Scuderia Ferrari was able to partially bounce back last season after the Italian side’s worst campaign in 40 years in 2020. Despite the limited development possibilities last season, Ferrari was able to improve and finish third in the Formula 1 Constructor Standings, after a very close and entertaining battle with McLaren, which was won thanks to a upgraded power unit introduced in the second part of the season and the consistency of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
However, this is of course not good enough for the most important and succesfull team in history of the sport. The Italian side aims for much more and wans to once again be able to challenge for the World Championships, to build an era of dominance similar to the one from the early 2000s with Michael Schumacher. While a lot of people are skeptical due to the recent results and the negative way in which Ferrari reacted when the previous major rule changes took place, there are signs of hope that they are back on the path to achieving that target and putting an end to a a 14-year wait for a Formula 1 championship.
Heavy focus on the 2022 Formula 1 project from the early stages of the 2021 season
Scuderia Ferrari shifted focus and switched resources to 2022 – aware of the opportunity represented by the new technical regulations – early on in 2021, but to be fair, they were joined in doing so by most of their rival, except Mercedes and Red Bull, who were involved in a close battle during the entire 2021 season.
For the Prancing Horse, taking such a decision was easy to make, given the fact that they had no chance of fighting for the title last season, while the rule change for the new season could be a key opportunity to reduce the huge gap to rivals Mercedes and Red Bull. Despite turning off the taps on 2021 development early, Ferrari still got the chance to learn plenty and test some data which should be useful for this season. Not only did they understand their package quickly and were consistently able to get the best out of it, but when they encountered problems at the Paul Ricard circuit due to the overheating of the tyres, the Maranello team immediately took actions and were back on the pace by the next Grand Prix.
Updating Maranello’s tools
Simulation and data correlation is a key factor in which Ferrari was less efficient than their competitors in the last few years. But now, after more than two years of work, a new state-of-the-art simulator is available at Fiorano, the Scuderia’s private circuit testing facility.
Ferrari therefore spent the last few months validating the new tools and used the new simulator in the last two races of the 2021 season to test it and make sure no issue appear during the operational processes. The hope now is it’ll be working at full speed in time for the beginning of the new championship.
Ferrari engine division making waves
Scuderia Ferrari’s power unit was the weakest of all in 2020, which could be clearly seen on track. Ahead of the 2021 season, Ferrari recovered part of the deficit as compared to Mercedes, Honda and Renault and later made further steps during the year with the introduction of a hybrid system which had initially been pegged for 2022. Ferrari thus had 8 races last season to test it, starting with the Russian Grand Prix. That engine update delivered raw performance that helped them leapfrog McLaren and secure third place in the constructors’ championship. Correlation was strong, too, and its success gives the team confidence their all-new engine concept for 2022 is along the right lines.
Ferrari want to get back on the top step
Forty-five races have passed since Scuderia Ferrari took its last race win (in the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix, when Sebastian Vettel triumphed ahead of teammate Charles Leclerc). Ending that barren run is a must for Ferrari this year. Team Principal Mattia Binotto and senior management accept that a title tilt this year is maybe a bit too ambitious, but last year having scored two pole positions, come close to winning Monaco on pure performance and taken five podiums, it’s a reasonable ambition for the team to get back onto the top step and fighting for pole positions once again.