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Binotto to miss Brazil and Mexico races

NEWS STORY
13/10/2021

Buoyed by the latest-spec hybrid system, yet looking ahead to 2022, Ferrari team boss, Mattia Binotto is to miss at least two of the remaining Grands Prix.

Though Charles Leclerc (Sochi) and Carlos Sainz (Istanbul) were forced to take grid penalties in the two most recent races, as the Italian team introduced a new-spec power unit, all the signs are that it was a move that will reap dividends.

Sainz worked his way to 8th on Sunday, while Leclerc, having qualified 4th, finished the race in the same position.

"It is giving us a small advantage," says Binotto of the new-spec system, according to the official F1 website. "I don't want to quantify it on lap time because it is track-dependent.

"It's not only pure ICE power, it's energy recovery, so it's a bit complex," he adds. "But certainly it's giving us an advantage.

"If I look as well at qualifying with Charles, it was the... fourth lap time. If I look behind him, it was very close, and I'm pretty sure that a couple of positions would have been lost without that specification."

"As we said at the very start with Charles, when we introduced (the new system) in Sochi, the first objective was try to increase our experience in the view of 2022," he continued.

"That's why we introduced it as soon as possible, trying to rush it, taking some risks as well, but it's all a risk assessment. Obviously for us, it's clear we need to get mileage on track and do our own experience before 2022 when the power units will be frozen. For us, that was the key and the reason."

Having previously claimed that closing the gap to Mercedes and Red Bull was the focus, as opposed to battling McLaren for third in the team standings, Binotto now admits that finishing ahead of his Woking rivals is the target.

"P3 is certainly a target that we have already communicated to the team," he said "I think everybody is on board with that.

"It would be great to finish third," he added. "So yes, we intend to finish, or at least our objective is to finish, third at the end of the season."

Meanwhile, Binotto, who oversaw the Istanbul weekend from Ferrari's HQ in Maranello, admits that he will miss further races as preparations for 2022 reach a critical stage.

"Obviously the calendar has changed quite a lot since the very start, so I changed also plans, but certainly Turkey was one of these ones," he said. "I will skip at least another two races before the end of the season. So at the moment, I'm planning to skip Mexico and Brazil. But let's see.

"The reason is, as you may imagine, especially Mexico and Brazil overseas, it's a long trip. While here back in Maranello there is a lot to do.

"It's an entire team to manage, both the chassis and power unit and the entire organisation," he added. "And we are, in term of 2022 development, certainly in a critical phase where time is getting closer and closer.

"So I'm happy to be here. From the way I'm managing the race weekends, certainly on Thursday and Friday being in the office I can certainly be more focussed on whatever is happening back here in Maranello, while Saturday and Sunday is fully dedicated to the race weekend.

"Certainly I'm missing the networks in the paddock," he admitted, "but Laurent Mekies can do a great job, and I'm very happy the way he's managing the entire team when I'm not there."

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