The 2020 season presented numerous challenges for the Italian F1 team. It was a disappointing season for Ferrari drivers at the time Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc who often produced contrary results to one another as teammates on track. There were also some significant changes as key roles on the team were redefined including team principal Mattia Binotto's role on the technical side which he gave up to focus on his other duties as head of the Scuderia.
While Ferrari has made huge strides in comparison to their results from last season, Binotto remains practical heading into the final two races of the season, despite their 39.5 point lead over McLaren.
After the Qatar Grand Prix Mattia Binotto spoke with RacingNews365.com.
"Obviously, the championship is not over yet, [There are] two races to go, so we are focused on trying to do the best [we can] for the last two” stated Binotto.
The budget gap for the 2021 season had a significant impact on the Ferrari car this year and forced the team to prioritize the development of the 2022 car. This makes the team's current results that much more impressive given their limited opportunities to improve the car and Binotto expressed his content with Ferrari’s third-place spot in the constructors’ standings.
"But no doubt, if I look at where we were last year, [in] sixth, [with] very little points in the championship, I think we made the most we could do with the current regulations where most of the car was frozen [from development], and very limited opportunities [in other areas as well].
"[We've had] a budget cap in 2021, where we have had to put priorities on the 2022 [car] to develop instead of the 2021 [car].
"So overall I think that the team have made great progress for what was possible to do, and for that I am happy, because the third position is a great output of the efforts."
For this 2021 season, there has been a considerable difference and improvement for both cars' performance from the 2020 season as both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz have managed to achieve more consistency between each other resulting in more points for the constructors’ championship. Binotto explains that the notable progression the Ferrari team has made centers around strategy and communication methods with the divers to reach a better understanding between the drivers and the crew.
"I think that the race team since the very start of the season has made a lot of progress," he said.
"It has made a lot of progress in terms of strategy, the way we manage the communication with the drivers, the understanding of what we're doing."
Binotto also credits both Leclerc and Sainz for their conservative approach to managing pace over pushing the car to the limits as one of the key elements to their success this season.
"Our two drivers always tried to control the pace, never pushed the limits," Binotto replied.
"Which can be difficult for them, because they were very keen to push more, but we told them [to] always try to control the pace, because we knew that there was a risk of [the tyres] wearing out.
"I think taking no risks at the end [along with] maybe some luck, [has seen] some benefits in the results."