Looking ahead to Formula 1 in 2021 | Can Ferrari turn it around after 2020?

21-02-2021 19:00
Looking ahead to Formula 1 in 2021 | Can Ferrari turn it around after 2020?

For Ferrari, it is of course vital that in 2022, when the new regulations enter into Formula 1, it can immediately compete again with teams like Mercedes and Red Bull Racing. We still have a full season to go in 2021, but the Italian racing team doesn't want to have a gap year. The stakes are too high for that in the next ten months.

Ferrari's story is a familiar one. The engine was declared 'illegal', so to speak, at the end of 2019 and Mattia Binotto's team has not recovered from that blow to date. The new power unit proved totally uncompetitive. Add to that the fact that mistakes were also made with the chassis design last season and you get a year with a sixth place in the constructors' championship as a result.

Turnaround is needed

That has to change in 2021. Especially in the engine area, steps should have been taken last winter and according to the rumor circuit, that is what has happened. Ferrari has reportedly rebuilt the entire engine based on the 'superfast' concept. They are convinced that the gap to the superior engine supplier Mercedes is as good as closed or will be closed during the season.

That is also the reason why Ferrari finally voted for Red Bull's plans of an engine freeze starting in 2022. The Italians are apparently confident enough that when the freeze goes into effect, there will therefore be a powerful powerplant that is also competitive enough for the following years.

Sainz and Leclerc

With Carlos Sainz in its ranks, Ferrari hopes to have two teammates who are a match for each other, at least next season. Charles Leclerc had little to fear from Sebastian Vettel. The German seemed to have thrown in the towel prematurely and did not look very involved all year. Disastrous for Ferrari, especially considering the current situation they find themselves in.

How different will it be with Sainz, who will be driving for a top team in Formula 1 for the first time. The Spaniard will want to prove himself. This includes mistakes and Ferrari has factored them in. But this urge to prove must not get in the way. He will not have to let himself be put off balance if Leclerc is faster in the first four times in qualifying.

The role of Binotto

For Binotto, it is also important to manage the relationship between the men (who are potentially just as fast) well. How will Leclerc react if he is suddenly run over by an excellent Sainz? At Ferrari there is a lot of unrest on the horizon and the Maranello based racing team doesn't need that.

Ferrari does not want to say out loud that 2021 will be an interim year but in fact it is. Only the engine will be moved to 2022 and so that is where the focus will be. Will Ferrari then strike back after last season's debacle? The answer to that question will probably be no. Mercedes and Red Bull Racing are out of reach and teams like Aston Martin and McLaren (both with Mercedes engines) will have a lot of competition to grab that coveted third place among the constructors.

Written by Corwin Kunst. 

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