Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto believes Mercedes will introduce a “big upgrade” at the Bahrain International circuit for the second pre-season testing session next week, which means for now it is “very difficult” to evaluate their performance based only on what could be seen in Barcelona.
Scuderia Ferrari had a strong start to the preparations for the 2022 Formula 1 season with a productive first testing session in Barcelona, as the Maranello team successfully completing more laps than any other rival.
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were pleased with the first felling of the F1-75 car and were both able to set fast laps from the first day of testing, which led to Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell talking up Ferrari’s performance and prospects for the next championship.
Lewis Hamilton hinted that the Italian side’s decision not to focus at all on the previous campaign and redirect all resources to its 2022 Formula 1 project may leave it “several months ahead” of its opponents. However, Mattia Binotto explained that he expected Mercedes to bring an important package of updates for its W13 car to the second testing session in Bahrain, giving Ferrari more reason to worry about the pace its rivals than Hamilton.
“I’m pretty sure that [Mercedes] will be two or three months ahead of us by the time we will be in Bahrain,” said Mattoa Binotto when asked about Hamilton’s comments – “So I think that it’s very difficult today to judge the performance and the relative competitiveness between the teams. But what’s important for us was to collect data here, and I think we can be satisfied for the amount of laps we did, collecting data and again, and will be analysed back at Maranello. I heard that there will be rumours that our competitors will bring big updates and upgrades. So I’m more concerned myself, I think, than Hamilton on ourselves.” – the Ferrari boss added.
The Maranello team introduced its last huge upgrade for its 2021 car to last year’s British Grand Prix and in the second part of last season focused mainly on testing components in order to be better prepared for the upcoming campaign, with the goal of returning to the top after several difficult years.
Scuderia Ferrari has not won a race since the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix, and two years ago faced its worst championship in the last four decades. 2021 was marked by significant improvement, which gives hope among fans that it could return to the front this season.
“A lot of fans have got high hopes on ourselves as a team – we are fans as well, so we’ve got high hopes,” said Mattia Binotto – “But I think so far, the car is behaving well, or it’s behaving without any big issues. And that’s really the exercise so far has been done properly. Will that be good enough? You know, we should not forget that last year and at the end of the season, we were at least a second per lap to the best, so those guys are certainly capable of being very strong. We believe that for us, it will be good to be back to being competitive in 2022. But it’s very early days today to judge.” – the Ferrari Team Principal concluded.