The 2022 Formula One weekend was one of high drama for the most historic of Formula One teams. The Scuderia Ferrari dominated the weekend though a series of chaotic decisions saw them hand a certain Charles LeClerc win to Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.
Ferrari appears to struggle with its internal chain of command between the strategists, pit lane engineers and the driver.
This was epitomised on Saturday morning during the Practice 3 session.
Around the streets of Monaco the drivers rely more heavily on their team for traffic information than anywhere else on on the F1 calendar. The circuit is the shortest by some margin which serves to compress the high speed cars into a much smaller area. Add to that most corners are blind and the driver really has little idea what is going on around him.
Carlos Sainz had completed a qualification simulation lap and was moving slowly through the Rascasse penultimate corner. The Spaniard then impeded Lance Stroll as he came through to complete a quick lap.
The Ferrari driver was inevitably called to the stewards who issued a statement observing Sainz “almost came to a stop on the circuit.”
“This is unacceptable and hence the penalty of a reprimand is imposed,” they concluded.
Of note is that Sainz now has three reprimands this season and more for the Spaniard would see him suffer a 10 place grid drop.
However, the stewards were prompted to listen to the team radio and found there had been “a series of grossly incorrect messages, by radio, about the gaps to the cars behind” by Ferrari, who were criticised for telling their driver that no one was approaching him.”
The stewards continued, “It is unclear to the stewards why such misleading information was given to the driver, who was under the impression that there was no car immediately behind him,” they added.
“Due to the poor rear visibility at that part of the circuit, the driver was relying entirely on the team’s messages.”
Ferrari were fined 50,000 euros.
Sadly this was not the only example of Ferrari letting down their drivers. During the race LeClerc was told to “box”, a few seconds later his engineer screamed down the radio “stay out…stay out!!!!!”
But it was too late as LeClerc had entered the pit lane. On arriving at his pit box he saw Carlos Sainz was sitting there being serviced with a new set of tyres.
LeClerc had to wait and lost the lead of the race to Perez, the Monegasque driver ultimately finished off the podium in P4.
After the race, Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto accepted the team were to blame.
Well sort of.
“So there were a lot of situations that have not been in our favour. We’ve made the mistakes, I will take the blame and responsibility for that and we will improve. Overall, it has been a difficult race.”
Ferrari have garnished over the years a reputation for making silly mistakes and bad strategy calls and despite having a car capable of winning the championship, they must sort out the pit-lane chain of command if silly mistakes like this are not to be repeated again.