"This page is not working. " Trying to log onto the official Scuderia Ferrari website is to realize that nothing, absolutely nothing is going on at the moment with the Italian team. From its website to its abysmal performances on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
The enraged radio message from Charles Leclerc – which you will forgive us for not transcribing here – at the exit of an excessively long pit stop, thus allowing the Alfa Romeo to Kimi Raikkonen to overtake it, symbolizes the last nightmarish weekend experienced by Ferraris at the Belgian Grand Prix.
"I do not live this situation well"
Already on the street in the third free practice session on Saturday morning, Sebastien Vettel pointing in last position and Charles Leclerc just a little higher (17th), the red cars had come out of Q1 in qualifying at the last minute to settle in 13th (Leclerc) and 14th (Vettel) position on the starting grid. At the end of the Sunday race, the positions were only reversed between the two drivers. The worst results for the Italian team this season excluding withdrawals. "I do not see this situation well. It is really not pleasant at all. I have no words after such a race. It is not easy. It can't go on like this"Leclerc railed at Canal +. Ferrari is indeed one of the only four teams not to have taken a point from two different Grand Prix. The other three? The bottom of the basket: Williams, Alfa Romeo and Haas.
It was on this Spa-Francorchamps circuit, however, that Ferrari had achieved its best results last season and Charles Leclerc pocketed his first Formula 1 success before continuing the following week at Monza, at home. But what could have changed for the Prancing Horse over the past year?
An engine lacking power
Its engine already. A major asset of last season, which is moreover in circuits where top speed is decisive as in Belgium or Italy, the Ferrari engine has lost its splendor. The craft impressed observers. Or made doubters doubtful, depending on. The secret agreement reached at the start of the 2020 season between the Scuderia and the International Automobile Federation has not helped. On the contrary, doubts have since been confirmed since since this sealed deal, the Ferrari engine has stopped moving forward. It is the only car that has not improved its time on the Spa-Francorchamps track compared to last year. Worse, she lost more than a second on the lap. "We suffered a little more than usual this weekend, on a circuit that does not really suit our car, confirmed Sebastian Vettel on Canal +. We were clearly slower. "
Also equipped with a Ferrari engine, Haas and Alfa Romeo were struggling. "You don't have to be a mathematician or Einstein to see that the Ferrari engines are behind", reacted after qualifying Romain Grosjean, the meaning of the formula always very sharp.
To improve its performance on the track, Ferrari then made a few adjustments to regain some top speed in the chassis. Mattia Binotto, boss of the transalpine team describes the consequences: "We're having trouble getting the tires to work. We lack grip, whether under braking or accelerating. " One way to avoid the main problem: the engine.
The boss of the team, Mattia Binotto, in the hot seat?
Mattia Binotto's hours seem numbered at the head of the Prancing Horse, as the historic Formula 1 team cannot be satisfied with such poor results: 5e currently in the constructors' championship. "The whole team is responsible, me first as the team managerBinotto admitted. Am i the right person (to lead the team)? It’s not for me to answer. "If Ferrari has all the same won two podiums this season, it owes them above all to the driving skills of Charles Leclerc. But the nightmare should continue this weekend, at Monza, since the layout strongly resembles that of Spa -Francorchamps and gives pride of place to top speed. "Unfortunately at Monza, it should be the same, if not worse", already feared Charles Leclerc at the microphone of Canal +, last Sunday.
The absence of the home crowd and therefore the scuderia Ferrari tifosi that will race at home seems to be the only good news for the team. Even if it means being humiliated, you might as well be sheltered from pitying looks. Ferrari executives even felt compelled to apologize to their fans in a statement. "At times like this, we need our fans more than ever. Thank you to all of you who stay with us ", could we read there.
Back in points at the Grand Prix of Tuscany?
"I hope that from Mugello we can see the light of day again", slips Charles Leclerc on Canal +. For the first Grand Prix of Tuscany – where for the first time this season the public will be allowed, the Ferrari will find a circuit that suits it more. In any case, it will be difficult to do worse than this Spa – Monza sequence. But the frozen settlement for next year does not encourage confidence. It will certainly be necessary to wait until 2022 before seeing Ferrari again in the place which is normally his. "I hope by the time I arrive they will have made some progress", worried Carlos Sainz, McLaren driver and future replacement for Sebastian Vettel next season. "I am well aware that I must help the team to build a great future, Charles Leclerc confided on the official Formula 1 website. I am very motivated to bring Ferrari back to the top. "
It is obvious to everyone that Formula 1 more than needs a Ferrari to take center stage. The Italian team, the oldest in F1 with Alfa Romeo, is the best showcase for its sport, the most famous brand associated with the single-seater. It is still necessary that the performances are at the expected level.