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Ferrari "sharpened" by McLaren 'world championship fight'

Ferrari "sharpened" by McLaren 'world championship fight'

Ferrari "sharpened" by McLaren 'world championship fight'

Ferrari "sharpened" by McLaren 'world championship fight'
Sam Hall & Ian Parkes

Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies has revealed a simulated championship fight with McLaren last year was "good training" for the future.

Ferrari and McLaren fought over third place in the constructors' standings last year with the Scuderia bouncing back from its worst campaign since 1980.

Although ending the year 290 points behind champions Mercedes, Ferrari made the most of its battle with rivals McLaren to ensure it is ready when it once again finds itself in the championship picture.

Asked in an end-of-season media briefing including GPFans if the battle had "sharpened" Ferrari in battle, Mekies said: “I think it did. At first, we started the season with the McLaren being a bit faster than us in more situations. 

"They have opened a good gap at the championship and then, in parallel to that, we are in that unique situation, certainly for Ferrari where there is no development from early on.

“We really, certainly trackside and also Maranello-side, as far as the support is concerned, we really focused on how we could use that year to become sharper and develop as a race team and to develop our tools and so on.

“So yes, it did become our world championship for last year. It's a very good team to fight against. They got some fantastic moments. They won Monza. They could have won Sochi.

“They are very, very competitive. They are also in a very good dynamic themselves so it was a good challenge."

Aside from the poor performance of its car in 2020, the Ferrari pit wall had also been criticised for a number of questionable strategic decisions.

Mekies agreed that this aspect too had been improved by Ferrari's duel with McLaren across the last 12 months.

“Yes, it was a challenge where you needed to make less mistakes than them," he added. 

"You need to put more of these small designs together if you want to beat them. So, it was ultimately the same thing as what's happening for the top two positions.

“It's the same dynamic. The points lost cost you the same. Therefore, it was good training for the team.”

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