Ferrari had an abysmal 2020 campaign, with the Scuderia finishing the season just sixth in the Constructors’ Championship and its SF1000 proving slower than its predecessor at a number of circuits.
The team and its tifosi are hoping that the new 2021 Ferrari power unit will help them close the gap to the frontrunners, and team principal Mattia Binotto recently said he believes a P3 finish in the standings next year is not “fully impossible” for the Scuderia.
“This team has been capable of finishing second in the past five years except once third,” Binotto said this week.
“So I think third is not fully impossible. And I think that should be at least our minimum objective for next season.”
Binotto admitted that finishing third in 2021 is a “difficult objective” for Ferrari, but said he believes “that as a team at least, as a minimum objective, we should try to achieve it.”
And, despite his optimism, Binotto warned that F1’s 2021 development restrictions could help Ferrari’s rivals out-develop them, as teams which source parts from other constructors can use some of their 2020 specification components without using up their own development tokens.
“We’ve got only two tokens to play, trying to address and modify the weaknesses of this year.
“There are teams which at the moment are not limited by tokens, they’ve got free tokens – Racing Point [which will race as Aston Martin Racing next season] or AlphaTauri.
“So those teams will have a competitive advantage to us and other teams, in terms of development, that we need to be fully aware of,” Binotto added.
Racing Point certainly had the stronger car in 2020, but it remains to be seen if Sebastian Vettel’s new team will still have a pace advantage over Ferrari next year.
“Other teams [such as McLaren] will change engine manufacturers and may have an upgrade in terms of engine power which, again, we need to be aware of,” the Ferrari team principal added.
“So the competitors will be, again, very strong next year. But as I said, I believe that we’ve got here in Maranello a strong team and I fully trust them that we can do a better job compared to what we did today.”