Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has expressed his 'relief' the Scuderia is finally competitive again courtesy of its new power unit.
The team endured a painful 2020 as it registered its worst result for 40 years, mainly as a result of being stymied with its PU after falling foul of technical directives issued at the end of 2019 relating to fuel flow and oil burning.
Freed from the freeze on development last year as F1 fought to save costs in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ferrari's new engine was unleashed across the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, and it did not disappoint.
Leclerc, in particular, qualified fourth, although only managed sixth at the flag, while Carlos Sainz started and finished eighth.
Such a result is in stark contrast to the fact former driver Sebastian Vettel and Leclerc qualified 11th and 12th respectively in last year's corresponding race four months' previously en route to finishing 13th and 10th.
"The car behaved as expected," said Binotto. "From winter testing, we knew we had a better car than last year, no doubt, relative to the competitors.
"Certainly the power unit has improved and we are happy to see that as well for Alfa Romeo and Haas with their progress. I think on our side, we progressed in all the areas that were possible.
“The aero is certainly better in terms of behaviour and correlations. But the power unit, the car overall, where it was possible to make improvements we tried to do them.
“And I think it’s an entire package. So I will not really speak in areas, it’s the entire package which now is better, and that's enough.”
Asked whether he was relieved with the performance of the power unit, Binotto replied: “Yes, I feel relieved certainly because [it means] we may work in a better position and that’s healthy for the team.
"It’s important that the team can work in healthy conditions, staying calm and positive, and that for me was important.
“So seeing the car that has progressed with the team in serenity, let me say, we can work in an even better manner."
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