Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto expects reliability to play a key part in deciding who is crowned F1 World Champion this season.
His team's driver, Charles Leclerc, is currently leading the way in the Drivers' standings by 34 points following his dominant display at the Australian Grand Prix.
Leclerc took pole position, the fastest lap, F1's Driver of the Day accolade and led every tour on his way to victory.
However, the man billed as his closest title rival, Max Verstappen, was dealt another setback when he was forced to retire his car due to a mechanical issue for the second time in three races.
That blow has left Verstappen trailing Leclerc by 46 points as he looks to defend his title, a margin so great that six consecutive race wins could prove not enough to wrestle his way back into the lead.
Binotto: To be first, first you need to finish
Speaking after the race in Melbourne, Red Bull boss Christian Horner claimed that he would "rather fix a fast car than try and make a reliable, slow one fast", suggesting that he felt his team were still in a stronger position than the reliable but off-pace Mercedes at this stage of the campaign.
Silver Arrows driver George Russell argued the opposite, though, when he told Sky Sports F1: "It doesn't matter how fast the car is, if you don't make it to the end then you're not there to pick up the pieces."
Binotto has positioned himself somewhere between those two points of view, arguing that, while reliability is key, car trouble could strike any team at any moment.
"Reliability is part of the performance. I think you need to be [reliable]. To finish first, first you need to finish. Reliability is a key element of performance itself," Binotto told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"But not finishing races is part of the job, [part of] of the game."
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Reliability has been a "high priority" for Ferrari
During the season's opening three races, Ferrari have suffered only one retirement, with Carlos Sainz having cited driver error, not reliability, for his DNF in Australia.
For Binotto, reliability has been a "high priority" throughout the build process of their 2022 car - and the results of their hard work are now showing on track.
"It's something on which we are always keeping as a really high priority," Binotto explained.
"At the end of the championship, will that be a key factor? Certainly, it will be, as the overall performance is a key factor.
"I think all the elements need to be in place, properly in place, to win a championship."
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RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Mike Seymour and Thomas Maher look back over the Australian Grand Prix, where Ferrari's Charles Leclerc triumphed and Red Bull's Max Verstappen retired.