Inconsistent through one corner, never mind between them all, lost Ferrari has its Formula 1 work cut out to find its way back to relevancy after a disappointing Miami Grand Prix weekend.
Poor Charles Leclerc. He must look at his F1 career statistics and say, what the f…? Clearly he has the pace. 19 pole positions in 107 starts, versus Max’s 22 in 168 qualifying sessions. That’s a better average, no? But get to race wins and the whole thing just falls right apart. Max has won 38. Charles five. But is that the upshot of poor racecraft? Or is it just Ferrari’s mea culpa?
A win is a win
Look at it like this, Charles arrived a couple of seasons after he spent a year at Alfa Romeo and was bumped up to start his second season with the Scuderia. Max took a bit longer to be promoted but he won out the box when they put him in a Red Bull. Lucky perhaps. But a win is a win.
Max won twice more, including bumping Charles out of the way in Austria, but young Leclerc was soon on top of the podium at Spa, did the double at Monza and it all looked so good. Then, engine man Binotto’s team was caught cheating its fuel flow and signed a non-performance contract with the FIA.
Two years of Charles’ career were wasted just as Max really came on form, stole the Title from Lewis and he’s been pretty well peerless since. Except when Ferrari delivered a flash of glory early last year. And then slipped back to old habits, wasted a great car on mismanagement.
Little wonder he’s confused
And now we have a car that won’t even go corner to corner without changing, let alone accept a different tyre on one set-up. Little wonder Charles is trying too hard. Wouldn’t you? Let’s just say he’s confused…
“I spoke with Carlos and we are both struggling with consistency from the car,” Charles rues. “It’s not even from corner to corner. It just changes in the same corner! I can have a huge oversteer and then a huge understeer through the same turn. Our car is so wind-affected.”
And the wind blew at Miami. Even blew Max off on Saturday afternoon. So what chance did Charles have. “This year we have a car that is much more we are struggling with a far more wind sensitive car. So there is a lot of work going on that.
Lost Ferrari is even more confused
“On top of that, for some reason, I also had a lot of high speeds bottoming in the race. I can’t quite explain why because I didn’t have that yesterday. So we’ll have a look at in the data.
“It was the same on both the medium and hard tyre compounds, although once the graining cleared up a bit, the hards were a tiny bit better. “But we are just lacking pace and consistency and it has been similar since the beginning of the season as every race we never know what is going to happen when we go from one compound to the other
“We do not know how the car is going to react, and if the tyres are going to be in the right window. “This is just very difficult as a driver to gain the confidence and adapt your driving. Sometimes feel we’ve done a step forward and then we arrive at warmer races and now we are completely off. We need to work on that too.”
Fred: We cannot put everything together
“Overall it was a tough weekend and a tough race on Sunday because on Saturday I think the pace was decent,” Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur added. “But we are not able to put everything together.
“Today again, the first stint went pretty well for Carlos. He lost a couple of seconds in the first third of the race, and then lost 25 seconds in the last two-thirds. For Charles it was the opposite, he was in a good shape at some stages of the second stint with hards, because he was struggling much more on the first part of the race.
“Charles is also stronger on the hards, but Carlos is much better on the mediums and even the same tyres are inconsistent from one lap to the next. We are far too inconsistent from one car and from one lap to the other. We have to understand why and really focus attention on this because that is key for us to do a step.”
Is there a cure for our car’s psychotic behaviour?
Poor Charles. He must wonder what he has to do. If it wasn’t Binotto selling his soul, and our credibility, to the FIA in exchange for his good name, he then stuffed it up again when he jumped ship at a critical moment. Sure, there were ructions around that, but while they know what the symptom is, Ferrari is yet to find a cure for its inconsistent SF-23.
The updates are coming, they say. Let’s just hope that there actually is a cure for our car’s psychotic behaviour. It’s painful enough as it is…