Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says third place in the constructors championship is the minimum the team should aim for in the 2021 F1 season.

Formula 1’s most successful team struggled to sixth place last season, its worst finishing position for 40 years. Binotto expects them to rebound immediately.

“This team has been capable of finishing second in the past five years except once third,” he said. “So I think third is not fully impossible. And I think that should be at least our minimum objective for next season.”

However Binotto pointed out that development restrictions on cars for the new season could hand their rivals an advantage.

As a cost-saving measure, teams have been given a limited number of ‘tokens’ they can use to bring upgrades to their chassis for 2021. However teams which source parts from rivals, such as Aston Martin (formerly Racing Point) from Mercedes and AlphaTauri from Red Bull, can upgrade to 2020 specification parts without expending these tokens.

Binotto described the token system as a “limitation in our development” for the 2021 season.

“We’ve got only two tokens to play, trying to address and modify the weaknesses of this year. There are teams which at the moment are not limited by tokens, they’ve got free tokens – Racing Point or AlphaTauri. So those teams will have a competitive advantage to us and other teams, in terms of development, that we need to be fully aware of.”

McLaren, who finished third last season, do not have the same advantage, but will switch from Renault power units to Mercedes’ standard-setting V6 hyrbid turbos.

“Other teams will change engine manufacturers and may have an upgrade in terms of engine power which, again, we need to be aware of,” Binotto acknowledged.

“So the competitors will be, again, very strong next year. But as I said, I believe that we’ve got here in Maranello a strong team and I fully trust them that we can do a better job compared to what we did today.”

Finishing third will be a “difficult objective” for Ferrari, said Binotto. “But still, I believe that as a team at least, as a minimum objective, we should try to achieve it.”

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