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Engines, set, go!
One month to go until the lights go off at the Bahrain International Circuit to mark the beginning to the 2021 Formula One World Championship. The season, which will take off on 28th March, already is, without having even started yet, one of the most important of the highest auto racing competition. In addition to it being a transition year before the implementation in 2022 of the long-awaited new rules, many say this could be the last season for 7 times world champion Lewis Hamilton, if he indeed succeeds in winning his eighth championship, thus surpassing Michael Schumacher.
2021 is much-awaited by the tifosi, the Ferrari fans, eager to see the redemption of their team after the disastrous year that 2020 was for Ferrari -among many others-. P6 in the World Constructors’ Championship standings, one of their absolute worst results, the secret accord with the FIA after the 2019 Power-Unit issue, the Covid-caused development freeze on an underpowered engine, the breakup -abrupt and sour- between the Scuderia and its German driver…
It’s not easy to admit, but right now Ferrari can’t aspire -and it doesn’t- to the Constructor’s Championship. The Italian team hopes for the 2021 season to be a year of reconstruction, the beginning of a medium-term project to bring them back to the podium. In light of this, last May it decided to sign on Carlos Sainz Jr. The Spaniard comes from his two best seasons in F1 and Ferrari hopes to replicate the unexpected success of the Sainz-Norris dynamic. These two, although not being able to individually match up to drivers like Verstappen or Hamilton, have succeeded in rebuilding the working environment at McLaren, uniting the Woking team and improving considerably its results in the Constructors’ Championship standings: from P7 in 2018 to P3 in 2020. The pair, while still acting as children off the track, have managed to create a fraternal bond and motivate the rest of the team while, at the same time, asserting themselves, much unexpectedly, as leaders.
The Leclerc-Sainz pair, Ferrari’s youngest line-up in more than fifty years, is the result of the change of pace that began in 2019 when the former arrived in Maranello. There were doubts: was it the right choice for a team used to favor experience over youth? The results proved otherwise: While the Monegasque driver finished in P4 in 2019 and in P8 in 2020, his teammate, 4 times world champion Sebastian Vettel, only ended up -with the same car- in P5 and P13, respectively.
The beginning has been positive: the relationship between Carlos and Charles seems to be stranger -for the time being- to their egos, insiders tell that the all-new Power-Unit is a better fit than last year’s, the budget cap and the limited development tokens available to the teams have reduced the spending possibilities of the competitors.
Ferrari can’t do worst than last year, it only can do better. It has all the odds in its favour: a new engine and two hungry-for-titles young drivers. If these two become the leaders the Scuderia so much needs right now and if they work together, and not against each other, we could be listening again to the Italian anthem sometime soon in F1.
In today’s presentation of the team, both drivers and Team Principal Mattia Binotto reaffirmed the importance of working together as a team and for the team this year, leaving aside individual achievements and focusing on rebuilding Ferrari. This all but confirms the Scuderia’s intention to enter this new season with a different approach and a medium-term plan to bring back to Maranello titles and glory.