New Straits Times

Ferrari’s F1 chief hopes for revival


MARANELLO (ITALY): The 2021 Formula One campaign will be a rebuilding year for Ferrari following a disastrous 2020 season, boss Mattia Binotto said on Friday at the team launch.

Ferrari will unveil its 2021 cars next month, but they will largely be based on the 2020 version which delivered the team’s worst results in 40 years.

“In 2021, we will focus on developing the car of 2022,” Binotto told a virtual press conference.

“This will be the main objective and therefore we won’t spend much time on the 2021 car during the season.”

Binotto pointed out that facing changes in technical rules, a spending cap and the coronaviru­s crisis, Ferrari has frozen developmen­t as a cost-saving measure and is planning to unveil a new model for 2022.

“There is always a balance, it is a choice we have to make, 2022 represents an important change,” he said.

“So a large part of the effort will be devoted to it.”

Ferrari finished sixth in the constructo­rs standings last year with 131 points - 442 points behind world champions Mercedes and 188 behind second-placed Red Bull.

“The gap with the leaders was substantia­l,” said Binotto.

“It is not something that can be corrected in one winter.”

Binotto was joined by the two Ferrari drivers, 26-year-old Spaniard Carlos Sainz, who is replacing Sebastian Vettel, and 23-year-old Monegasque Charles Leclerc.

They form, Binotto said the youngest Ferrari driving tandem since 1968, adding “we intend to construct our future round them.”

The SF21 car, which is due to be unveiled on March 10, two days before pre-season testing at the Bahrain Internatio­nal circuit ahead of the opening grand prix in the Gulf kingdom on March 28, will be fitted with a new power unit.

“We think the car is more efficient both aerodynami­cally and in terms of the engine,” said Binotto, arguing that the lack of speed on the straight that was a problem last year has been corrected.

“I’m not saying that we will win. I think that we need to be realistic.”

In a jokey conversati­on on the promotiona­l video, Leclerc said: “Carlos wants to beat me, I want to beat him too.”

But, he added, “we have to work together to move the team forward in terms of developmen­t.” Sainz echoed the sentiment. “I think there’s something more important we have to keep in mind, which is making Ferrari move forward together,” he said.

“If there is one year we have to work well together, it’s this one. When there’s a world championsh­ip or something special (at stake) we’ll worry about each other a bit more.”

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