Ferrari: Drag and power no longer 'a disadvantage' for SF21

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Ferrari believe that gains achieved in terms of engine power and drag on its VF21 imply that its car will no longer be at a disadvantage on long straights relative to its rivals.

A down-on-power engine weighed significantly on the Scuderia's performance in 2020, a weakness which left all Ferrari-powered cars - including Haas and Alfa Romeo - endlessly struggling for straight-line speed.

But the Scuderia's power deficiency was compounded by the SF1000's inadequate aerodynamics over the course of the season, forcing a major rethink by the Italian outfit for 2021.

Ferrari's engine department in Maranello has worked hard to produce an all-new and improved unit. Healthy gains were registered during dyno testing, and team boss Mattia Binotto says the improvements have so far been validated on the track.

"Obviously we know how the engine is running on the dyno," said Binotto in Bahrain.

"When you fit it on the car what you may have a look at on track is the speed and eventually the relative speed to the others.

"When we were here last year in Bahrain for the race and for qualifying we’ve been very slow here on the straights – we didn’t enter into Q3 and we were very distant from pole.

"Now if I look at the first days I think at least on the straights the speed is alright. It doesn’t seem to be such a disadvantage as it was last year."

But the Scuderia boss also pointed to optimized aerodynamics on its new SF21 that have led to progress overall.

"We know it’s not only power, it’s the drag of the car as well – as we often said last year – but let me say that both of them contributed in improving our speed on the straights and today we feel it is not anymore a disadvantage."

So far in pre-season testing, Ferrari hasn't delivered any headline lap times, but Binotto nevertheless underscored the "smooth" sessions enjoyed by the team in Bahrain.

"We knew that with only three days it would be very busy and very intense – it has been very busy and intense," he said. "I think so far it has run smoothly.

"The main priority was certainly to understand the car behaviour, mapping in all the conditions, and that is where we focused our energy. I think so far we collected a lot of data."

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