The bells of Maranello no longer ring. As if happiness was forbidden for Ferrari and its tifosi. As if the immense joy provided by Charles Leclerc’s two victories in three races had exhausted the quota of satisfactions allocated to the transalpine team for 2022. In Baku, Sunday afternoon, the Scuderia lived through hell despite a pole unhooked position masterfully the day before.
Hydraulic failure for Carlos Sainz, less engine for Charles Leclerc. Two dropouts. A first since the 2020 Italian Grand Prix. All that in 20 laps. Reliability questioned. A zero point that undermines the ambitions of the Italian team.
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And that’s not all: Kevin Magnussen’s Haas and Guanyu Zhou’s Alfa Romeo, two single-seaters powered by Ferrari, were stopped in their tracks. Four out of service cars in one race. A dark day. “Words are hard to findadmitted the Monegasque driver after extracting himself from his single-seater in a plume of smoke. I lost power without knowing what happened. The motivation is still there, but it hurts…”
The pill is hard to swallow for Leclerc, even if the first place in Azerbaijan seemed promised to one of the two Red Bulls, faster in a straight line. The performance is there for the one who has carried Ferrari on his shoulders since his arrival in 2019. Dominating in Bahrain and Melbourne, the representative of the Principality draws the quintessence of his SF-75 at each of his outings despite the popular pressure surrounding the renewal Italian.
Proof of this is that he stacks up the pole positions, overtaking Max Verstappen in the timed lap exercise this weekend. In the race, however, he cannot count on the support of his teammate, who is too often unhooked. Impossible for the transalpine engineers, therefore, to establish team strategies as their counterparts at Red Bull know so well.
Messy strategy, reliability issue…
If he has made few mistakes this season, with the exception of Imola, Leclerc still encounters embarrassing situations on Sundays. Especially since three innings. When the Italian engineers don’t scuttle themselves, it’s the car that acts up. First in Monaco two weeks ago, the bad choices of his team ruined his performance. Leading in Barcelona in early May, he threw in the towel with a mechanical problem. Rebelote in Baku, this Sunday. Before the abandonment, the idea of allowing the Monegasque to benefit from the free stop offered by the virtual safety car was nevertheless interesting. But his immobilization in the pits turned out to be too long (5.4).
Red Bull didn’t ask for that much. The Austrian team took the big points at stake, Sergio Pérez also picking up the fastest lap in the race. The observation is clear: since the Imola Grand Prix, Red Bull has gleaned 224 units against 95 for Ferrari.
“We were quick in the first part of the season, not reporting any reliability issues. Now it seems like we have a bit more, while we haven’t made any major changes. It’s hard to understand for the moment, we must analyze the why of the how”railed Leclerc, demoted to third place in the 2022 World Cup, at the microphone of Sky Sports.
Binotto asks for patience
Mattia Binotto has turned into a firefighter to defuse the situation. first for Sky Sports : “It’s a concern. Reliability is always a key factor in the battle. We pushed hard to develop the car over the winter, but we proved that we are not yet completely reliable. There is still work to be done. . We weren’t euphoric at the start of the season, we’re not giving up now.”
Before providing after-sales service for our colleagues at Canal+, indicating that the team must remain united, just like the pilots. “We are not going to dramatize. What happened is really a shame, we have to try to solve these problems, but we have done a good job to get here, and we will work as hard to become stronger. Sometimes you have to patience”, concluded the boss of the Scuderia. Which wanted to be reassuring about the abandonment of Zhou (Alfa Romeo), who would not be linked “to (our) components”.
Still overwhelmed by Red Bull, Ferrari seems to have stalled in the race for the drivers’ and constructors’ world titles, which have eluded them since 2007 (Kimi Räikkonen) and 2008 respectively. To make matters worse, the ninth round, contested at the other end of the world, in Montreal, is already pointing the tip of its nose. This promises a restless summer in Maranello…
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