Ferrari’s strategy woes have cost the fastest car and two of the best drivers on the grid a shot at this year’s Formula 1 Title. Our man suggests there’s only one cure to stop a fish rotting from the head.
Earlier this week, Mattia Binotto suggested that Ferrari could win the rest of this year’s grand prix. WTF, I thought. What are you smoking now? Well, our Mattia and his ‘great’ management team has started that winning trot on the front foot, haven’t they? Yet the Ferrari F1 team boss remains totally defiant in the face of calamity.
Binotto: Our car was not performing today
“Certainly, today we did not have the performance we expected,” he blurted shortly after the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix, the latest in his hallowed team’s litany of shattering results.
“No matter which tyres we were using today, soft medium or hard, our car was not performing. Whether it was, maybe the weather conditions or whatever, it was the performance of the car for the first time in twelve races this season that was the problem,” Binotto claimed.
Odd that? Not five minutes earlier, Charles Leclerc explained: “Honestly the pace on my side… I was pretty happy.”
He was responding to a question in the interview pen, not fifty paces down the paddock, adding: “The only thing is it’s a pity that everyone will only remember the last part of the race, which was a disaster for me.”
Binotto believes otherwise: “The tyres did not work as we were expecting.” Oh. That’s odd?
“I said on the radio that I was very comfortable on the medium and that I wanted to go as long as possible on those tyres, because the feeling was good,” Leclerc admitted down in the pen. “But yeah, I don’t know why we took a different decision. 20 seconds in the pits, another six seconds sliding around on those tyres, yeah, that’s where we lost our race.”
For the record, Lewis Hamilton, the fastest man on track who also took the fastest lap point, went yellow-yellow-red, while Leclerc went yellow-yellow-white-red. And as Charles said, that hard rubber dalliance added 25 seconds to his losing margin, which just happened to be 16 seconds.
Leclerc: The feeling was good
Best of all, Ferrari’s boffins put Leclerc onto the same Hard tyres that both the Alpines and Kevin Magnussen had already most visibly proven to be rubbish. Even more alarming, Binotto admitted: “We knew it would take ten, maybe laps to heat them up.”
Turned out the Hard rubber was so rubbish, that Leclerc was pulled in a third time in a desperate attempt to rescue the day on a set of Soft reds with 15 laps to run. All that did was drop him all the way down to sixth.
So, who’s missing what? Some argue that Ferrari went onto whites because it did not have enough rubber to go around. If that is indeed what happened, it only shifts Ferrari’s culpability to earlier in the weekend. But why Leclerc was made to come in for hard rubber he clearly did not want, or even need? Where would he have ended up if he’d gone with his gut and run long on his second yellow set of Mediums?
Well, Red Bull’s Christian Horner wrapped that up best: “When we saw those whites come out, we knew we had it.”
He must have thought the same when the same genius Ferrari brains trust pulled Sainz out of a certain podium in France just two weeks ago. Never mind the litany of other fantastic Ferrari tactical fudge-ups so far this season. D’uh.
Ferrari quite simply cocked it up again in Hungary
So, despite its mighty leader’s prediction of winning the next ten races to steal the Title, Ferrari cocked it up again. And Max Verstappen and Red Bull stole the win in Hungary. Form Hamilton and Russell’s Mercs. Not a Red tear near the podium. For the second race in a row.
Worst of all, why is Mr. Binotto the only man in the world who sees it so differently? He stands fast, blaming a car that his lead driver was more than happy with for this latest Hungarian tragedy.
“The main reason we failed today was that the car was not working as expected,” he justified the team yet again so splendidly snatching yet another defeat from the jaws of victory.
Then he went on to praise the very people whom the rest of the planet is convinced are the root cause of lingering catastrophe at Scuderia Ferrari.
“Our strategy is good,” Mattia insisted immediately after the Hungary horror show. “Not only Iñaki (Ferrari chief strategist Rueda), but the whole team is doing great. We are supporting them because I trust them.”
Anyone else trust them? Doubt it. I don’t.
Ferrari has fastest car, great drivers. Pity about the tactics
Ferrari has plausibly the fastest car, and two of the best drivers on the grid. Nobody is arguing that. Leclerc was ‘comfortable’ and ‘very happy’ with the car; yet Mattia Binotto seemed convinced that the SF-75 was not working in Hungary.
Binotto says the Ferrari strategy team “is doing great”, yet Leclerc pulled no punches on strategy in Hungary saying: “That’s where we lost our race.”
To be blunt, Ferrari management is as blind to its internal issues, as its strategists are oblivious to what happens out on track. Some say it’s a disaster.
Red Mist disagrees. It’s a bloody well disgrace. The fish rots from the head. The only way to save the Ferrari fish is to sever that rotting head.