Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto believes that after their ultimately failed title charges in 2017 and 2018, the team are now in a better place to be able to compete.
The Scuderia had initially challenged Mercedes at the front for two consecutive seasons only to fall away in the second half of the year as the Silver Arrows gradually edged ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.
But having learned the lessons of those near misses, Binotto is confident Ferrari can not only maintain their early-season form but build on it for the rest of this year.
They have been battling with Red Bull in a fight of their own at the front in the early races, Mercedes having been left with a lot of work to do if they are to force themselves into the mix.
Binotto highlighted the widely-held view that the development curve among the teams will be a steep one, but maintains the belief the team can sustain a challenge – if they play their cards right.
🗣️ Mattia Binotto on Charles Leclerc: “I think he is simply demonstrating he is capable of fighting for the championship.
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) March 31, 2022
“I think keeping up the level of development through the season is always a challenge, not only for us but all of the teams,” said Binotto, quoted by Motorsport Week.
“It is true our competitors are very strong in that and proved to be very strong, while as Ferrari the last two opportunities we had [in] 2017 and 2018 we lost a bit of ground through development.
“Since then, as for the car design, we have improved our tools which are wind tunnel, methodologies, process and simulator.
“I think today we are much better prepared compared to the past to do the proper job as well in development.
“We need as well to add, compared to the time today we have the budget cap which will influence the rate of development, and I think that’s a key point and a key element.
“My concern is we need to make sure we have got the right policy on that as it can be a game-changer in the fight for development.”
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz sit P1 and P2 in the early Drivers’ standings after the first two races, with both Ferrari men having stood on the podium in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
Binotto also said recently Leclerc is driving like a World Championship challenger, while Sainz is working on “interesting theories” as he tries to overhaul his team-mate.
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