Team Principal Mattia Binotto believes that Ferrari will gain only a minor advantage from F1's new wind tunnel regulations, which are designed to help under-performing teams.
This year saw the introduction of a wind tunnel handicap system, whereby the best-performing teams from the previous season spend less time in the wind tunnel compared to the worst-performing teams. Renault [now Alpine] finished fifth in the Constructors' Championship in 2020, meaning they are the 'base' team, and can spend 100 percent of the allotted time in the wind tunnel.
Based on last year's standings, Mercedes have 90 percent of the testing allocation, which translates to 36 runs in the wind tunnel per week. This increases by 2.5 percent on a position-by-position basis, all the way down to Williams, which has an allowance of 112.5% or 45 runs per week.
Ferrari, having finished sixth in 2020, are granted 12.5 percent more time in the wind tunnel than Mercedes this year, though Binotto is not expecting significant gains as a result.
“The wind tunnel, in terms of balance or performance, if we look at it obviously for the position we finished last year, we’ve got some more time at the wind tunnel,” Binotto told RacingNews365.com and other select members of the press.
“The extra time we’ve got is corresponding to what we call a ‘session’ at the wind tunnel on the entire season. So it’s an extra session and normally an expectation is a week of development.
"Normally a week of development is less than 0.1 seconds per lap. So yes, it's certainly an advantage, but it’s less than 0.1 seconds per lap.
"Still important, still happy to have it, not because of the result of last year, because it’s something we’ve got in 2021. But I don’t believe that’s a game-changer."
The extra time in the wind tunnel will be especially crucial for next year when F1 introduces a new set of technical regulations.
Binotto insists that Ferrari are focusing on themselves to try and improve in all areas, rather than looking at what other teams are doing, as they continue their fight with McLaren for third place in the Constructors' Championship.
"I think the objective is to try to improve more in all the areas," said Binotto. "To do that, I think if we're capable of doing that, we need to continue improving, [then] I think that the outcome will arrive [happen].
"Being third is certainly a possible objective, we are third at the moment equal points, but we are third. [The] other thing is that the team is doing well and we are improving so I think we can achieve third, that's no question.
"But I think it has to be [from] the simple consequence of the fact that we are improving in all of the areas."
Breaking down F1's new wind tunnel regulations
|Teams' previous season's championship position||Percentage of wind tunnel time allowed for 2021||Percentage of wind tunnel time allowed for 2022-25|
|10+ or new team||112.5%||115%|