Ferrari expects Mercedes to make ‘big upgrade’ at second F1 test

Ferrari enjoyed a strong start to the F1 pre-season at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya last week, completing more laps than any other team.

Drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz both topped the timesheets throughout the test, prompting Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell to talk about Ferrari’s performance and potential this year.

Hamilton wondered if Ferrari’s decision to put development on hold at the start of 2021 to focus on its 2022 car could leave it “several months ahead” in the field.

But Binotto said he expected Mercedes to bring a series of updates for its W13 car to the second test in Bahrain, giving Ferrari more reason to worry about its rivals than Hamilton.

“I’m pretty sure that [Mercedes] will be two or three months ahead of us when we are in Bahrain,” Binotto said when asked about Hamilton’s comments.

“So I think it’s very difficult today to judge the performance and the relative competitiveness between the teams.

“But what’s important for us was collecting data here, and I think we can be happy with the number of laps we’ve done, collecting data and again, and we’ll analyze it in Maranello.

“I’ve heard there are rumors that our competitors are bringing big updates and upgrades, so I’m more concerned about myself, I think, than Hamilton about ourselves.

Ferrari made the latest major upgrade to its 2021 car at last year’s British Grand Prix, allowing it to devote more resources to the new regulations as it tries to get back to the front of the pack.

Ferrari hasn’t won a race since the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix and had its worst season in 40 years in 2020 before recovering decently last year, fueling fans’ hopes it could come back to life. center stage this season.

“A lot of fans have high hopes for us as a team – we’re fans too, so we have high hopes,” Binotto said.

“But I think so far the car is handling well, or handling without any major issues. And it is really the exercise so far that has been done correctly.

“Will that be enough? You know, we have to remember that last year and at the end of the season we were at least one second per lap behind the best, so these guys are certainly capable of being very strong.

“We think for us it will be good to be back in competition in 2022. But it’s very early today to judge that.”

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