Mattia Binotto admits Ferrari's pace may have trailed off at the tail end of the season due to switching focus to the 2023 Formula 1 car.
After Mexico, where the Maranello-based team notably struggled and Mercedes was dominant Red Bull's main competitor, many wondered why that happened.
"It's unclear what is happening to Ferrari," former F1 driver Vitaly Petrov said.
"Perhaps they have just abandoned the development of the car, realising that they need to concentrate on next season. I think many teams have chosen a similar tactic. Perhaps Red Bull, too, as you can see that other teams have come closer to the leader in terms of speed."
Sights on 2023
Indeed, Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz confirmed that his sights are already firmly on 2023.
"It will be a new year, a new car, new rules for the floor. A new chance for us," said the Spaniard.
"This is a new opportunity for us. I believe that we will draw conclusions from the results of this season, and the team will build a great new car. I am ready to fight, and I look forward to progress from Mercedes too. It looks like they will join us in this battle."
Even Mercedes appears to confirm that it may be racing past Ferrari because the German team needed to develop the 2022 car for longer to understand the problems with the 'no sidepods' concept.
"We risked wasting a lot of resources, and not just financially, to understand why the concept seemed fast in the factory but didn't work on the track," a Mercedes engineer is quoted as saying.
"We wanted to fully understand the W13 to be able to work at full speed on a completely different W14."
As for Ferrari, team boss Mattia Binotto confirmed Petrov's suspicions about why the Italian outfit so notably struggled in Mexico.
"We know that we stopped development on our car quite early, focussing instead on 2023," he said.
"Somehow, I'm not too concerned by the rate of development because I know when we stopped developing. Mercedes have developed the car more than us while we stopped, so I'm not too worried about them. Surely there would have been more potential to be extracted, but there was not the financial availability of the budget cap to do it."