Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto believes the Scuderia is facing a crucial point in its development of a "brand new" power unit for 2022.
While the focus for next season is on F1's new aerodynamic rules, for the power unit manufacturers, it is the final opportunity to upgrade their engines ahead of a freeze and the arrival of a new PU from 2025.
For Ferrari, which has often lamented the power gap to its rivals over the last two years since being hit with technical directives at the end of 2019 that stifled its performance, Binotto knows his team cannot afford to still be languishing next year.
Claiming the development of the 2022 car "is progressing", with specific regard to the PU, Binotto added: "We are working a lot on the power unit that next year will be brand new in terms of, let me say, concept and design.
"So, for us, it will be important to make the most important step we can, knowing that we’ve still got a gap in terms of performance on the power unit. The objective is really to try to catch that disadvantage, to close it.
"That’s why on the engine, we are working very hard and that key moment where you still need to find performance but [also] to start fully homologating the reliability of the product for the next season."
Ferrari PU upgrades due "very soon"
Binotto is hoping some gains will be made at some stage over the closing races of this season as a number of upgrades are due to be made to the PU.
There is some suggestion they could be introduced as early as this weekend's race in Sochi, although Binotto was coy on the specific timing.
"We are working very hard to have them ready as soon as possible," added Binotto, who then explained some of the difficulties involved.
"It’s a change in technology on the hybrid side. In order to introduce them, we first need to transport the materials, and being dangerous materials, you need formal homologations and certifications for it.
"So it’s not only a matter of developing the hybrid system on the dynos and somehow prove their reliability but there are a lot of aspects that need to be addressed before having them available on track.
"At the moment, there is not a race that is decided. It will be as soon as possible because we believe running it as much as we can this season will be of interest for next season.
"So, hopefully, it will be in the next races and very soon."
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