prepared, be focused on what is our objective — which is long-term — and then not forget it.” Binotto said.
For Scuderia Ferrari to have concluded the condensed 2020 F1 season in 6th place was nothing less than an embarrassment. This past week saw Charles Leclerc once again driving his car beyond what it was capable of - another sign of the Monegasque driver’s talent. Carlos Sainz, on the other hand, had shown he was struggling with the latest 2021 Ferrari challenger – the SF21 – but his pace was steadily improving as he got more laps under his belt. This improvement did not go unnoticed by the man in charge, as Binotto commented:
“That was another very important (aspect) for us. He drove some old cars in the last weeks and months, which was important for us to integrate him into the team and with the engineers and our procedures. He did a lot of work to prepare himself for the test and the start of the season — as well back at Maranello in the simulator — and he’s very well integrated, I have to say. Also with Charles he’s fitting very well, not only at the track but outside the track, and things in that respect are very encouraging so I’m very happy.”
The SF21 is a marked improvement on the team’s 2020 showing – the SF 1000. The Italian team has clearly worked hard in the winter to produce a better chassis and a car with a better straight line speed. Nevertheless, there were a lot of errors to put right and only race conditions will show how many of those gremlins have been addressed.
Irrespective of the car, Scuderia Ferrari has an extremely talented pair of drivers. As such, if there are some loose points on offer or the Mercedes as well as Honda powered cars slip up – Messrs. Leclerc and Sainz will surely be ready to pounce.
The 2022 reset button has surely come at the right time for Scuderia Ferrari and as such the team must have more than one eye on the future as well as this season. Having seen Mercedes dominate the turbo hybrid era, the famed Italian manufacturer must surely ensure history does not repeat itself with the new regulations.
Scuderia Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is most likely correct that the 2021 season could be a very difficult one for his team. However, based on what was seen at pre-season testing – at least it won’t be any worse. 2021 is a huge year for Scuderia Ferrari as they endeavour to shake off the tag ‘midfield team’ as quickly as possible if they ever hope to compete for the top prize once again.