The first-ever Tuscan Grand Prix on Sunday, at the Ferrari owned Mugello circuit, was the occasion of the famous team’s 1000th race in Formula 1.
A celebration of the Scuderia’s legacy at the highest level, festivities were planned a year or so ago, long before Ferrari took a freefall, in performance under team principal Mattia Binotto, which sees them at their worst level in the top flight in 70 years.
Although it was a double points score for the Reds on Sunday, it was a meagre haul for eighth for the place of Charles Leclerc and the solitary point Sebastian Vettel bagged, on a day in which almost half the field was eliminated.
If Mugello on Sunday was supposed to be a grand party for Ferrari, they opted to stay in the kitchen (almost out of sight) while Mercedes were kings of the dance-floor, at the home of their rivals, they stole the show.
It must have been an awkward weekend for the Reds, celebrating their history – which includes 31 F1 world titles, 237 Grand Prix victories and over 760 podiums in their 1000 starts – while on the same occasion as the team toiled with the inadequate Ferrari SF1000 and overshadowing all good intentions of the event.
Of course, the harsh reality of his team’s plight did not go unnoticed by Binotto when he summed up the weekend in Tuscany, “A very disappointing result brings to an end an historic weekend for Scuderia Ferrari at our home track, Mugello, with our one-thousandth Formula 1 Grand Prix.”
During qualifying a day earlier, Leclerc dug deep to qualify fifth albeit 1.1 seconds shy of the top time but, in the race, the Ferrari number one was passed down the straight several times and powerless he slipped down the order to eighth place on a day in which eight cars did not make the finish.
Binotto continued, “While [Saturday], at least with Charles we managed to get a result in line with our expectations, today we didn’t have the pace to allow our drivers to fight with their nearest rivals, suffering especially with tyre degradation.
“Both Charles and Sebastian did the best they could, given the performance level of the car. We are working hard to try and correct its basic faults, but it’s not something that can be done in a short space of time, nor with a few updates.
“That doesn’t mean we won’t be bringing new solutions between now and the end of the season, but we have to be realistic with ourselves and with our fans,” added the Italian team boss, whose engineers so far have only delivered updates that have a little or negative effect on their troublesome car.
Departing Tuscany, the championship standings do not look good for Ferrari, after nine rounds, they lie sixth in the F1 constructors’ championship on 66 points, 259 behind Mercedes at the top on 325 points.