A year after Charles Leclerc’s victory in Italy, the Scuderia is going through an extremely delicate period, which leaves them little hope of shining again on their land.
September 8, 2019. After a fantastic race, Charles Leclerc won at Monza ahead of the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton. In front of thousands of tifosi in a trance, the Monegasque savored his happiness and his pride in having given Ferrari his first home success in nine long years. Not to say endless. “It's a dream for me, and in terms of emotions, it exceeds my first victory, he confided after his performance. Once the line was crossed, I expressed everything on the radio. I don't think anyone understood what I said but I felt so good. The podium was also a great moment, it was beyond my dreams. Seeing all these people gathered around a team, it's wonderful! ”
“You have to find something and react, because it cannot continue like this. But unfortunately I think in Monza it will be the same or even worse. "
A year later, smiles have completely disappeared in the Italian team. Leaving room for a dreary daily life. And if Leclerc continues to have his tongue hanging out on the radio, the vocabulary has changed a lot since the Monegasque released in Belgium last Sunday a "whore of his race" who did not go unnoticed, far from it. . But that sadly reflects the state of advanced decrepitude of a Scuderia now reduced to fighting for Q2. And who, supreme insult, finished behind the Alfa Romeo of former house driver Kimi Raikkönen on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, with an infamous one-two in 13th and 14th places. A result that Leclerc "does not see well at all", the Monegasque driver not hesitating to express his current discomfort at the microphone of Canal +: "I have no words, quite honestly after a race like that is not easy. You have to find something and react, because it cannot continue like this. But unfortunately I think in Monza it will be the same or even worse. "
A rare admission of helplessness for this 22-year-old who, after a very successful last season – two wins and a 4e place in the World Championship -, had managed to get the quintessence of his single-seater blower this year with two podiums. But in the last two races it has been zero points for Leclerc, also marked by the incredible episode of his first pit stop in Belgium, where he lost more than five seconds as his tires were simply not ready. A mistake unworthy of a Formula 2 team, so imagine when it comes to the all-powerful Scuderia. Between an engine that is sorely lacking in power and a chassis that presents the same weaknesses as last year, the Prancing Horse has lost all, or almost, of its splendor. This translates into a 5th place in the constructors' standings, with only two small points more than Renault, on a much better dynamic and which could of the Grand Prix of this Sunday at Monza (3.10 p.m.) to push back a further notch the Scuderia.
"We're disappointed and angry, as our fans must be, and they've got plenty."
At Spa, Mattia Binotto, its manager, did not shy away from this "difficult moment" that his team went through. “We're disappointed and angry, as our fans must be, and they've got plenty. We knew from the start that this season was going to be tough for us, but that's when you have to stay strong and look ahead, in order to overcome this situation. This is the only way to get out of it. ” But despite this observation, Binotto refuses to release the taboo word to Maranello: crisis. "I think it would be a mistake to use that term," he said. It was definitely a very bad result, but we knew it would happen. In addition, the evolution of the cars was frozen, so we were not able to develop it as we would like. We all shoulder this responsibility. Me, of course, as team manager, but everyone in Maranello too. We're all in the same boat, and even though it goes through a storm, we stick together. There is bitterness and frustration, but no tension. ”
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An opinion that engages only the one who expresses it, as the breakup seems consummated with a Sebastian Vettel who no longer even tries to pretend to be still involved. And even if he weighs his judgment, Toto Wolff, the boss of Mercedes, is also doubtful in front of the (immense) difficulties encountered by his traditional rivals: "Ferrari is an emblematic brand and it should run all in front of the grid . It’s not good for Formula 1, it’s not good for the competition in the lead. I sympathize a lot with all the tifosi and all the Ferrari employees for this lack of performance. At the end of the day, you have to question the priorities that have been set in recent times and ask where this lack of performance is coming from. " In the transalpine press, rumors are already rife to evoke an in-depth overhaul of the technical framework of the Scuderia, including the possible arrival of Andy Cowell, one of the designers of the Mercedes engine today. free. Unfortunately for the tifosi, however, there is little hope that the red cars will shine this weekend at Monza. The years go by and will not be alike….