Mattia Binotto reveals if ‘powerful but unreliable’ engines is Ferrari’s strategy

Ferrari are 97 points behind Red Bull Racing in the Constructors' Championship.

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto in Bahrain, 2021.v1

It’s been a frustrating first half of the season for Scuderia Ferrari, who have had arguably the fastest car on the grid, but also the most unreliable.

Strategic errors aside, Ferrari have lost a huge haul of points just from power unit failures.

Charles Leclerc retired from the race lead at both the Spanish and Azerbaijan Grand Prix’s due to a sudden PU failure, with Carlos Sainz having retired from P3 at the Austrian Grand Prix due to his PU going up in sudden flames.

Those three retirements alone have cost Ferrari 65 points in the Constructors’ Championship, with the Italian’s currently finding themselves 97 points behind Red Bull Racing.

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Some have questioned whether Ferrari has tried to replicate the Mercedes F1 Team’s 2021 strategy.

Last season Mercedes took a number of grid penalties for exceeding the allowed number of PU’s; however, the German team were largely unaffected by this as their fast engine meant they quickly made their way to the front.

The Silver Arrows chose performance over reliability.

Sir Lewis Hamilton’s victory at the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix was a prime example of this, where he went from 20th to fifth in the sprint race alone.

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He then went from P10 to claim victory in the country he is now an honorary citizen of during the main race.

Leclerc and Sainz have both been able to finish towards the front when starting from last; the issue for Ferrari, though, is that it’s costing them a number of points with Max Verstappen yet to take an engine penalty.

Ferrari team principal explained that having an unreliable engine wasn’t part of their “strategy”, with the Italian labelling it an unplanned “consequence”.

“I don’t think it’s a strategy, but a consequence,” he told

“It was a consequence for them too, I don’t think it was planned. It is always better to have the best engine in terms of performance but also of reliability.”

Binotto went onto explain how it feels to see his team’s cars suffer from such agonising failures, especially given that Binotto used to work in Ferrari’s engine department.

“It is very difficult for two reasons. When it comes to engine failures, well, I’ve run that department myself in the past, and seeing smoke coming out of the car is never cool.

“And this is more of a feeling of depression. When you are leading the race, as Charles was leading in Baku but we can also mention Carlos in Austria, these are problems you would never want to see.

“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 for the next steps, what needs to be done. 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 outside comments.”

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Ferrari are currently in the process of developing upgrades for both their ERS and engine, something they are hoping to introduce before the engine freeze which comes into effect later in the year.

Whilst this will hopefully reduce their PU issues, Binotto isn’t expecting the new upgrades to be a “turning point”.

“Yes, we expect developments on the hybrid before the freeze period begins, we are working on it, but it will not be a turning point,” he said.