Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says he is “relieved” to see the progress his side has been able to make at the start of the 2021 Formula 1 season.

The Italian outfit is looking to bounce back from its worst season in four decades, having slumped to sixth place in the constructors’ championship during a woefully uncompetitive 2020 campaign.

But Ferrari started the new season on a positive note with a double points finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix, as Charles Leclerc took sixth ahead of new teammate Carlos Sainz in eighth.

“I feel relieved, certainly, because we may work in a better position and that’s healthy for the team,” said Binotto. “It’s important that the team can work in a healthy condition, staying calm and positive.

“For me that was important, so coming here and seeing the car has progressed, put the team somehow in a serenity, let me say, where we can even work in a better manner.

“So that was important, not only from the engine but as I said, all from engine, chassis, drag, aero, tools, correlation - that was all important for us and that was key.”

Ferrari’s downturn in form last year coincided with a private settlement with the FIA following an investigation into the operation of its controversial 2019 power unit.

One of the team’s main weaknesses throughout 2020 was a significant lack of straight-line speed, but Ferrari has spent much of its focus on developing a brand new engine for 2021, which Binotto revealed is a definite step in the right direction.

“How much is coming from the power unit, the improvement? Difficult to say because it’s all relative to the competitors, it’s not an absolute value, and I don’t know what is the progress of the others,” Binotto added.

“Certainly the power unit has improved and we’re happy to see as well that Sauber and Haas progress.

“I think from our side, we progressed in all the areas that was possible. The aero is certainly better in terms of behavior [and] correlations. 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 is now better and that’s enough.”

 

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