Binotto: Leading midfield the 'minimum objective' for Ferrari in 2021

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Returning to third in the Constructors' standings is the "minimum objective" for Ferrari in 2021, team boss Mattia Binotto has stated.

This year, the Scuderia slumped to their worst finish since 1980 in sixth in the Teams' Championship, 71 points behind third-placed McLaren.

The only highlights came through two podiums for Charles Leclerc in Austria and Silverstone while, in his final year in red, Sebastian Vettel ended 2020 with his lowest points total for a full season.

However, in the second half of the season, progress was starting to be made and Binotto is confident their recovery will continue next year.

“The team has been capable of finishing second in the past five years, except for one third,” he said.

“So I think that third is not fully impossible. I think that should be at least our minimum objective for next season.”

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Key to achieving that will be limiting the power deficit to the other engine suppliers, after an FIA investigation for potential tricks to circumvent fuel flow rules resulted in a significant loss of power this year.

"The engine is running well on the dyno [test bed]," Binotto said. "In terms of performance, it has progressed well. Luckily we can have a completely new power-unit, otherwise we would be at a disadvantage.

"I think we will be back to be competitive as a power unit; we will not be the lowest in the field. That is the feeling I have got."

At the same time, however, the Ferrari boss admits it will be a big ask to fully overcome the problems which held the SF1000 back.

“We’ve got limitations in our development for next year, which is the token system,” he said.

“With only two tokens to play, we somehow have to try to address or modify the weaknesses of this year.

“But there are teams which, at the moment, are not limited by tokens. They’ve got free tokens, Racing Point and AlphaTauri. So those teams will have an advantage, a competitive advantage [compared] to us and other teams, in terms of the development, that we need to be fully aware of.

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“Then, other teams [McLaren] will change engine manufacturers and may have an upgrade in terms of engine power, which again we need to be aware of.

“So again the competitors will be very strong next year. But, as I said, I believe that we’ve got here in Maranello, a strong team and I fully trust that we can do a better job compared to what we did today [in Abu Dhabi].”

In terms of the front of the grid, Ferrari realises any suggestions of fighting Mercedes and Red Bull are likely too farfetched.

“I think we need to be realistic, the gap to the best team today is very big. I think obviously who won [this season] will be again very strong next year,” Binotto admitted.

“During the season, I don’t think they brought a lot of developments on track because they were certainly focused on 2021, so I’m expecting this team to be strong, very strong, again next year. I think there is no surprise.

“So to say that we can be back on track next year and to battle for the Championship would be unrealistic.”

Binotto also confirmed the 2021 car will simply be named the SF21, with a launch expected likely in early February.