leclerc ferrari bahrain

Red Mist: So much for Ferrari and our ‘reliable’ car

leclerc ferrari bahrain

Twelve months on, Ferrari did not enjoy the type of one-two glory they had last year in Bahrain this time out but is that necessarily a bad thing?

In 1929 Irving Fisher, ‘the greatest economist the United States ever produced,’ predicted, “Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” Three days later, Wall Street crashed.

In 1946, studio executive Darryl F Zanuck forecast that, “Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. “People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” Yeah, right!

In 1999 Scientists promised the Millennium Bug would wipe out most computers. Y2K came and went. Like any other New Year.

In 2023 Ferrari predicted that its Formula 1 car would be reliable…

Reliability troubled Ferrari least

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If something troubled Tifosi least leading up to Sunday’s Bahrain F1 season opener, that was our reliability. Of course, a change of guard and heads rolling at Maranello was top of mind. But it was reliability that stole a reasonable result in Bahrain. Put us on the back foot.

“We never expected this,” Uncle Fred scowled. “We never had an issue in 7,000 km testing with the engine with all three teams last week. We never saw the same issue on the dyno either. And that even after the team swapped Leclerc’s power unit energy store before the race.

“It’s never good to start with a DNF, and I would have preferred to finish for sure,” Vasseur went on. I told the team two weeks ago, that the championship won’t be over in Bahrain. That this result would not matter. But we must be realistic. To improve, we need a clear picture, and our reliability is not where we need it. We must analyse and respond.”

Leclerc: I cannot say it feels good

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“I cannot say it feels good,” Charles Leclerc growled. “Obviously, there’s been a lot of work around reliability, but we must keep working. Our first reliability problem in the first race is not good. Leclerc however seemed more concerned about Ferrari’s race pace. Or at least, our lack of race pace.

Before we get to the race, however, there’s another little elephant we must first consider in the room.

“Red Bull’s quali pace is actually quite similar to us,” Leclerc offered. “At least we managed to extract the lap time on Saturday.”

Now hang on a second! Is Charles missing his last quali stint not all rather odd? Yeah, sure, virgin rubber gave him a place. Which was probably more to do with Perez’ crap start anyway. So, why squander a possible pole? That would have been epic! Especially considering what came.

Bugger reliability. Have Ferrari really fixed our strategy problems?

Sainz: Aston Martin F1 pace is 'very concerning' – Motorsport Week

Makes one wonder. Have we really sorted our strategy…?

Moving on: “Come the race, we were a second a lap off Red Bull, and that’s huge!” Charles rolled his eyes. “I was as confident as I could be, a second off the pace. That’s not really confident, to be honest. Red Bull found something really big in the race here and Aston Martin was also quick.

“I think third was possible, I had a bit of margin and I was managing it well in that last stint.” Happily, Charles closed off with a little sparkle in his eyes. “Bahrain is a very specific track, so let’s hope that this picture can change a little bit for the next race. “We cannot rely on that and we need to work and find something.”

Carols Sainz was understandably more concerned about Aston Martin’s pace. “It’s clear their cars have something, both Red Bull and Aston. Their tyres degrade a lot less. We have too much degradation, the tyres get too hot when we push, so we don’t have much margin in the race. It’s something we must look into, analyse and see what we can do.”

Fred: It’s not the car, it’s set-up

Vasseur: “No es la foto que queremos, pero es la realidad”

Ferrari team boss Vasseur sides with Leclerc: “I never saw a good car match the pace of another one in quali, and not be to able to race it. That tells me that it’s a matter of set-up and some choices on the car. “It’s not a matter of concept at all, so we don’t have worry too much about the car being wrong.”

“I would say that we are there on quali pace,” Vasseur concludes. “We matched Red Bull, at least in Bahrain, and that’s a positive point. If we want to win races, we need to have a clean sheet on the weekend and not small details there and there.”

All of which is fine. Fred may well have a point about Leclerc’s issue being unexpected. And another that unlocking our race pace is merely down to cracking the set-up. But then did Mercedes not think just that last year? And then carry its duff concept over? And look where they are now…

So it’s your lips to God’s ears, Monsieur Fred. Let’s hope that it’s just set-up after all. Either way, it’s far better to be searching for a little performance than being blessed with it in abundance and unable to deliver. Which is precisely where we sat this time last year. And look how that all panned out!

As  Fred suggests, “this championship will not be over in Bahrain.” Bring on Jeddah…