Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is unsure whether his team will be able to keep pace with Mercedes in the upcoming season. He conceded that the gap between the two teams is potentially too big at the moment.
Despite a new power unit being introduced by the Italian manufacturer, Binotto feels that last season’s nightmare may not be completely behind the team.
The previous season was the team’s worst since 1980 with an underpowered engine a big factor behind Ferrari’s lacklustre performances. Therefore, a new design has been developed.
Ferrari last tasted victory at the Mexican Grand Prix in 2019. Binotto feels that there is still plenty of margin left to cover if Ferrari is to challenge Mercedes.
“The gap to the best team today is very big and we will not close it next year,” he said.
“But to win races, you never know what may happen during the season, during races, if there will be an opportunity, we can get it. I do not have a glass bowl.
“Let’s wait and see. That is what is great about F1. There are uncertainties and we are working very hard to do our best. Let’s see what will be the competitive level in March.”
This year, Ferrari has gone with a line-up of Charles LeClerc and former McLaren driver Carlos Sainz. This comes on the back of Sainz’ performances last season, where he helped his team to third position in the constructors’ championship.
Sainz offers reason to be optimistic
Binotto, however, was optimistic regarding Sainz and said he believed there were some podium finishes to be had. He conceded that it largely depends on whether Sainz is offered a car that has the ability to be competitive.
“Hopefully, we see him on the podium, I am really hoping to see him on the podium,” he said. “I think that is not depending on him but certainly on the car.
“If the car is good enough, he is capable of doing strong races and will be on the podium.
“Again, I think he is a very young driver. The youngest line-up since 1968. Normally, we are doing such a choice not only for two years. You are trying to create solid foundations for the future and looking at the long term as well.
“So we hope that Carlos will be renewed and be with us as well in the next years.”