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Winds of change blow through Maranello

Reports in Italy confirm that winds of change are blowing through Maranello as Ferrari restructure their engineering department amid a hugely disappointing start to the season, which has turned into a Mercedes walkover with the Reds powerless to reel them in.

Post-Barcelona testing the Scuderia were upbeat until reality sank at the season opener in which they were soundly trounced. Ditto the next four rounds.

Granted in Monaco, Sebastian Vettel broke the Mercedes streak of one-twos, but it was a fortuitous podium, and only as a result of the pitlane clash between Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen.

With turmoil on track, it appears upheavals are also taking place behind the scenes as performance engineers Alessandro Cinelli (aero) and Giacomo Tortora (chassis and tyres) are no longer in the posts they once held. Who will replace them is unknown at this point. Watch this space…

Team boss Mattia Binotto is on record saying that the Ferrari he leads is a new team, still growing into the role as title challengers. Hence more changes can be expected as the new man in charge lays the foundations for the future of the team.

“We need to optimise our performance, both on and off the track. I don’t fool myself, the situation is not easy but, I believe it is possible to catch Mercedes. I say we are not far away from our goal. The gap is not as big as it looks between victory and defeat.”

“The problem is not just to identify the problems, but to find a solution,” ventured the team chief.

Prior to their golden era in the noughties, Ferrari also went through a rebuilding process, which Binotto acknowledged, “I recognise parallels to the time around 1995-1996. That was before Ferrari became so successful.”

“At the time we also had to go through a learning and development process. Like today. There was the super package we all know about, but not yet.”

“It’s like today. Stability is important. Understanding the car and its technology. It was a maturing process. That gives me and everyone else at Ferrari hope for the future,” he added.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Ferrari bosses John Elkann and Louis Camilleri have approved an extra budget to completely redesign the front suspension of the SF90, bearing in mind that little has changed on their system for a couple of seasons while Red Bull and Mercedes have evolved their suspension systems.

The Monaco result flattered the Reds, but Binotto was big enough to admit, “The updates we brought were not enough.”

Meanwhile, after six rounds the stats are stark for Ferrari and their tifosi: no wins this season; they trail Mercedes by 118 points; in the drivers’ standings Hamilton leads third-placed Vettel by 55 points – time is fast running out for the Reds.

Big Question: Can Ferrari close the gap to Mercedes this season?

Monaco Qualifying: Hamilton on pole as Ferrari trip up