There is no tougher place to be in Formula One when things are not going well for a team than in Italy. The media are ruthless when the team doesn’t perform and La Stampa are owned by the Agneli family who were close friends of Enzo and invested in the Maranello team. The press in Italy have forced heads to roll in bygone times and after the disastrous result at the 2022 Hungarian team, Ferrari’s PR team will be bunkered down.
Not only are the Italian media obsessed with Ferrari but it’s fans known as the tifosi live and breath daily the successes and failures of their team.
Interestingly tifosi literally means those infected by typhus disease, its a reference to someone acting in a fevered manner.
Headlines on the newspaper back pages today include, “This man [LeClerc] deserves more,” “Ferrari disaster, Vertstappen masterpiece,” “Red disaster” and “LeClerc is wasted on Ferrari”.
Long standing F1 writer Fulvio Solms for Corriere dello Sport is particularly scathing.
“The wave of enthusiasm on which the entire Ferrari team was surfing, dreaming of an irresistible end of the season, has been completely shattered. It should never have happened at the Hungaroring, but it did. Right there, on the friendly circuit that requires a key quality of Ferrari – aerodynamic downforce.”
Solms continues that the Ferrari drivers having suffered reliability problems and strategy melt downs “will take with them a long and bitter book of errors to read,” on their summer break.
Fulvio continues likening Ferrari’s race weekend in Hungary as a “Caporetto”. The battle of Caporetto was a famous defeat for the Italians who were forced to retreat; like Napoleon’s Waterloo.
Such was the utter capitulation of Ferrari whose car had been way quickest all weekend Solms believes,
“The Dutchman [Max Verstappen has now] secured his second title with nine races to go.”
Ferrari have cost Charles LeClerc 108 points this season which would see him now 28 clear of Max Verstappen. Comfortably leading in Spain a blown engine was 25 points. Strategy errors in Monaco again saw LeClerc drop from P1 to P4 – 17 points.
Leading in Baku another engine failure saw another 25 points gone and subsequent engine penalties in Canada cost another 15 points.
Failing to pit LeClerc from the lead behind the safety car in Silverstone cost him another 13 points and had Charles been allowed to use the Hamilton strategy in Hungary he would have surely won – 17 points.
The Italian journalist mocks Ferrari noting that the ‘terrible’ Mercedes W13 with all its problems this season is no just 30 points behind Ferrari who are languishing 97 points behind the constructors Red Bull Racing.
He turns to the decision to fit the hard tyres on Charles LeClerc’s car on lap 39. The team only had soft tyres or hard tyres to offer and by bringing a flying LeClerc in too early this meant the softs would not go to the end of the race.
A scathing Solms pens, ”On the hard it was like running 100 meters in [high] heels,” as LeClerc was easily passed by Verstappen and Perez.
He notes the confusion over the pit radio,
Solms concludes, “The ground has collapsed under Ferrari’s feet, convinced that it had the best car in the World Championship.
“But it is time to close the dream book and return to the original objectives: to be competitive in each race. After the summer break, on August 28 in Belgium it will be difficult, because the two F1-75 cars will take penalties and start from the back of the grid. We therefore look to races that will arrive later, or perhaps even next year.”
The good news – or less worst news – is the Italian media are not calling for heads to roll yet. It appears Mattia Binotto has favour in the press and having set his stall out to just “be competitive” this year, for now he is getting the benefit of the doubt.
Monza is just 3 races away and it doesn’t look good for Ferrari who will perform before the tifosi. The lower downforce and higher top speed Red Bull RB18 is set to dominate proceedings at the Cathedral of Speed.