Ferrari's F1 2022 engine gains greatest for more than 25 years

Ferrari's engine gains for the 2022 Formula 1 season are the greatest it has managed in more than 25 years, according to team principal Mattia Binotto.

Ferrari's F1 2022 engine gains greatest for more than 25 years

Ferrari bounced back from two difficult years to return to race-winning form in 2022, scoring a 1-2 at the opening race in Bahrain and three further victories in the first half of the season.

A key factor in Ferrari's return to form has been its engine gains, which helped the team make up a big performance gap to the Mercedes, Honda and Renault-powered cars from the past couple of years.

While it was difficult to know just how good the F1-75 car was until the opening race of the season, the engine numbers coming out of Maranello indicated Ferrari had made a big step forward - beyond anything Binotto had seen before.

"We had some more clarity on the power unit, yes, because we knew where we were on the power unit, the regulations were consistent," Binotto told Motorsport.com in an interview.

"On the power unit, we set big numbers in terms of objectives. And what I've seen that we have been capable of developing during last season for 2022 on the power unit, in more than 25 years in Maranello, I never saw that.

"That's showing how much the team has been capable of delivering. So that was great on the power unit."

The step forward by Ferrari came after it was hamstrung for engine performance through 2020 after development was frozen in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic and the push to cut costs.

The impact was particularly clear in 2020, when Ferrari saw its form nosedive as it ailed to its worst championship finish in 40 years.

This was in part due to the FIA engine rule clampdown resulting from its investigation into Ferrari's 2019 power unit and a subsequent private settlement with the Italian marque.

Mattia Binotto, Team Principal, Ferrari

Mattia Binotto, Team Principal, Ferrari

Photo by: Alastair Staley / Motorsport Images

Although the gains made by Ferrari on its engine have been impressive this year, the team has also struggled at times with reliability. Charles Leclerc has twice retired from races while leading due to power unit issues, while teammate Carlos Sainz suffered an engine failure when running third in Austria.

Asked if the reliability issues were a result of pushing too far on performance for 2022 due to the development freeze, Binotto replied: "I don't know if it's pushing it too far, because pushing on performance is never enough.

"Certainly, we will put priority on performance rather than reliability. What does it mean? That maybe we were short on our homologation plan.

"More than that, as well on the power unit, like for the others, we have got restrictions on dyno hours. And those restrictions have been influencing the result, because in other periods with no restrictions, you will simply multiplied the effort on the dyno for both performance and reliability.

"So being limited by dyno hours, you need to make your own choice when it's September, October, November and December. And no doubt that we push the boundaries of the performance beyond what would have been a normal plan for reliability.

"But because we knew that it would have been important to recover the gap, then it could have been frozen for four seasons. Reliability can always be fixed later on."

Binotto felt the emergence of fresh issues at the track this season on its power unit was part of the normal process through a season.

"Experiencing failures at the race track that are not fully-known problems compared to the bench, but may be problems which are [arriving] simply because we are adding experience to a very green project," Binotto explained.

"With all the specificity of a race track compared to a bench you're simply learning the product. I think that could have been expected. I'm not completely surprised."

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