Ferrari has been one of the most unstable teams in these last two seasons. In 2019 they were not as competitive as Mercedes, however, they did manage to get a few victories and podiums. 2020 was quite the opposite, a disastrous year for the Maranello team, where they were struggling to just get into the top 10 and not being knocked out in Q2. They had only 3 podiums, and none of these resulted in a victory. Now, the 2021 season is being much better than last year, however, they still cannot keep up with the two leading teams (which are Mercedes and Red Bull). It is true that their young pair of drivers are being of great help to them, since the points are more consistent, even though, the pace that their car, the SF21, can withstand, is still not enough to win a Grand Prix. Mattia Binotto, who serves as the head of the Ferrari team, has given an exclusive interview for RaceFans, where he has spoken on various topics, for example their pace, electrification, etc.
As we already mentioned, the 2020 season was very difficult for Ferrari as the results weren't there, and neither was the pace on its SF1000. As is often the case, the pressure goes directly to the head of the team, that is, Mattia Binotto. The Italian commented: “It was a very difficult season, a lot of pressure on my shoulders. I certainly felt the responsibility. But I know that in such a difficult time, the team was united. It would have been very easy internally for the team to blame each cause, but it never happened.”
“As a leader, the most important thing is that the team is united, which means that you’ve got the right leadership.”
He also confirmed that he never lost confidence in his chief engineers in the different areas, such as Elkann and Camilleri. According to the Italian, absolutely all the members of the team were united and supported each other. He even put Red Bull as an example.
“It took time at Red Bull or Mercedes; even more, if you look to Red Bull, it’s a long time that they are not winning [championships]. But they are the passions without let me say, no revolutions inside of the team. They are passionate, working hard and working well, but to build it takes time. I know I have the full trust.”
The reduction of the carbon footprint in the highest category of motorsport is something that has been tried to implement in recent years. Some people think that the only solution is the complete electrification of the single-seaters, however, other alternatives have already begun to emerge, such as hydrogen-based fuels, and not polluting compounds or fossil fuels. Many world-renowned brands, such as Porsche, are already developing an ecological fuel, which is not harmful to the environment. Regarding this issue, Mattia Binotto commented:
“I don’t know if biofuel is the right definition, I would say renewable fuels. That’s the way we should approach it, the technical specifications of it. I see that full electric is not the only solution for the future of the automotive. I think that hybrid engines are certainly an alternative.”
Recall that since 2014, Formula 1 implemented turbo-hybrid engines. This means that not only they have their internal combustion engine, but now they are made up of the aforementioned plus an electric motor, which is responsible for recovering power when braking and deploying it (as required by the driver) in the acceleration zone, this in order to have more horsepower to defend against a rival attack or vice versa.
“We’ve got engines where you’re plugging [in] electric parts. Now, I think you’ve got an electric and you need to design the engines for the purpose of it. I think the alternative to full electric is engines designed for the purpose of being hybrid, powered by renewable fuels.”
Full category electrification is not a viable option for many people, including some drivers. It is clear that if the engines are 100% electric, the sound that they currently emit will be lost, in addition to being considerably reduced in 2014, when the era was changed. A few months ago, the FIA announced that its laboratory is also working to find a less polluting alternative and that it be implemented in the highest category of motorsport. In addition to that they emphasized that they were going to further develop the idea of renewable fuels, as Binotto mentioned. The next technical regulations for power units will not arrive until 2025, when will renewable fuels reach Formula 1?