F1: Binotto to skip more races in 2021

(GMM) Having remained at Maranello while the Formula 1 circus raced in Turkey, Mattia Binotto is set to skip more races.

“I will also miss the grands prix in Mexico and Brazil,” the Ferrari team boss told Italy’s Corriere della Sera.

“We are in a key phase of the 2022 project.”

Indeed, with his deputy Laurent Mekies stepping into his shoes in the Istanbul paddock, Binotto recently oversaw the introduction of a key 2022-spec engine upgrade that he says proved a success in both red cars.

Laurent Mekies credit: @Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Charles Leclerc, who was the first to get the new engine at Sochi, denied that the upgrade has proved to him that he was right to commit long-term to Ferrari.

“I have never had any doubts about the team,” he told Sky Italia.

“After 2020, which was a difficult year, we started working in the right direction,” the Monaco-born driver added.

“There are no miracles in Formula 1, and everyone is working to improve, but I have the impression that Ferrari is growing more than the other teams.”

And Leclerc agrees with his boss that the most important thing for Ferrari is to focus on preparing for the all-new 2022 regulations.

“In these six races we will certainly work hard to start the new era of Formula 1 in the best possible way,” he said.

“I’m focused on doing well with Ferrari so I’m not too interested in whether Hamilton or Verstappen wins the title.”

Laurent Mekies, who substituted for the absent Binotto in Turkey, is also happy with Ferrari’s progress.

“We had a really fast car in Turkey,” the Frenchman said.

“We came really close to Red Bull and Mercedes in terms of lap times and we would like to overtake McLaren for third in the championship. And with this speed, we will be able to do that.”