Ferrari wary of being ‘naive’ over their ambitions to oust Mercedes and Red Bull in 2022

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Ferrari say they have realistic 2022 expectations as they hope to close the gap to Mercedes and Red Bull, admitting it would be “naive” to think it would be easy to catch the front runners under F1’s radical technical regulations next season.

Despite a sharp turn of form in 2021, Ferrari failed to pick up any wins across the season but did manage to beat McLaren to third place in the Constructors’ Championship by 47.5 points thanks to two pole positions and five podiums from Carlos Sainz Jnr and Charles Leclerc.

This year, Formula One will finally introduce its new technical regulations, with new aerodynamic concepts and 18-inch tyres to contend with.

Mercedes and Red Bull were in a league of their own last season as the championship went down to the final lap of the final race of the season as Max Verstappen was crowned champion in a controversial end of the year.

The two top teams were adamant they weren’t just focusing on 2021, and the construction of their 2022 machinery was an equal priority.

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Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto sent a warning to Mercedes and Red Bull after talking up their developments ahead of the new season, but Laurent Mekies believes it would be naive to underestimate either team, with Lewis Hamilton set to challenge Verstappen for the title once again.

“I’m sure they had to develop this year,” Ferrari sporting director Mekies said. “However, they are in both cases incredible organisations, and it’s enough to look at the results to see it.

“Therefore, I would not underestimate for one second their capability to produce a great 2022 car.

“Yes, they had to spend more on 2021, but if you look at the results they have produced in the last 10 years, one and the other, you will need to be very naive to think that it’s going to be easy to close the gap.

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“So I believe that most of the teams have stopped development for 2021.

“But if they continue to push for 2021, that certainly is going to give them an advantage [this year].”

Mercedes ultimately missed out on the Drivers’ Championship but did pick up an eighth consecutive team title at the end of the year.

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