When It Rains It Pours - Ferrari's 2022 Season Continues to Unravel
Just as it seemed Ferrari was making a comeback, they once again shot themselves in the foot...
Courtesy - Scuderia Ferrari
The heat in the South of France has seemed to have gotten the better of Ferrari as they had a disaster of a Sunday at the French Grand Prix. After what seemed like the beginning of a comeback fight after two wins in a row, Ferrari have once again shot themselves in the foot in more ways then one as they had to watch Max Verstappen take his 7th win in 12 races. It was a devastating day for Charles Leclerc who looked poised for another victory after taking his 16th pole of his career but a costly error saw his day end in the barriers. It was another race day full of errors and indecisiveness from the team that has highlighted not only the story of Ferrari's 2022 season but a systemic problem in their team dating back at least a decade. In a case of 'when it rains it pours', Ferrari's 2022 championship challenge continues to unravel just as we reach the summer break. But just how many mistakes have the drivers and team made that is allowing Red Bull to run away with both titles?
The French GP Disaster
Courtesy - RACEFANS.net
Ferrari were already on the backfoot heading into the Grand Prix as Carlos Sainz started from the back of the grid thanks to his engine penalties. Despite good team execution to get Leclerc on pole, Ferrari's solid teamwork would end there as their race on Sunday was a total disaster. With Leclerc fending off a quick Verstappen for the first 15 laps of the race, the Dutchman boxed for a fresh set of hards as overtaking on the first stint wouldn't be possible. It looked good at this point for Leclerc and Ferrari as they survived the Red Bull onslaught and Carlos Sainz was cutting his way through the field. But then a shocking spin on Lap 18 saw Leclerc go into the barriers and his race was over before he knew it. The frustration and heartbreak was evident on his team radio and was reminiscent of another Ferrari driver who crashed out of the lead... Following the race, Leclerc confirmed that the mistake was 100% his and not a result of a throttle issue that also plagued him in Austria. "There’s no point of performing at a very high level if then I do those mistakes, Leclerc said. So at the end of the year we will count back and if there are 32 points missing then I know it’s coming from me and I did not deserve to win the championship."
Now Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto was quick post race to put the throttle issue rumors to bed as he said; "There was no issue with the throttle itself, nothing to do with Austria, what happened is a genuine mistake of Charles, which I think may happen." We'll leave it up to you to decide what really happened but in the end it doesn't change the result of the race. If that wasn't bad enough, Ferrari's day somehow got worse as they made life difficult for the other Ferrari of Carlos Sainz. During the safety car period caused by his teammate, Sainz was hit with a 5 second penalty for a unsafe release after a slow stop from the team. In a comical radio exchange that Sainz surely wasn't fond of, the team even got the penalty wrong that Sainz himself had to correct them on while in the cockpit of the car. Engineer: “So you have 5 second stop and go penalty for unsafe release” Sainz: “It’s not stop and go!" Despite the penalty, Sainz's pace was strong and a top five finished or more seemed possible. But the poor communication and indecisiveness of Ferrari shined once again as the team had to go through the full alphabet of strategies to figure out what they wanted to do. The embarrassing scenes culminated with the team asking Sainz to box while in the middle of a wheel to wheel fight with Sergio Perez. All in all, the Ferrari strategy with Sainz might've been the right call as he finish P5 but the way in which he did it is not representative of what a championship team should look like.
Ferrari's Self-Inflicted 2022 Wounds
Courtesy - RACEFANS.net
Remember back to the start of this year when Ferrari turned up with a world beater of a car that seemed unbeatable by their unreliable Red Bull rivals? Well since Imola, their has been a long list of self inflicted errors that see Ferrari in a serious points gap to Red Bull. So let's take a look at just how many errors have cost Ferrari points up until the French Grand Prix.
In Australia, Carlos Sainz crashed out on his own
At Imola, Charles Leclerc spun while pushing too hard to overtake Perez while Sainz was taken out on lap 1 after a collision with Ricciardo.
Then came the first DNF in Spain as Leclerc's MGU-H and Turbo failed while dominating the race out in front.
Monaco was a low light for the local hero as poor Ferrari strategy resulted in Leclerc going from P1 to P4.
Then came the lowest of lows in Azerbaijan as both cars failed to finish the race thanks to mechanical failures seeing Red Bull take a one-two in the process.
Because of the Baku failure, Leclerc had to start the Canadian Grand Prix from the back of the grid and only salvaging a P5 on Sunday.
Although Carlos Sainz won his first ever Grand Prix at the British Grand Prix, it wasn't without drama after having to override his team on strategy and take his own route to victory.
And Austria was no picnic either as Sainz's car burst into flames as he looked set for a podium while a throttle issue complicated the end of Leclerc's eventual win.
That brings us to current times at the French Grand Prix as Leclerc's mistake and Ferrari's blunders have them in the spotlight again for all the wrong reasons.
As things stand, Charles Leclerc has a 63 point deficit to Max Verstappen while Ferrari is 82 points adrift of Red Bull in the Constructor's. It's a painful reality that is slowly setting in for the Tifosi that 2022 might not be the year after all. We've repeatedly said that there is still plenty of time left to cut the gap down and while that is still true, Ferrari continue to trip over themselves in a manner that is quite puzzling to even the most loyal of Ferrari fans. It's a team at the moment that doesn't look very confident in themselves and it's quite a shame as the F1-75 is quite the quick Formula 1 car. Ferrari needs a dramatic turnaround and it needs to happen quickly. The good news is that the next race is just in a few days time so they have a chance to right this wrong as we head into the break. The question is, with Red Bull and Verstappen firing on all cylinders, is it too little to late for Leclerc and Ferrari in 2022?