Ferrari started off the F1 season hot. They since have struggled to capitalize, but who is to blame for it?
It is without a doubt that at the start of the 2022 Formula 1 season, Scuderia Ferrari was off to a red-hot start. With Charles Leclerc winning two of the first three races, including two double Ferrari podiums. Since then the defending World Champion, Max Verstappen, has won eight, starting with the second race of the season, of the season’s 13 races. Verstappen now holds an 80-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship and doesn’t look to be letting up anytime soon. So that begs the question, what happened to Ferrari?
The team has been in F1 for the entirety of the sport and holds the most Constructors’ World Championships. But this year’s edition does not look like the same Ferrari as when Enzo Ferrari (the team’s founder) was in charge. Ultimately, the drivers are responsible for the car when on the track, but the team is responsible for the strategy that helps the drivers win. This season, Ferrari has been holding its drivers (Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz) back with bad strategies.
The most obvious example of this to even the most casual viewer would be the strategy that was used at the Hungarian Grand Prix just before the summer break. Leclerc was brought into the pits late in the race and was put on the hardest of the tire compounds available. Even though the race had proven that the soft and medium compounds were the better option for the track conditions. That cost Leclerc the race, and potentially the Drivers’ Championship, as Verstappen took home the victory extending his lead. Even Leclerc himself was frustrated with the race result but didn’t go into much detail on the matter in his post-race interview.
Where does the Blame for Ferrari’s struggles fall?
In Formula 1, all the responsibility for the team’s performance falls on one person, the Team Principal, and for Ferrari that is Mattia Binotto. Binotto joined the team in 1997 but has moved up the latter and since 2019 has been Team Principal of Scuderia Ferrari. During that time, he watched Ferrari win countless races and saw one of the best drivers in history, Michael Schumacher, win multiple World Championships. But since taking control, Ferrari has sputtered in their attempt to get back to greatness. From a spectator’s point of view, Ferrari has the second fastest car on the 2022 grid but has continuously embarrassed itself on the track and lost winnable races due to bad strategy.
A team steeped in tradition, with such a strong history, Ferrari needs to make changes either now during the summer break or at the end of the season when Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing eventually win the World Championship. The first thing that needs to change is the firing of Binotto and Ignacio “Iñaki” Rueda, the chief strategist for Ferrari. Clearly, the team is not running at the highest level it should be, and it is time for them to make a change. If not, they run the risk of turning into F1’s New York Yankees, a team that has won more championships than anyone else but haven’t won anything in over a decade.