Ferrari fear P3 in the Championship beyond them

Date published: November 6 2020

Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) during Portuguese Grand Prix practice

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has not ruled his team out of the P3 fight in the constructors’ World Championship, but says it’s a “very difficult” task.

With four rounds of the 2020 season to go Mercedes have already secured their seventh Constructors’ Championship in a row, while P2 is pretty much in the bag for Red Bull.

But behind them a fierce battle has developed for P3 between Renault, Racing Point and McLaren.

Currently Renault lead the way on 135 points, but McLaren in P4 and Racing Point in P5 are tied on 134 points.

Ferrari also cannot be ruled out as a dark horse after showing signs of recovery in recent rounds during what has been a miserable campaign for them.

Following the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Ferrari have 103 points on the board, so while unlikely to make up the deficit it is not out of the question.

Binotto, though, feels the strength of the teams ahead may well be too much for his outfit, especially since Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo scored his second podium finish in three races at Imola.

“Certainly I think that to try to move up in the Championship will be great, but if you look at [Imola] we didn’t gain any points and we lost [ground] to one team,” he is quoted by Autosport.

“The battle is very tight, but I think the car has improved. So we will try, and I think certainly our objective is try to catch up someone.

“But there are only four races to go, so it will be somehow very difficult.”

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It’s already been confirmed that Ferrari will be armed with an all-new engine for 2021, and Binotto previously told Sky Italia he hopes to see the Scuderia fighting regularly for a spot on the podium again next year, though a title challenge is not likely.

“We got the project wrong, looking for a path of development that turned out to be wrong. Then COVID arrived, stopping [work on the car], and this penalised us for the whole season,” he explained.

“We had to comply with the measures that caused nine weeks of work stoppage, plus immediately afterwards it was decided to freeze the 2020 projects. I see this season in a different context than normal but we will be able to react.

“We have very challenging goals for 2021. I see a very united team that wants to do well. It feels the weight of responsibility and the desire to redeem itself.

“Next year we will have a completely new engine that is running well on the test bench.

“We have ideas about the car, but we can’t work miracles with wind-tunnel hours reduced compared to the past. But I’m sure this team is alive and we’ll take it a step further. Now it’s up to us to prove it.

“Realistically Ferrari will not be able to fight for the world title in 2021. Next year we have to go back to fighting regularly for the podium. That’s our goal.”

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