Ferrari does not expect its new Formula 1 car to have a lack of straightline performance after the team “recovered quite a lot of speed” over the winter, according to team principal Mattia Binotto.

The Italian outfit slumped to its worst F1 season since 1980 in 2020 with a sixth-place finish in the constructors’ championship and endured a winless campaign that was hampered by an evident straightline speed deficit.

But Ferrari has been working hard to overcome the issues it faced with its power unit and aerodynamics during the off-season and is confident it has resolved its previous straightline speed problems.

Speaking at the team’s official 2021 launch event on Friday, Binotto revealed that data from its simulations suggest the team has successfully addressed the main weakness of its 2020 F1 car.

“I think that last year the main issue was the speed on the straight line, not only the power, but both power and drag,” Binotto said.

“We have worked a lot, both on the power unit and on the car aerodynamics to reduce the drag of the car.

“Based on our simulations today, based on what we can see in terms of power output from the dynos, and the drag of the car from the windtunnel, I think that we recovered quite a lot of speed on the straight lines.

“I’m expecting the speed not to be such an issue as it was, hopefully we can be competitive but we will only know in Bahrain. It is always relative to what the others are doing.

“We believe our car is certainly more efficient compared to the one we had last year, and when I say efficient, it is again both from the aero point of view and power point of view.”

Binotto urged a “realistic” approach to Ferrari’s chances this year, insisting that the team cannot expect to catch back up to the performance level of Mercedes and Red Bull in just one season.

"The way I've seen the car developing both in the windtunnel and on the dyno, I believe that somehow we made a significant effort," he explained.

"But you cannot know where you are if you are not on track, and I think that will be important for us. We need to be realistic. The gap to the best last year was very important, and not something that we can recover in a single winter.”

Despite this, Binotto made it clear that the expectation is for Ferrari - with its revised driver line-up featuring Charles Leclerc and new signing Carlos Sainz - to move up the order after finishing a lowly sixth in the constructors’ championship last year.

“I think that for us it’s important that [both drivers] do their maximum, because the sum of the two drivers’ points is key for the Constructors’ Championship, at the end of the season,” he said.

“I’m expecting Carlos to be very fast and competitive this season, as I know that Charles will be, as he’s been last year.

“We certainly need a good car to perform better, but I’m expecting from both of them to do well and hopefully to have a greater season that last year.”

 

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