After two disastrous years for Ferrari, the Maranello-based team returned renewed in 2022 and was able to compete and close the gap to Red Bull and Mercedes. This is mainly due to the improvements made to the engine.
Even after the test days in Barcelona, it was difficult to see how good the F1-75 would be until the first race of the season, yet the factory stats indicated that Ferrari had made a breakthrough, more than Mattia Binotto would have seen in his lifetime.
Then, in Bahrain, the Italian team's drivers finished 1-2 respectively, confirming that the car had improved immensely, to the extent that the team principal claimed he had never seen so much improvement from one season to the next in his 25 years at Maranello: "On the power unit, we have set big numbers in terms of targets. And what I've seen that we've been able to develop over the past season for 2022 on the power unit, in over 25 years at Maranello, I've never seen that."
Binotto also assured that the team has put in a great effort and that all its members are very capable: "It shows how much the team has been able to deliver. So it's been great with the power unit.
The fact that Ferrari was so far behind had a lot to do with the pause in development in the wake of the pandemic, where budget cuts had to be made. In this year, the impact was clear: the Maranello team would finish the championship in the worst position in 40 years. This was compounded by the fact that in 2019 the FIA investigated the team's power unit, which was a big problem for the reds.
Despite major improvements to the F1-75, the team has already had several strategy errors throughout the season and the cars have suffered with reliability issues, having already had 3 DNFs before the summer break, something you can't afford if you are competing for a championship.
Binotto said that wanting to ensure the best performance is always the best plan and that they will prioritise the car's performance over its reliability issues: "I don't know if it's forcing too much, because forcing performance is never enough.
"We will certainly prioritise performance over reliability. What does this mean? That we may have fallen short of our homologation plan."
The Italian said that a big part of the problem is the limit they have placed on working hours, which has prevented them from homologating the trade-off between performance and reliability: "Also, also on the power unit, as on the others, we have restrictions on dyno hours. And those restrictions have influenced the result, because in other periods without restrictions, you simply multiplied the effort on the dyno for both performance and reliability."
"So being limited by the dyno hours, you have to make your own choice when it comes to September, October, November and December. And there's no question that we pushed the limits of performance beyond what would have been a normal reliability plan."
Binotto also commented that reliability problems can always be fixed later: "But because we knew it would have been important to make up the gap, then it could have been frozen for four seasons. Reliability can always be fixed later on.”
The Ferrari team principal also claimed that DNFs on the cars are part of learning when creating new power units, adding that this gives them more experience: "Experiencing failures on the race track that are not fully known problems compared to the bench, but can be problems that [come] simply because we are adding experience to a very green project," he said.
"With all the specificity of a racetrack versus a bench, you're just learning the product. I think that's to be expected. I'm not entirely surprised,” Binotto concluded.