From what he has seen so far, Mattia Binotto believes Ferrari’s new engine for 2021 “will not be the lowest in the field” – as was the case this year.
The Ferrari team principal, clearly recovered from the illness that had caused him to fly home from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix before the action had got under way, was present at an end-of-season media day with the team’s drivers, Charles Leclerc and new boy Carlos Sainz.
After the FIA identified something they were not happy with in the Ferrari engine towards the end of the 2019 season, a rules clarification ensued amid a confidential settlement with the Scuderia – who consequently were down on power throughout their poor 2020 campaign.
The big 2021 focus for Ferrari, before the major regulation changes for 2022, has been to build a completely new engine and Binotto is encouraged by how the work is coming along.
“The engine is running well on the dyno [test bed],” said Binotto, quoted by the BBC. “In terms of performance, it has progressed well – significantly, I think, compared to 2020.
“Luckily we can have a completely new power unit, otherwise we would be at a disadvantage.
“I think we will be back to being competitive as a power unit. We will not be the lowest in the field. That is the feeling I have got from the figures I have seen on the dyno.
“But I cannot know what the others are doing or how much they have progressed.”
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) December 19, 2020
Binotto revealed that Ferrari’s 2021 car will have the simple title of the SF21 and be launched just before pre-season testing, which is due to take place in Barcelona in early March.
He explained that apart from the engine, the team are also attempting to resolve other “weaknesses” that held them back this season in terms of pace with Ferrari having finished a dismal sixth in the constructors’ World Championship standings.
“We try to do our best in order to address at least the weaknesses of the 2020 car for next year,” said Binotto.
“In addressing the weaknesses, I mentioned the power unit. But the drag of the car was very, very high in 2020. And I think looking at the 2021 car, the drag has been somehow certainly addressed.”