Ferrari are struggling this season, and that’s putting it nicely. They have failed to get both cars into Q3 on both occasions so far this season, and if it wasn’t for some fortunate retirements up ahead the brilliant skill-set of Charles Leclerc, this could have been so much worse for the Scuderia. In fact, the only thing that seems to be going well for Ferrari this season is the success of their junior drivers in F2, although that might cause a few headaches when deciding who makes the step up to F1 if any.
If we go back to pre-season testing, Ferrari weren’t as dominate as they were the previous season, but as it was testing nobody really sat up and got worried. We all just assumed that they would have to remove the sandbags when the season got underway, and unless they have forgotten to do that, the car is not quick.
The three-teams that went slower in this year’s Austrian GP Qualifying than in the previous race at the Red Bull Ring all had one thing in common, the Ferrari engine in the back. Surely this must be a key reason for how slow the car is, and while going a second a lap slower isn’t something that sounds major, in Formula One that is the difference between winning and finishing last…well maybe just ahead of the Williams for now anyway.
One thing that is helping the Scuderia is their driver line-up. Charles Leclerc has been impressive so far in his short F1 career, but this season is struggling and the car is to blame for that. He dragged the car to second place in the opening race of the season, although he was helped by retirements ahead of him.
Sebastian Vettel is without a seat next season and he is looking like a driver that just doesn’t want to be racing in a Ferrari at the moment. He spun in the opening race before clashing with his team-mate Leclerc in the Styrian GP, causing both cars to pull into the pit lane and retire.
I think Ferrari announcing that Vettel would not be driving for the Scuderia next season has backfired for them. I think the idea there was to get him fired up and wanting to go out with a bang, which he is doing but not in the way Ferrari wanted.
As you can probably tell, I am not a technical expert, but someone who knows a lot more about how F1 cars work at least from an Aerodynamic perspective is Will Earle from Formula Podcast One. He recently hit 1000 subscribers on Youtube and has a brilliant video on his channel discussing why exactly Ferrari are struggling. You can check that out by clicking here.
Leclerc showed why he is the new number, one driver, for Ferrari after the Styrian GP for me, but obviously not with his on-track performance. He come out very quickly after the crash with Vettel and took responsibility. Although looking back at the incident it did appear to be his fault, I think he just wanted to own up and take blame to allow the team to move on and focus on improving the car.
Mattia Binotto isn’t helping things either by lying about the Vettel contract situation, who came out during the Austrian GP weekend and said that there was never an offer on the table for him.
It is pretty obvious that Vettel doesn’t want to be at Ferrari now and is just fulfilling what could be his last big F1 paycheck before he takes a step back from fighting for World Championships unless something dramatic happens over the next few weeks.
Leclerc needs to put a little more pressure on the team to improve. It is a scary thought of going to Ferrari bosses and asking for a faster car, but if he does I think he might just get a little more respect from the team and they might just be more willing into invest into upgrading this car, otherwise, it could be a long few seasons for the Scuderia and the Tiffosi.