Mattia Binotto ‘not surprised’ by poor reliability as he reveals Ferrari’s aggressive approach

Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz have both fallen victim to two reliability failures this year, costing them vital points.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has detailed his team’s engine philosophy going into the 2022 season, and revealed that sacrifices had to be made on the reliability side.

Before, teams had unlimited access to wind tunnels and testing benches, but this has been limited in recent years to reduce energy bills, look out for the environment and take care of workers’ wellbeing.

As a result, there is less time for teams to discover what works and what does not, and there is also less room for development before the season.

Decisions therefore have to be made quicker, so some aspects will naturally have to be prioritised over others.

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The Scuderia had suffered a rough last couple of years before the 2022 season; their last race win had come through Sebastian Vettel in Singapore in 2019.

Between the four-time champion, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, the Italian side managed just eight podium finishes in 2020 and 2021, but this season was an opportunity to right the ship.

2022 saw the turn of the new technical regulations, which brought about the return of ground effect aerodynamics as well as the arrival of a new fuel philosophy.

This would naturally change the engine concept itself, particularly as it now has to fit into a different chassis, and it looked as though Ferrari had nailed it.

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In terms of pure performance, they did. Leclerc and Sainz have won four races between them so far this year, but they have also suffered as many reliability failures.

This cost Leclerc victories in both Spain and Baku, and the engine penalties incurred as a result of having to use new parts then denied the Monegasque and Sainz the chance of winning in Canada and France respectively.

Several points have fallen at the wayside subsequently, and Max Verstappen now leads Leclerc by 80 points in the Drivers’ Standings.

Red Bull, meanwhile, are 97 out in front in the teams’ fight, so the title challenge that started with two wins out of the first three for Leclerc has wavered.

However, Ferrari were so desperate to climb back to the front of the grid, that issues like this were bound to appear in their first season back in the championship picture.

“When there were no limits, it was enough to increase the work on the test benches, both in terms of performance and reliability,” explained Binotto in an interview with the Italian edition of

“But today, being constrained by hours, you are forced to make choices.”

The 52-year-old also took into account that, in terms of performance, engine development is now locked until the end of 2025, but working on the engines for reliability purposes is still permitted.

“We pushed the limits of performance beyond what would have been a normal reliability plan, and this is because we knew it would be important to close the gap on the competition before the development freeze for four seasons, knowing that reliability issues can always be resolved later,” added Binotto.

“This is not to say that we arrived at the first race thinking we were completely unreliable, that was not the case. 

“In the winter tests no problems emerged, but we knew we did not have an ideal situation, the problems we had on track which had not emerged in the bench simulations, I think they are typical unexpected events of a new project, and we have to take them into account.

“I’m not entirely surprised by what happened.”

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Driver errors and strategic blunders have conspired with reliability to, at times, make for a difficult season for Ferrari, but Binotto is not a leader who hides behind others’ mistakes.

He tries to put a positive spin on every adversity, and he does his best to protect his team from criticism, but he feels the pain just as much as they do.

“I stay calm, but believe me, in those moments I am depressed, it takes a while to try to react, but then you understand that you have to think about the next steps, what needs to be done,” he added.

“And not only in technical terms, but also in terms of the team, and then you think, ‘how can I help?’

“So I immediately begin to make sure that everyone remains calm and focused, and also protected from attacks and external comments.”

The team at Maranello, in Binotto’s eyes, have achieved something this season that he can safely say he has never seen in his long career with Ferrari.

“I can say that what we were able to develop during the last season in view of 2022 on the PU front, is something I have never seen in my 25-plus years at Maranello,” he explained.

“It is an example of what this team is capable of.”

As well as trailing Red Bull by almost 100 points, Ferrari are only 30 points clear of Mercedes, who have endured an extremely tough season so far, but have begun to find their feet, securing two double podium finishes in a row in the last two rounds in France and Hungary.