The Italian squad and McLaren have been embroiled in a close-fought fight over third place in the constructors’ standings throughout the 2021 season, with Ferrari edging clear in recent races following the introduction of an engine upgrade. 

Ferrari holds a 39.5-point advantage over McLaren heading into the final two races and appears destined to return to F1’s top three teams. 

Sealing a P3 championship finish would be down to the collective improvements Ferrari has made as a team throughout the season, according to Binotto. 

"We never really developed the current car," Binotto explained. "We introduced a couple of developments at the very start of the season and that's it.

"Except for the power unit later on but the power unit, again, that was a development with a view for 2022. All our efforts from the very start of the season have been on the 2022 car and we never compromised it.

“It never came into our mind even at some stage try to penalise 2022 at the benefit of 2021.

"We knew that we could have fight for the third place at the start of this season, we knew it could be very tight, but our main objective in 2021 was not third place but to improve in all the details as a team and third place will simply be the output of it.

“If we are reaching third place it's because the team; the way they are working at various weekends has certainly improved a lot since the start of the season, and not because the car itself has developed through the season.” 

Binotto says “a lot of progress” has been made across Ferrari’s entire F1 organisation since the team slumped to sixth place in last year’s constructors’ standings.

“[We have] made a lot of progress in terms of strategy, the way we manage, the communication with the drivers, the understanding of what we are doing,” Binotto said. “It has improved a lot in terms of tyre management.

"I think that the team since Paul Ricard developed a lot of small tools, methodologies to try to do it better.

“Obviously the championship is not over yet, there are two races to go, we are focused on trying to do the best,” he added. 

“But no doubt if I look at where we were last year – sixth, very little points in the championship – we made the most of what we could do with the current regulations.

"So overall, I think that the team has made great progress with what was possible to do, and for that I am so happy because yes, the third position is a great output of the efforts.