Everything was planned so that the 1000e 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 due to 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 Grands Prix are catastrophic. “We hope that the next one, which is an important date with the 1000e Grand Prix, will be a little better, but the car is certainly not where we would like it to be, "Scuderia chief Mattia Binotto has already warned. Even Toto Wolff, boss of the rival Mercedes team, laments that Ferrari is not up to the task of raising the interest of Grand Prix.
This is not the first time since its first Grand Prix that Ferrari has gone through a difficult patch. The only manufacturer to have taken part in every F1 world championship since 1950, however, it was not present for the first Grand Prix in Great Britain due to a grim history of starting bonuses. It was not until the next, in Monaco, that Enzo Ferrari set off his shiny cars.
However, it was not until 1952 for a driver to become 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 16 constructors' titles, the last in 2008, and 15 pilot titles, the last time with the Finnish Kimi Räikkönen in 2007.
While the famine has been going on for a dozen years now, Ferrari has rarely reached such a nadir. We have to go back to the early 1970s before the salutary arrival of Luca di Montezemolo as head of the Scuderia and Niki Lauda as a pilot, or to 1980 and 1981, the beginning of the era of turbocharged engines.
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 automotive 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%, going from 55 to 192 dollars.
But, since the departure of the magic trio of Michael Schumacher as driver, Jean Todt as team manager and Ross Brawn as engineer some 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. Team leaders followed one another, engineers too, but the red cars regularly had to bow to Red Bulls 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 tasked Mattia Binotto to remedy them. But this one, already stingy with smiles, takes more and more of 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 saved her from a "bronca" of anthology. And Sebastian Vettel, whose contract has not been renewed for 2021, unleashed a Parthian arrow, saying their absence "might be better." But at Mugello, even in small numbers, they will be there.