You know things are dire at Ferrari when they shoot off a press release headlined “A Bad Setback” as they did after the 2021 French Grand Prix, a forgettable day for the sport’s most famous team.
After reasonable weekends in Monaco and Baku, the harsh reality of Ferrari’s true form was cruelly exposed today at Paul Ricard Circuit, the SF21 badly affected by tyre-deg, simply a bad race car. Carlos Sainz was 11th and Charles Leclerc 16th a testament to that.
Ferrari reported after the race: “After the start, Carlos’ and Charles’ race pace seemed reasonable, but after a dozen or so laps, the tyres on the SF21 began to suffer with degradation, particularly on the front left.
“The same happened on the second stint which both drivers tackled on the Hard tyre, with it working for a few laps before the race pace gradually slowed. It meant that Carlos and Charles were easy prey for those behind.
“Even splitting the strategies did not work, with Charles making a second stop to take on another set of Mediums, while Carlos ran to the chequered flag without a further pit stop.”
Team boss Mattia Binotto summed up the day with a couple of paras: “A very difficult Sunday, which sees us go home empty-handed. Tyre performance severely affected our race today.
“It’s hard to accept, but we will learn from it, determined to move forward. Living through the experience of a race like this, can make you a stronger team.”
Sainz, better of the Ferrari pair all weekend, said afterwards: “It is clear that today we didn’t perform well and that we lacked pace. Since the very beginning, we really struggled with degradation and we carried that issue through the entire race, regardless of the compound.
“Despite my best efforts, it was impossible to hold our initial position. We must analyse what happened, understand the issue and try to address it. If there is a team capable of doing that, it’s this one,” added the Spaniard.
Leclerc also struggled to find positives: “It was a very difficult race today. Both Carlos and I struggled on the two compounds we ran.
“Towards the end, we made another stop for a fresh set of Mediums on my side, to see whether there was something we could do better.
“But it was the same as on the first stint: okay for three to four laps followed by heavy degradation. It is a big weakness and the main thing that we have to focus on now is understanding and improving for the future,” added Leclerc.