RACE DEBRIEF

    Ferrari’s power unit struggles in 2020 resulted in the team bringing a new unit to the track for the 2021 season. And while that unit has “definitely improved” the situation according to Team Principal Mattia Binotto, Ferrari will introduce yet another all-new power unit for the start of the 2022 season, as they look to return to the top of F1.

    With both Ferraris having qualified around 1.9s off pole position at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix, the 2021 race a few months later showed just how far the team had come, Charles Leclerc using the new power unit in his Ferrari SF21 to qualify just 0.681s off polesitter Max Verstappen’s time in fourth – with Binotto saying he was pleased with the progress of both the chassis and the engine, as Leclerc eventually finished the race sixth, two places up on new signing Carlos Sainz.

    READ MORE: Sainz and Leclerc already looking forward to Imola after Ferrari seal double-points finish in Bahrain

    “Definitely the power unit has improved, and happy to see as well that [Alfa Romeo] and Haas progressed,” said Binotto. “I think from our side, we progressed in all the areas that were possible. The aero is certainly better in terms of behaviours [and] the correlation, but the power unit, the car, overall, wherever it was possible to make improvements, we tried to do them.

    “It’s an entire package, so I would not really split it in areas – it’s the entire package which now is better and that’s enough.”

    1306474836
    Ferrari were back in the fight in Bahrain, but Binotto accepts there's more to do

    Despite the gains this season, Ferrari’s ultimate goal is to be the ones setting the pole positions, rather than seeing how close their drivers can get to the times of the likes of Red Bull and Mercedes. And Binotto accepted that, in spite of the progress Ferrari had made from 2020 to 2021, there was still more to be done – with Maranello set to field another new power unit in 2022, in tandem with Formula 1’s radical new aerodynamic regulations coming online.

    READ MORE: McLaren not surprised by Ferrari resurgence – and looking forward to battle ahead

    “I would say that we are lacking in all the areas,” said Binotto, when asked what improvements he’d still like to see at his team. “I think we are still lacking on the engine, less than before certainly so the gap has closed and I think we are converging.

    “Hopefully by next year, when we will again have a new power unit, we may catch up or have a benchmark for the others. I think on the aero as well – medium and high-speed downforce – I think it’s an entire package again. But now the differences are closer and closer. More important is I think we are working in the right direction with the right tools and that will make us stronger in the future.”

    Ferrari’s relatively strong start to the season sees the team hold P4 in the constructors’ standings after round one, two places up on where they finished the 2020 season.

    2021

    Constructors' standings after the Bahrain GP

    POSITION POINTS
    1 Mercedes Mercedes Mercedes 41
    2 Red Bull Racing Red Bull Racing Red Bull Racing 28
    3 McLaren McLaren McLaren 18
    4 Ferrari Ferrari Ferrari 12
    5 AlphaTauri AlphaTauri AlphaTauri 2