This is not a Ferrari bashing exercise! Quite the contrary, I really want them to succeed this year. In fact, they have to succeed this year and not in 202-whatever that the team has set as the goal to return to the top.
Unfortunately, that is out of their hands it seems, so for the purpose of this piece, we are going to assume that they find that magic button or handbrake that produced the Ferrari SF1000, arguably their worst car ever.
This is a clean canvas for the new year. No doubt it is a great honour for drivers to don the red suits of the Scuderia but, now more than ever, they too have a huge responsibility on their hands.
For 2021, they have banked on two Charlies – Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz – to spearhead their next era; the youngest and least experienced line-up in a very long time.
Team principal Mattia Binotto plucked Sainz from a resurgent McLaren, the Spaniard, a proper “smooth-operator” is already winning hearts and minds at Maranello.
I believe he is going to surprise many people, especially those who think he is going there to play second fiddle. The Tifosi have a good young man they will count on and, I predict, grow to love.
In the other car, there is the prodigious Charles, so ripe and ready to start delivering and winning. Every Ferrarista loves the Monaco Kid and rightfully so.
He made mincemeat of hapless Sebastian Vettel, who departed 43 Via Alfredo Dino Ferrari, with his tail firmly between his legs as the team’s homegrown Young Gun outmuscled him on sheer performance. Seb had to go because a Lewis Hamilton v Nico Rosberg style feud was happening.
What does that all mean?
Binotto’s team has to deliver, another year in doldrums will only help extinguish the exuberance of youth. Trust me, Ferrari at the wrong end of the grid – as they were last year – will be a massive blow for their highly capable drivers.
We need Michael Schumacher’s in Red, not the red of Jean Alesi whose career might have been a lot better had Ferrari provided him with decent cars. From where I sit, the parallels emerging between the career’s of Alesi and Leclerc are quite startling.
The latter deserves a lot better; Binotto and the team have to ensure that their drivers are given the weapons to go to war, taking a knife to the gunfight won’t suffice. Mercedes will murder them yet again.
With a half-decent car, expect Charles and Carlos to shine, anything less and there are two sparkling careers at stake. Not just any career, but that of two of the sport’s most exciting talents, earmarked for the great things I dream for them.
That being, the Red cars battling it with the mighty Mercs and the persistent Bulls. Anything less is not only another year of misery for the Tifosi but also a disservice to their two Charlies, who we expect and deserve to be racing at the front – 247!