The last two years for Scuderia Ferrari were very challenging, but 2022 seems the year of the comeback. The Maranello team has emerged as a championship challenger, thanks to the F1-75 which proved to be very competitive in the first part of the championship and allowed both its drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz grabbing wins.
The new rules have certainly offered new opportunities and many actually think that Ferrari has made greater progress than its rivals over the winter because it started earlier on its 2022 challenger, as Mercedes and Red Bull were locked in a title fight last year.
But the Scuderia rejects this idea, thinking that it does not concur of that being a factor in their favor. As team principal Mattia Binotto points out, they were all in the same position: the team was equally locked in an intense fight with McLaren last year for P3 and that meant it could not abandon 2021 development early. So the progress is just due to the fact that a better job has been done.
Asked to Binotto, recently interviewed by Motorsport.com, if he felt unfair that some had claimed Ferrari's early strong form was down to a headstart, he commented: "I don't think it's unfair, I think it's wrong.
"The reason why is, first, we all started exactly the same time to develop the 2022 car. That was January 2021, when finally it was possible to start simulating and going into windtunnels with new cars. Before that, we could not do it.
"So it's not that we anticipated the start to the development compared to others. We all started exactly at the same time.
"Then, it's a matter of how much resources and priority you could put on the project. Maybe the two cars which were fighting for the 2021 championship had to put some more developments into 2021, but I think we did it as well ourselves, because we were in the fight with McLaren.
"I think that finishing fourth was not our objective. We had to fight with them to the end of the championship and we developed our cars through 2021 as well.”
The team principal thinks that a better indicator of the good job his team did can be point out by the gulf in performance between Ferrari and McLaren this year, having fought so hard throughout 2021 - the Woking-based team had an advantage in the championship for most of the campaign, but Ferrari turned it around when it mattered most.
"Certainly the focus of putting development on 2021 was not as much as Mercedes and Red Bull, but I don't think it was so different to the other teams on the grid, and they are behind," he said.
"We were fighting with McLaren and they were fighting with us. We had exactly the same resources, the same options.
"Maybe, as we did, they put priority in 2022, but the final result has been different. And it's also because I think in 2020 and 2021, we were not performing to the true capacity of this team."
Despite having started the championship imposing themselves as the dominant force, Ferrari’s rival Red Bull has regained control. The Maranello team has not given up hopes of the title just yet, but Binotto is firmly convinced that The team is reaching the goals set ahead of the start of the 2022, which were never simply winning the championship.
"I think that our objective was to be back to be competitive and keep to be competitive for the entire season," he said.
"We have been competitive at the start, and we have been capable so far to develop the car and keep being competitive. So yes, so far at least we are reaching what were the initial objectives.”
Asked about if the pressure of a title challenge was too much at times, Binotto said: "I think the pressure with Ferrari will always be there.
"I think it's something we cannot change because that is part of what the brand represents in terms of what has been achieved so far, and what the people are expecting from it.
"We simply need to deal with the pressure: as the pressure will never disappear. I think that that's part of it as well: the capacity of the team to be capable of dealing with pressure, leaving it outside and stay focused."