The Maranello outfit has been embroiled in a season-long battle for third with McLaren, but has pulled ahead of its British rival in the latter part of the campaign, especially thanks to the results in the last three races.
Ferrari is 39.5 points ahead of McLaren with just two races remaining after the Woking team managed to score just four points in the latest triple-header in Mexico, Brazil and Qatar.
But despite the progress made by Ferrari – which finished sixth in the standings last year with less than half the points it has scored in 2021 – Binotto insists the focus has been on developing its 2022 car for the introduction of new regulations.
“We never really developed the current car,” said Binotto. “We introduced a couple of developments at the very start of the season and that’s it.
“Except for the power unit later on but the power unit, again that was a development in view of 2022, so all our efforts from the very start of the season has always been the 2022 car, we never compromised it.
“So let’s say that it never came into our mind even to at some stage try to penalise 2022 at the benefit of 2021.
“We knew that we could have fight for the third place at the start of this season, we knew it could have been very tight but we knew that our main objective in 2021 was not third place but to try to improve in all the details as a team and third place has simply been an output of it.
“I think if today we are reaching third place it’s because the team, the way they are working at various weekends has certainly improved a lot since the start of the season and not because the car itself has developed,” he added.
Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
Binotto reckons that several factors outside of car and engine development have contributed to Ferrari taking a leap forward this season.
“I think the race team since the start of the season has made a lot of progress,” he said.
“It has made a lot of progress in terms of strategy, the way we manage, the communication with the drivers, the understanding of what we are doing. It has improved a lot in terms of tyre management.
“I think that the team since Paul Ricard developed a lot of small tools, methodologies to try to do it better.
He added: “If I look at where we were last year, sixth, with little points in the championship, I think we made the most of we could do with the current regulations and most of the car had also very limited opportunities of development as well about the car in 2021.
“So overall, I think that the team has made great progress with what was possible to do, and for that I am so happy because yes, the third position is a great output of the efforts.”
Additional reporting by Christian Nimmervoll