Posted on Sep 9, 2020 at 10:49 AMUpdated Sep 9, 2020 11:20 AM
Ferrari, a true synonym of motor racing, is KO standing when celebrating its 1000th Formula 1 Grand Prix on Sunday at the Mugello circuit (Italy).
However, everything was planned for it to be a beautiful celebration. An F1 Grand Prix organized for the occasion and for the first time on the Tuscan circuit, not far from its stronghold of Maranello, with even a few spectators while so far all the races this year have been held behind closed doors for cause of coronavirus.
But Ferrari seems to be on the mat: no car in the points at Spa, two withdrawals at Monza, the results of the last two Grand Prix are catastrophic. "We hope that the next one, which is an important date with the 1000th Grand Prix, will be a little better but the car is certainly not at the level where we would like it to be", has already warned the chef. from the Scuderia, Mattia Binotto.
Even Toto Wolff, the boss of the rival Mercedes team, regrets that Ferrari is not up to the level to raise the interest of the Grand Prix.
It is not the first time since its first Grand Prix that Ferrari has gone through a difficult period. The only manufacturer to have participated in all the F1 world championships since 1950, he was however not present for the first Grand Prix in Great Britain due to a dark history of starting bonuses. It was not until the next, in Monaco, that Enzo Ferrari had run his shiny cars.
However, it was not until 1952 that a pilot became world champion with the Italian Alberto Ascari and 1961 to see the Scuderia (stable in Italian) titled in the constructors' championship, created in 1958.
Since then, Ferrari has won sixteen manufacturer titles, the last in 2008, and 15 driver titles, the last time with Finland's Kimi Räikkönen in 2007.
If the famine has lasted for a dozen years now, Ferrari had however rarely reached such a nadir. We have to go back to the beginning of the 1970s before the salutary arrival of Luca di Montezemolo at the head of the Scuderia and Niki Lauda as pilot, or again in 1980 and 1981, at the beginning of the era of turbocharged engines.
– "RACE" –
Placed under the rule of its founder Enzo Ferrari until his death in 1988, the history of Ferrari is also closely linked to that of Fiat which had taken control to thwart Ford's aims at the end of the 1960s, a story told in the recent Hollywood hit "Le Mans 66".
If Ferrari is still under the control of the Italian automobile group, it acquired its financial independence by going public in 2015 under the acronym "RACE". Since then, its title has gained on the American electronic market Nasdaq some … 250% from 55 to 192 dollars.
But, since the departure of the magical trio made up of Michael Schumacher as driver, Jean Todt as team leader and Ross Brawn as engineer about fifteen years ago, the horse has struggled to rear.
Neither the Spaniard Fernando Alonso, who arrived with two world championship titles in his belt, nor the German Sebastian Vettel, who had four, managed to bring a title back to Ferrari, even if it sometimes did. took little. The team leaders followed one another, engineers too, but the red cars regularly had to bow to Red Bull at the start of the decade and then to Mercedes after the arrival of hybrid engines in 2014.
Fiat group boss John Elkann, however, is playing over time to return to the highest level in F1. In an interview at the end of July, he attributed the current poor performance to "structural weaknesses" and instructed Mattia Binotto to remedy them.
But this one, already stingy with smiles, takes more and more the head of a beaten dog at the end of the Grand Prix. At Monza, he didn't even bow to the traditional post-race press conference.
The absence of "tifosis" in the stands due to the coronavirus pandemic has certainly avoided a "bronca" of anthology. And Sebastian Vettel, whose contract has not been renewed for 2021, dropped a Parthian arrow, believing that their absence "was perhaps better". But at Mugello, even in small numbers, they will be there.