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Formula 1: “The Ferrari behaves as it was thought, designed and developed”

Two victories in three Grands Prix, a thirty-point lead for its star driver Charles Leclerc and almost forty in the constructors’ standings: Ferrari is well back at the start of the 2022 season. At Imola, on the Enzo and Dino circuit Ferrari, the Scuderia hopes to reward “at home” its many tifosi, who have remained faithful despite the difficult years.

Met Friday, April 22 in the morning before free practice, the boss of the transalpine team, the Italian-Swiss Mattia Binotto, analyzes, without excess of confidence, the first results – excellent – ​​of Ferrari.

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What does this return to the top of the Ferraris, dominating since the start of the season, inspire in you?

First of all, you have to be careful. Dominatrixes is not the right word. We reversed the trend. We manage to fight to do good races and try to win some. For the team, after two years of criticism and difficulties, it is a relief and above all a great joy to finally be able to prove to oneself that one is capable of working well. Personally, I’m also happy for the team which has always remained united, which has always tried to do well to represent Ferrari.

When you arrived, you showed great confidence in your troops and your plan. Why was it essential to instil this state of mind?

I always tried to give confidence to the team, so that it works calmly. On my side, I was convinced that in Maranello [siège de l’usine Ferrari], there was everything to do well. But I knew that to get there, you had to work in a programmed way.

When we talk about programming, it is actually about patience. This patience is not necessarily easy to manage, especially in Italy. For Ferrari, the pressure is still there. But if you look at our history, there are plenty of times when the Ferrari didn’t win. It is part of cycles.

The return of Ferrari seems to be linked to several factors such as the new regulations (aerodynamics, capped budgets), the fact that Red Bull and Mercedes fought for the title until the end of the season, that you benefited from more wind tunnel testing, etc. How do you explain it?

Many factors came into play. First there is patience and programming. Try to make an analysis of our weaknesses in terms of behavior, methodology, tools and skills in Maranello, in order to invest in improving them. For that, you have to pay attention to the details. We have done this systematically over the past two years.

Besides, it’s true, we had a little more time than the others in the wind tunnel last year. This advantage is estimated at one tenth [de seconde] per turn. It is significant but it is not what made the difference. The other teams have been very focused on the 2021 season but that’s also how we improve as a team. We were under criticism; we focused on ourselves and rose to the challenge.

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Starting from a blank page thanks to the new regulations was an opportunity not to be missed…

The discontinuity of the rules was a very important element. We knew it. Nobody keeps the advantage of the car from the previous year; for the others, it was more difficult to get up to speed. The 2022 season was an important meeting, we prepared for it thinking about our car but also about the team, our weaknesses and how to progress.

In Barcelona, ​​during the February winter tests, the Ferrari concentrated all the praise. When did you realize you were on the right path?

It is still too early to judge. I have said since the beginning of the season that we would have to wait four or five races before being able to judge definitively.

We are fourth in Imola this weekend…

Yes, we are getting there. With this race and the one in Miami [le 8 mai], we will have a clearer picture of the forces involved. This regulation is so new that there may be basic faults on the cars which are easily correctable. Our competitors could arrive by the next races with modifications that would make them as strong as us.

That said, in Barcelona, ​​we realized that the car behaved as we had thought, drawn, projected and developed it on our test benches, in a simulator or in a wind tunnel. There was a good correlation with the project, it means that the car is in good health. This is what we saw on the first day in Barcelona.

Mattia Binotto, boss of the Ferrari team, can be smiling at the start of the 2022 season.

If Red Bull regains reliability and Mercedes performance, it would allow an incredible three-way fight for the title. Isn’t that the goal of this reform?

I am convinced that this regulation will achieve its objectives. If it’s not this year, it will be next year. More than one team will be able to fight for results. If Ferrari can be part of this competition and win, it would be an honor.

Imola is special for you. It is one of the Ferrari cities. Do you feel the joy and pride found in your tifosi?

It’s not just the Ferrari city, it’s above all the Enzo and Dino Ferrari circuit. For us, it’s a very important Grand Prix, we feel a sense of responsibility. We also feel the pride and support of our tifosi which motivates us.

How did you manage to involve Charles Leclerc despite the difficult seasons? What speech did you give him?

I told him that Ferrari will become world champion if he takes part, as a member of the team, in its development. He is not a privileged spectator, he is a key person in future successes. We had to make him responsible for what we wanted to become. He understood the project and he spared no effort to improve.

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