After the great performances in Bahrain, with Charles Leclerc qualifying in a fantastic fourth position and finishing sixth in the race, and Carlos Sainz finishing in eighth position, the whole Ferrari Team looks hopeful and eager to leave the bad 2020 season behind.
Even an accident like Charles Leclerc's at Rivazza, during the FP2 this afternoon, takes a back seat, because Maranello has already seen that the speed has improved and, above all, the pace - at least in Imola - looks promising.
“Last year we were performing very badly there, both on the straights and in cornering. Very slow in quali and in the race," Mattia Binotto, Ferrari Team Principal, said during today’s FIA press conference at Imola.
“So certainly for us it was an important exam, a very important test and I think that the car somehow progressed well. As well if we compare to our competitors, I think we made good progress. That was not easy in a situation where most of the car was frozen by regulations," he added.
Ferrari is going ahead with the development of the SF21, introducing changes in Imola not only in terms of adaptations to the characteristics of the track, but also adopting a rear wing with a spoon profile, a lighter front wing, and focusing on the diffuser area.
“The relief is to see that we are developing the right direction,” he explained. “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."
“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 stated.
The SF21 is much more competitive than the SF1000 and the optimism also lies in the new Power Unit:
“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,” the Italian engineer declared.
The whole team is focused on imporving performance and this is why, as Binotto said, Ferrari had a long debrief after the first race in Bahrain:
“That’s normal at the very start of the season because together with the drivers we are trying really to understand the car’s behaviour, the main limitations, how we may improve, addressing any developments we can do during the season," he concluded.