The Italian company has devoted much of its effort over the winter to focusing on an all-new engine design aimed at overcoming the power deficit that has plagued its shape in 2020.
It was clear that a lack of straight-line speed – partly from the powertrain and partly from too-dragging aerodynamics – had put him firmly on the back foot.
The initial start-up of its 2021 engine in testing and the opening of the Bahrain Grand Prix season have left Ferrari confident they have taken a good step forward, but the team wants more time to judge better. progress made against the main opposition.
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
Sporting director Laurent Mekies said: “We have improved, without a doubt, so we are okay with what we are seeing.
“But there is always work to be done to get the most out of it on the race track, because [in Bahrain] these are special conditions. You go from very hot peak temperatures in the afternoon to running at night.
“Of course we know our numbers exactly, but I think the question is what happens to that number when you factor in how others are progressing. And then again, I think the real answer to that you will find out by analyzing the qualifications.
“Due to the nature of these estimates, you need some qualifications to make sure you have a reliable number where you can go back to the factory and say, ‘Okay, guys, we know what we’ve got. progressed, and that’s where we are now compared to others, and so that’s probably what they themselves did in the winter ”.
“I think that will happen after two, three or maybe four qualifying, where you have a consolidated production estimate number from the other guys.”
Ferrari team manager Mattia Binotto expressed his relief after the Bahrain Grand Prix that his team had made up for their handicap in a straight line this year.
However, he wasn’t sure how much of this advancement was due to the power unit and how much due to the car’s more efficient aerodynamics.
“Certainly the powertrain has improved and I’m happy to see that Sauber and Haas have improved,” he said. “I think that on our side we have progressed in all possible areas, so the aero is definitely better in terms of handling, and with a good correlation.
“With the powertrain and the car as a whole, where there was room for improvement, we made them, so I think that’s the whole. So we’re not really talking about single zones, it’s the whole package that’s now better. ”