Scuderia Ferrari director Mattia Binotto believes Mercedes could have won more races in 2022 had they had a better strategy because the German manufacturer’s team had the fastest car on the grid at the end of the season.
After a very difficult start to the year for Mercedes, the German manufacturer’s team managed to turn things around during the season and took a big step forward in terms of performance by introducing a major upgrade package to the W13 at the British Grand Prix in July.
Since then, the W13 has been much more competitive on the track and both drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have been able to score points on a regular basis, while Russell was able to secure his first pole position at Budapest in Hungary shortly before the summer break.
Mercedes got their strategy wrong
After the break, Mercedes continued to develop its car and made another major update to the W13 at the US Grand Prix in October. From that point on, the W13 clearly gained in performance, which would eventually lead Mercedes to success two races later when George Russell and Lewis Hamilton scored the team’s first one-two finish in 2022 at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
For the Ferrari boss, this result was not surprising as he believes Mercedes could have even won more Grands Prix at the end of the season if they had made the right choices in terms of strategy.
“It’s not surprising, because if I look at the last few races [before Abu Dhabi], maybe with a different tyre choice they would have won some races already. I think they just didn’t win because they didn’t make the right tyre choice,” said Binotto, interviewed just before the last race of the year.
“Their cars were the fastest, at least in the last few races, so it was no surprise to get there in Brazil. They brought a new package to Austin that I think worked well, and they were able to capitalise on that.”
In 2022, Scuderia Ferrari stopped development of its single-seater long before Mercedes and did not bring any more updates to the track in the last few races when Mercedes continued development of the W13 until very late in the season.
When asked if it was a risk taken by his team to stop developing the F1-75, the Swiss replied, “It wasn’t a choice, we were just at the budget ceiling.”
“We were at the ceiling, there was no more opportunity to develop the car, so we just stayed where we were.”
“But we didn’t compromise the development of next year’s car. We decided to stop [the development] of the current one, because in addition to the normal development you also have to produce parts to put on the track and that was extra costs we couldn’t afford.”
At the end of the 2022 campaign, Scuderia Ferrari managed to hold on to second place in the constructors’ world championship ahead of Mercedes, while Monaco’s Charles Leclerc finished runner-up in the 2022 world championship.