After a disastrous 2020 season in which Ferrari fell to sixth in the Constructors’ Championship, Charles Leclerc qualified for an impressive fourth place and finished sixth in the season opener.
His teammate Carlos Sainz Jr also qualified in the top 10 and finished eighth in the race to give Ferrari their first double in points since last year’s Turkish Grand Prix.
But this encouraging start does not mean that Ferrari is still in a position to fight for a podium, according to Binotto.
“The gap is still very clear compared to the best competitors, which was still important in the race, so it was still a long way, but it will depend as well from one track to another”, said Binotto, asked about Ferrari’s podium chances.
“We know that we won’t be working a lot on the development of this car because we will be focusing on 2022 in terms of design development. I’m pretty sure it’s the same with the other competitors.
“But I still think that if we look at our race today, now we have feedback from the drivers, they start to learn the car, start to know what the limits of the car are, and eventually we can figure out where we can improve it, so i think about the next threr [or] four races will first show what the real performance and potential of our car is compared to others. “
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1, and Mattia Binotto, Team Principal, Ferrari
Photo By: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
A poorly performing engine was a big factor in Ferrari’s struggles last year, but already in testing the team felt they had made significant progress due to their lack of straight-line speed.
Binotto admitted it was a relief to confirm the engine’s progress on the opening Grand Prix weekend, and believes it gives the team a solid foundation that should help them work more calmly to continue to recover. .
“I certainly feel relieved because we can work in a better position, and it’s very healthy for the team,” Binotto added.
“It’s important that the team can work in good health, stay calm and positive, and for me that was important.
“So coming here, seeing the car progress, with the team in a way in a certain sense of calm, allows us to work better.
“Engine, chassis, tires, tools, correlation, it was all important to us and it was fundamentally the key.
“How much of the improvement in the engine block? I think it’s hard to say because it’s so relative to the competition. It’s not an absolute value and I don’t know the progress of others, but we can only judge the whole package. “
Binotto said it was good news for the team to see the car performing as Ferrari had expected based on its simulation data at its factory.
“In relation to expectations, in terms of how they compare to our simulation data, I think good correlations, that was important to us,” he said.
“It’s something that we developed last year, to improve from where we were. So the car is performing as expected. How it works, I think we have some ideas from the winter testing of these three days.
“We knew we had a better car compared to last year, without a doubt, compared to the competition.”