Ferrari struggled massively with an underpowered engine last year. The team was hurt by an FIA directive and had to make last-minute changes. As a result, Ferrari's 2020 challenger was a liability on the straights. Mattia Binotto has revealed that the engine gains made during the winter have helped the team close the gap.
Speaking about the noticeable gain in speed, Binotto said:
"We know how the engine is running at the dyno, [but] when you fit it on the car, what you may have a look on track is the speed, and eventually the relative speed to the others."
"Now if I look at the data, I think at least on the speed, on the straight, the speed is alright. There does not seem to be such a disadvantage as it was last year. We know it's not only power, it's drag of the car as well, as we often said last year. But let me say that both contributed in improving our speed on the straights."
"Today we feel it is not any more a disadvantage."
Ferrari's power unit gains impress drivers
When asked about how the Prancing Horse made their gains, Binotto said:
"We tried to develop as much as we could the back of the car."
"I think what was more important for us is to understand the correlation with the wind tunnel and the simulations, so gathering data and comparing.
"Correlation was a key factor in those days. So far at least, it's looking pretty well."
The verdict on the paddock seems to be that Ferrari has made progress compared to last year. However, it remains unclear if the improvements are sizeable enough to translate to winning races this Formula 1 season.