Returning Ferrari to top three is ‘minimum objective’ for 2021, says Binotto
By Ferrari's standards, the 2020 season was one to forget for the Italian team as they finished a lowly sixth in the constructors' championship. But boss Mattia Binotto has insisted a return to the top three is the "minimum objective" for the Scuderia in 2021.
He added, however, that Ferrari will face tough competition in the form of Aston Martin, who have Sebastian Vettel at the wheel in 2021, and third-place team McLaren – who have Mercedes power this season and Daniel Ricciardo on board.
“This team has been capable of finishing second in the past five years except one third, so I think that third is not fully impossible. And I think that should at least be our minimum objective for next season,” said Binotto.
“Still, I think that finishing third will not be an easy job. Finishing third will be difficult because there are teams like Racing Point [now Aston Martin] who I am sure will be very strong next year [with] free tokens, which is a competitive advantage. I think McLaren will be very strong again – they got an upgrade on the power unit, so overall I think it will be a difficult achievement but still I believe that as a team as a minimum objective we should try to achieve it.
“It has been very difficult for all of us, myself too. It’s the worst season since 1980, we finished sixth in the constructors’ [championship] so it has been a very hard season – even harder than expected,” he added.
Last season, Ferrari ended a run of six consecutive top three overall finishes, failing to win a race for the first time since 2016 and taking just three podiums compared to 2019’s haul of 19. A drop in power unit performance was thought to be one of the main reasons for their struggles.
“We knew last winter that the car was eventually not performing as we were hoping. We understood very quickly during winter testing that the car would not be fast enough, but I don’t think we are expecting overall such a difficult season, not only from the performance point of view but if we look back at all the Covid pandemic and all the situations we had to face,” explained Binotto.
“I think we will be back to being competitive as a power unit; we will not be the lowest in the field.
“The level of our performance has been inadequate for what should be the standard of Ferrari. We are very disappointed by it. We feel the full responsibility — we are sorry for the company, we are obviously sorry for our fans — but I’m pretty sure that this year will somehow make us stronger for the future,” he concluded.
Ferrari will contest the 2021 season with new recruit Carlos Sainz looking to improve the team’s fortunes alongside Charles Leclerc, who took two of Ferrari’s three podiums in 2020.