Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is still unsure when it will be possible to deploy its final 2021 Formula 1 power unit upgrades given “there are a lot of aspects that need to be addressed” beyond completing the development and reliability work.
While the homologation of each of the various power unit components can only be upgraded once per year, there’s no obligation for this to be done for the start of the season. Ferrari has continued to use some 2020 components while working on this upgrade after upgrading only part of its package at the start of the year.
Binotto described the changes as “on the hybrid side” although has not confirmed exactly which elements remain to be homologated in 2021.
Because it is related to the hybrid, Binotto said that there are also safety and certification issues to be tackled to allow the new parts to be transported.
“We are working very hard to have them ready as soon as possible,” said Binotto when asked by The Race about the schedule for the introduction of the new components.
“It’s a change in technology on the hybrid side, so in order to introduce them, we first [need] to transport the materials.
“And being dangerous materials, you need full homologations and certifications for it. So it’s not only a matter of developing the hybrid system at the dynos and to prove their reliability but there are a lot of aspects that need to be addressed before you have them available on track.”
It is expected that the changes will offer an immediate performance boost, although both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz are close to getting grid penalties depending on what elements are changed. Both do have their second energy store available, with this likely to be among the components that are upgraded.
But while Binotto cannot say when they will be introduced, it will be done as soon as possible given the significance for 2022 power unit development.
“At the moment there is not a race which is decided,” said Binotto.
“It will be as soon as possible because we believe that running it as much as we can this season will be of interest for the next season.
“So hopefully it will be in the next races and very soon.”
Ferrari has taken an ambitious approach to its 2022 power unit package, although it will not introduce the split turbo concept used by Mercedes and Honda that will also be adopted by Renault next year.
Instead, it has taken an aggressive approach with its ERS design and combustion technology, which it is hoped will give it a big step forward in performance in time for the homologation being frozen for 2022 and beyond.