Six races still to go until the end of the 2021 Formula 1 season, as seven and a half points divide McLaren and Ferrari: the two rival teams find themselves involved in a fight that is not worth the world title as has happened on several occasions in the history of Formula 1, but rather third place behind Mercedes and Red Bull. For now McLaren is ahead, but the Maranallo team reduced the gap after the Turkish Grand Prix.
The goal of third place is not so much linked to the difference in cash prizes – the difference is about 7 million – but to the prestige of a place on the podium in the Formula 1 Constructor Standings.
Mattia Binotto, team principal of the Maranello team, then emphasized that the fight with McLaren for third place is a perfect training ground for 2022. The men in red are hired for a specific goal that will lead to work under pressure, a test of what everyone in Maranello hopes for 2022, starting with President John Elkann: fighting for the conquest of the world title.
Before thinking about 2022, however, 2021 has to be concluded with growth, which has already seen the debut of the updated power unit in the hybrid system, an important weapon for Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. In Turkey, the Ferrari SF21 was clearly superior to the McLaren MCL35, but at Woking they were aware that there would be behind in Istanbul. Andrea Stella, former historic track engineer of Fernando Alonso in Ferrari who has now joined McLaren, is convinced that the challenge is in perfect balance: “We have cars with different characteristics, Ferrari is strong, capable of taking pole as in Monaco and Baku. When there are straights or high-speed corners or important braking on the straight, we are stronger, but if the track has corners that ‘close’ the Ferrari car is stronger. I see it as a 50-50 fight” – Andrea Stella said, in a recent interview for Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Regarding his former team, Ferrari, Andrea Stella stressed that Maranello does not lack the tools to play a leading role in Formula 1: “I know many people in Ferrari, and I have enormous esteem for them. There have resources and capable, skilled people, I think it is important that they work as a team.”