Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has played down expectations after a productive time in Barcelona, insisting the Scuderia are “still the outsider” this year.
Between Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, Ferrari completed a whopping 302 laps around Barcelona in the first two days of running alone, with Leclerc going quickest on day 2 and both drivers hovering around the top of the leaderboard throughout.
It is said every year the indicators of pace that can be taken from pre-season are always minimal, and Binotto predicts the season will be well under way by the time the teams fully understand where they stand in the pecking order – and he stressed Ferrari should not be considered as favourites just yet.
“Now we are on track, we try to learn the car,” said Binotto, quoted by Autosport. “How we benefit from that I think only the next months will tell us, not the next day.
“Before we see the potential, the full potential of these cars, I think it could take at least four to five races because there is so much to learn, to adapt, to address. Even the first race will be a completely different situation in Bahrain – the heat, a completely different type of track.
“I’m pretty sure we can find even a different balance between teams in terms of relative competitiveness. So let’s wait and see.
“Honestly, I think we are not the strongest team. We are still the outsider, not the favourites.”
The Ferrari team boss thinks it is too soon to judge where they stand in relation to other teams, but was taken aback by just how different the designs of the cars are up and down the grid heading into 2022.
The sweeping regulation changes provided a near-blank sheet of paper for the teams to come up with their own philosophy for how best to approach the new year, but Binotto did not quite expect to see so many different ideas on show in Barcelona.
“It’s very early days,” he said. “It’s always great to have consistency when running because it’s time to learn a new car. And when you are doing a lot of laps, you are certainly collecting data.
“Overall, on the pace, I think it’s really very early to judge. What I can see [is] we are all very close, which was one of the objectives of the new regulations. I think it’s quite impressive to see we are so close straight from the start.
“And if you look at the cars they are so different, which I think nobody was expecting, so much difference between design and shapes.
“But again, when you look at the lap time, yes, certainly there will be differences, but it was not as huge as the difference in design.”
Three official days of testing will come in Bahrain between March 10 and 12, before the season starts when the lights go out on Sunday March 20 in Sakhir.
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