McLaren’s Andreas Seidl has pinpointed the exact moment the strength of Ferrari’s upgraded engine became clear.
The two teams have been locked in a battle for P3 in the Constructors’ Championship for the entirety of the season. McLaren have had the upper hand for most of it, but that’s no longer the case.
Since Ferrari upgraded their power unit, they’ve comfortably had the faster car and have thus taken P3 from their rivals with the Italian team now leading by 31.5 points.
Seidl says it became clear just how fast they were in a straight line during the sprint in Brazil, with Carlos Sainz successfully holding off the Red Bull of Sergio Perez despite the Mexican having DRS.
As a result, he doesn’t expect his team to be able to get back ahead of the Scuderia.
“The Ferrari can boost from the beginning to the end of the straight,” the McLaren team principal said, as quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.
“You saw it in the sprint. Perez didn’t even approach Sainz on the home straight, despite DRS.
“We have to face reality. Even if we don’t give up, it is very likely that we will finish the season in fourth place.
“It is now important for us to have the positive momentum in the last win back three races – with a view to 2022.”
Even so, he still feels 2021 can be seen as a good season for the British outfit.
“Even if we finish fourth, the season is to be seen as a success,” he added.
“Before the start of the season, I would have accepted this place with thanks. We took the next step as a team. Our car has gotten better. The gap to Red Bull and Mercedes has clearly declined.
“We are not the fastest at the pit stops, but we are very consistent. We know where our deficits are. We are working on that.”
While Ferrari too will be pleased with how 2021 has gone, with them returning to the top of the midfield after dropping down the pecking order in 2022, they ultimately won’t be happy until they’re fighting for wins and titles again.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that, despite how strong it already is, they’re continuing to work on their power unit and hope to introduce new parts for the start of next season.
“We are working tirelessly on the power unit for 2022,” said Mattia Binotto.
“Many components will already be new at the start of the season. Then we have to see how we proceed by September.”
Ferrari deserve credit for late-season power gains
While McLaren had the third spot for a good while, Ferrari now occupy the position.