Mattia Binotto believes that Ferrari are now a team better placed to fight for the F1 World Championship than they were during the Sebastian Vettel years.
The Italian team came close to winning the World Championship twice under the stewardship of former Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene, in both 2017 and 2018.
At the midway point of the 2017 season, Vettel was leading the title race having won four of the first 11 races. However, during the second half of the season, Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton were able to catch and pass.
In 2018, Vettel was once again ahead at the halfway stage, before Mercedes and Hamilton went on to win eight of the last 11 races, all while Ferrari managed to win only twice.
With Binotto now in charge, Ferrari have once again found themselves starting the season strongly, with Charles Leclerc counting a 20-point lead over rival Max Verstappen after the opening two rounds.
And the team have this time made clear the importance that developing their F1-75 could have in deciding the World Championship in 2022.
Binotto: We have improved our tools
Binotto has only been Team Principal at Ferrari since 2019, but has been a crucial part of the Maranello-based outfit since 1995.
In that time, he has seen Ferrari rise to the top, fall back to the midfield and now return to showing race-winning competitiveness.
Unlike in the period that saw Vettel come close to returning the title to Maranello, Binotto reckons Ferrari are now armed with improved tools to help ensure that they do not lose ground in the development race.
Those tools include their wind tunnel at Maranello, and a new and improved race simulator.
"I think that keeping up the level of development through a season is always a challenge, not only for us but for all the teams," explained Binotto, speaking to members of the media, including RacingNews365.com.
"But it's true as well that our competitors are very strong at that, and they've proven to be very strong, while Ferrari, [during] the last two opportunities we had in 2017 and 2018, lost a bit of ground through development.
"I think since then, as for our car design, we have improved our tools, which are [the] wind tunnel, methodologies, process and [the] simulator.
"I think that today we are much better prepared, compared to the past, to do the proper job, as well as in development."
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Binotto still has concerns about budget cap policing
With a budget cap now in place, Ferrari are facing a fresh challenge when it comes to development.
The team must plan their upgrades carefully, limited by how much they can spend to fix development mistakes.
Binotto has stated that he is up for the challenge, but has urged F1 to ensure that the spending of Ferrari's rivals is policed correctly.
"We need as well to add that, compared to the time, today we've got a budget cap, which will influence the rate of development. I think that's a key point, or a key element," he commented.
"You know my concerns, that we need to make sure that we've got the right policing on that, because it can be, let me say, a game-changer in the fight for developments."
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