The first three weekends of the 2022 Formula 1 season saw a dream start for Ferrari and their driver Charles Leclerc in particular. Then came Imola, where the wheels began to come off the Italian teams ambitions for championships.
The potential team error pitting LeClerc for tyres towards the end of the race and Charles subsequent spin costing him 3 places and 7 points were the headline story. Yet there were signs the underlining package of the car will struggle to compete with Red Bull Racing this season.
Tyre degradation was an issue all weekend for Ferrari and it could be that their powerful engine unit doesn’t have the drivability of the Red Bull.
It may be Ferrari can improve the engine mappings to prevent the torque surges that may be making their car harder on tyres than the Red Bull. But this would initially at least come at a cost in raw pace.
RBR are renown for their in season ability to out develop the others on the grid and Helmut Marko suggests the Milton Team has even quicker wins to improve their car.
“The simplest explanation is that the new cars with less downforce suit some drivers better than others,” he explained to F1-insider.com. Marko believes the evidence for this is in “Sergio Perez is much closer to Max than was the case in 2021”.
The implication here is Max hasn’t fully unlocked a driving style to suit the new car yet and should then be even quicker when he does. “His aggressive driving style doesn’t quite go together with the new cars”, claimed the Austrian racing consultant.
Quite simply, Max has lost 18 points twice this season due to reliability and without those DNF’s would be already ahead of LeClerc by now in the drivers’ championship after his grand slam in Imola.
When asked whether Ferrari would also be able to keep up with in season development, Marko told Sky Sports, “I don’t think so.”
In occlusion Ferrari may lose some pace to improve tyre wear, Max will adapt his driving and get more from the RBR as it is now and the pace of the in season development traditional in Milton Keynes are all worrying signs for Ferrari’s title hopes.