Binotto: Straight-line speed not such a disadvantage this year


While there remain questions over the SF21's stability, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto insists that straight-line speed is no longer the disadvantage that it was.

Though Ferrari had well-documented aero issues last year, it was the lack of straight-line speed that really hit the Maranello outfit... and its two customer teams.

The Italian team had its worst season since 1980, failing to score a single win and only making three visits to the podium. Finishing sixth in the overall standings, it was no surprise that customer teams, Haas and Alfa Romeo also struggled.

All three were paying the price of Ferrari's actions in 2019, which led to an investigation by the FIA into its legality.

On the back of last season's disaster the Italian team has worked on its aero package whilst developing a new, more powerful power unit.

Over the winter there was lots of positivity coming out of Maranello, and while this was to be expected, once Ferrari - and its customer teams - hit the track there appeared to be an improvement in straight-line speed. Indeed, Kimi Raikkonen posted the fourth best time of the three-day test, only marginally slower than Carlos Sainz, albeit on the softest tyre compound.

"Obviously we know how the engine is running on the dyno," said Binotto at Sunday's official press conference. "When you fit it on the car what you may have a look at on track is the speed and eventually the relative speed to the others.

"When we were here last year for the race and for qualifying we've been very slow here on the straights," he continued, "we didn't enter into Q3 and we were very distant from pole.

"Now if I look at the first days I think at least on the straights the speed is alright," he added. "It doesn't seem to be such a disadvantage as it was last year.

"We know it's not only power," he admitted, "it's the drag of the car as well, as we often said last year, but let me say that both of them contributed in improving our speed on the straights and today we feel it is not anymore a disadvantage."

Reflecting on the test he said: "We knew that with only three days it would be very busy and very intense, and it has been very busy and intense. But I think so far it has run smoothly.

"The main priority was certainly to understand the car behaviour, mapping in all the conditions, and that is where we focused our energy. I think so far we collected a lot of data."

Check out our Day 3 pre-season test gallery from Bahrain, here.

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Published: 15/03/2021
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