Toto Wolff reckons Ferrari's development opportunities, as well as their early switch of focus to 2022, has made them a key team to watch as F1 gears up for a new era this season.
With huge regulation changes on the way for 2022, Ferrari sacrificed most of their 2021 development to switch focus to this year. This switch makes Ferrari the team with the most resources to have shifted focus so early, as Red Bull and Mercedes spent 2021 fighting for the World Championships.
With Ferrari also benefitting from more wind tunnel hours than their main rivals as a result of their poor 2020 season, Wolff said the signs are there that the Scuderia could be front-runners early on in 2022.
"We absolutely have to [assume] they will be in the mix next year, because they've had more aerodynamic development scope because they had a bad season last year [in 2020]," Wolff told the media, including RacingNews365.com.
"They are a great entity, they have all the resources that are needed and, therefore, we absolutely have them on the radar.
"Not only Ferrari, there's a few other teams which can do really well next year."
"2022 was top priority"
Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto explained that it made sense for his team to sacrifice development in 2021, given that the gap to the front-running teams was too big.
With the long-term gains a clear benefit over short-term development of the 2021 car, Binotto said the decision was a no-brainer in light of the budget cap restrictions introduced last season.
"Certainly we had a big budget, maybe not the biggest but, with the financial regulation and the budget cap, we had to cut some of the developments and to cut part of our organisation," Binotto explained to media, including RacingNews365.com.
"So when you've got a cap, you need to limit yourself. We identified the 2022 [car] as our top priority. So no compromises have been done in developing the 2022 car.
"The reason of putting 2022 as a top priority is quite obvious. It's a new era in terms of regulations and, more than that, I think that knowing that we are behind today in terms of team capacity compared to the best competitors is important for us to really try to focus on the future and try to do our best for whatever will be our medium- to long-term future, and that's why 2022 [was prioritised]."
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