Mattia Binotto admits ‘maybe the development we did was not certainly sufficient’

Michelle Foster
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto. Australia April 2022.

A distant second to Red Bull in both championships, Mattia Binotto says Red Bull’s development path coupled with Ferrari having to turn down their power unit played in the season’s outcome.

Although the Scuderia were the pace-setters at the very beginning of the season, their title challenge began to fade as reliability issues and strategy errors came into play.

It meant that at the Spanish Grand Prix, Max Verstappen was able to overturn a 46-point deficit into a six-point advantage. And from there it only grew.

He wrapped up the Drivers’ Championship title in Japan with four races to spare and Red Bull were crowned the Constructors’ champs at the United States Grand Prix. Verstappen also set a new record for the most wins in a single season, 15.

Ferrari ended with four having not won a single race in the back half of the campaign, Leclerc scraping through to finish runner-up by three points.

Binotto was asked where it went wrong.

“I think there have been a few factors,” he said as per Motorsport.com. “The first I think that, in terms of development, Red Bull had a clear route, which was reducing the weight of the car. This was not our case.

“They knew what [they needed] to tackle to get performance out of the car itself. For us it was more complicated because it was really through aero developments and trying to improve the car from the concept and the aero point of view.

“Also, I think if I look back, maybe the development we did was not certainly sufficient. We stopped very early; not only for a choice but because of expenditure reasons. But there are some things that we need to review.”

Binotto’s comment about Red Bull only needing to lose weight is in line with Helmut Marko’s recent statement that “not much was missing with the aero” when it came to their RB18, “the main problem was being overweight”.

Only 2023 ‘can tell’ if Ferrari made the right call

Binotto concedes only time will tell if Ferrari’s decision to turn their focus onto 2023 will pay dividends.

“Have we made the right choice by stopping so early, in terms of priority between 2022 and ’23? I don’t know,” he said. “I think only 2023 can tell us what has been the right choice or not.”

Ferrari, though, do need to examine this year’s championship and their development path to see if they could have done a better job.

“More than that,” he continued, “maybe we could have done a better and proper development of the car, within what we did. And that is something which we need to review.

“But I think the main reason is Red Bull got a clear path, which was the weight reduction. I think it was more straightforward extracting performance from the car itself.”

Binotto confirms Ferrari ‘lowered the power slightly’

It has been speculated that Ferrari were forced to turn down their engines after their Belgian Grand Prix upgrade due to concerns about reliability.

Wracking up engine penalties as they exceeded the limits, the Italian admits it is something Ferrari need to resolve before the start of the 2023 season.

“We had to lower the power slightly, we had to do it,” he said. “Reliability is the absolute priority.

“That’s our top priority because in order to win you need to be reliable and that has not been the case in the season, as a balance of the season itself.”

Ferrari finished second in the Constructors’ Championship, beating the much-improved Mercedes by 39 points.

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