Ferrari learned "a lot of small, significant" things in 2020

Ferrari's sporting director Laurent Mekies claimed the Italian team has had "a lot of small, very significant achievements" during a troubled 2020 Formula 1 season, offering hope it can turn around its fortunes in 2021.

Ferrari learned "a lot of small, significant" things in 2020

In 2020 Ferrari endured its least competitive season in recent history. The Scuderia's sixth position in the constructors' championship was the team's worst result since 1980.

Drivers Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel could only manage a combined three podiums as the team suffered from a lack of both aerodynamic and engine performance with the SF1000.

While Ferrari has a chance to introduce an all-new power unit for the start of the 2021 season, the sport's cost-saving measures in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis mean that teams will have to continue using their current chassis next season.

Aerodynamic development is allowed, but further meaningful changes to the cars are subject to a restrictive token system.

Despite the more limited options to dramatically overhaul its car, Ferrari is confident is has learnt a lot of valuable lessons that will carry over into 2021.

"There were a lot of small, very significant achievements in the year, that were unnoticed because we were at the back," said sporting director Mekies, who was Ferrari's most senior staff member at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the absence of team principal Mattia Binotto.

"It's something that hopefully will make us stronger, and that we will carry on to the next year. 

"What we take from that is even in such hard time, in such globally difficult conditions, the way we have tried and pushed our limits.

"When you are back there, you are down to take more risk, drivers are taking more risk, the team takes more risk because that's what you have to do to get a good result.

"That sort of getting out of the comfort zone, if you can call it a comfort zone, certainly will make us stronger in the future."

Read Also:

Ferrari earlier announced it would use both development tokens to redesign the rear-end of the car in a bid to improve the synergy between the existing chassis and the latest development of the SF1000's aerodynamics.

The 2020 specification of the car proved to be a handful to drive compared to some of its rivals, with Leclerc and particularly the departing Sebastian Vettel often struggling to get to grips with their machines.

While Leclerc drove a strong season to finish eighth, Vettel ended his six-year Ferrari tenure with a disappointing 13th place in the drivers' standings.

Mekies explained that Ferrari realised early on that the 2020 season would be "extremely difficult", but that the compressed nature of the COVID-19 affected season meant it would take a very long time to rectify its issues.

"In Barcelona [winter testing] we quickly realised that we had serious concerns about some of aspects of the performance of the car," Mekies added.

"So we knew it was going to be very difficult. We didn't know yet at that time how long it was going to be for us to understand them fully, and even less to fix them.

"And then we went into that crazy situation, where we all jumped into COVID at that stage, and couldn't touch all problems of the car for a few months.

"I guess there were indications there that the season would be extremely difficult, as it turned out to be."

Additional reporting by Oleg Karpov

shares
comments

Related video

Alonso will have disadvantage on 2021 F1 return - Renault
Previous article

Alonso will have disadvantage on 2021 F1 return - Renault

Next article

Why criticism of F1’s latest controversial locale misses the point

Why criticism of F1’s latest controversial locale misses the point
Load comments
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Prime

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Prime

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Formula 1
Dec 4, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021