Ferrari is preparing to compete in the Italian Grand Prix at the Monza circuit with the aim of defending third place in the constructors’ standings against a McLaren that has what it takes to be very strong in the Temple of speed. Daniel Ricciardo has always found himself at ease in Brianza and could finally compose a sharp tandem with Lando Norris, who at the Red Bull Ring went within thousandths of Max Verstappen’s lap time in the challenge for pole position, putting the Mercedes W12 behind him, a prospect that would not be surprising if it happened again in Monza.
The Maranello team is aware that they are destined to suffer on the long straights of the Italian track, as already happened in 2020 when Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc went through a weekend of poor competitiveness with the Monegasque driver who was the protagonist of a spectacular crash at the exit of the Parabolica. The SF21 car proved to be of a different kind to the SF-1000, but it is difficult to dream of another Sunday like the one in 2019 when Charles Leclerc won by resisting the challenge of both Mercedes cars.
Ferrari plans before the end of 2021 the introduction of an updated power unit, an advance of 2022 with new fuel and lubricants prepared by Shell as well as an ERS optimization that should guarantee 10 more horsepower. When this new engine is used on Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari SF21 # 16, the Monegasque driver will have to serve a penalty on the starting grid as it will be the fourth engine of the season against the three provided by the regulation. According to today’s edition of the Spanish sports newspaper AS, Turkey could be the stage in Ferrari’s sights to introduce this new version of the power unit. The Istanbul round is still in jeopardy due to the pandemic and the restrictions it entails. A year ago the SF-1000 was quite brilliant in Turkey, with Sebastian Vettel able to take the podium on a rainy Sunday. Charles Leclerc finished in fourth place after a small mistake in the final lap when attempting to snatch second place from Sergio Perez.
Overtaking is not impossible at Istanbul Park and therefore assuming a comeback from the back of the starting grid is not a utopia. At the moment Formula 1 plans to run in Turkey from 8 to 10 October, after the Sochi stage at the end of September. A track where Ferrari could surprise in light of what they achieved in qualifying in Baku where Charles Leclerc took the second consecutive pole position after the one scored at home in Monaco.