Ferrari racing director Laurent Mekies insists that the team did not sacrifice development on their 2022 car during their bid to seal third in the Constructors’ Championship last year.
The Scuderia managed to beat McLaren to third in the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi, with Carlos Sainz signing off 2021 with a podium finish.
Last year, Ferrari’s fuel partner, Shell, began work on the team’s new fuel mix for 2022, and reports have since emerged that this year’s engine has recovered the 20 horsepower drop that comes with the new regulations.
It is said to be made up of 90 per cent fossil fuels and the rest ethanol as Formula 1 continues to push for positive environmental change.
Team principal Mattia Binotto has previously confirmed that they were planning to only use their new engine in the final three rounds of the season but instead began using it much sooner in the season, it at the Russian Grand Prix.
Between then and the end of the season, Sainz scored two of his four podiums in the year and managed points in every race, with his lowest finish being P8 in Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
As a result, Mekies indicated that the Maranello outfit found a solid balance between competing last year and developing for 2022.
“We had hoped that in the end we could still fight for third place [in the Constructors’ Championship]. But we had decided not to make any compromises for 2022,” Mekies said in an interview with Motorsport-Total.com
The Frenchman enjoyed chasing McLaren down after the British team had made a better start to the year than Ferrari.
“At the beginning of the season, McLaren was a bit faster than us in most situations,” he said.
“That’s when they got a good lead in the championship. It was a good challenge.”
The 44-year-old was also full of praise for the Woking outfit’s achievements over the course of the season, citing their first 1-2 since 2010 at the Italian Grand Prix when Daniel Ricciardo led home Lando Norris.
“They had some fantastic moments. They won at Monza and could have won at Sochi. They are very, very competitive,” he added.
Mekies confirmed that no aerodynamic development took place towards the end of 2021, and the focal point was the power unit.
“The only development there was in the second half of the year was the hybrid,” he stated.
Sainz and Leclerc ended the 2021 championship sixth and eighth, respectively, helping Ferrari beat McLaren to third in the Constructors’ Championship by 48.5 points.
The teams will be working on a reduced budget of $140m in 2022, and Formula 1 technical director Ross Brawn has admitted that “some teams” are asking for an increase, owing to the presence of a number of additional sprint events in 2022.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown says his team are “adamantly opposed” to a budget raise, affirming that last year’s three sprints caused “very little damage” to the cars.
Furthermore, an engine freeze means manufacturers will be unable to develop their power units once the season begins on 20 March in Bahrain.