The 2022 Formula One season has exposed significant weaknesses within the Ferrari race team and leads to almost race by race criticism of poor decisions the strategy division are making. Last weekend’s Dutch GP was no exception. While the strategy team could be forgiven for pitting LeClerc the lap before a Virtual Safety car was deployed by race control it was notable that Red Bull waited to see the outcome of the Tsunoda incident and reaped the reward a lap after the Monegasque driver made his stop.
Yet again the team made simple mistakes which former Mercedes F1 world champion, Nico Rosberg criticised heavily.
“Oh my goodness,” Rosberg declared. “Mattia Binotto keeps saying ‘no no now don’t need to make any changes. Everything is going well.”
At Carlos Sainz’ first pit stop he arrived at the box only to find his rear left tyre was missing. The stop cost the Ferrari driver over 12 seconds and he dropped from P3 to P11.
“I mean, when is the day coming. It’s not possible [to deny changes are required]. I mean even Formula 2 teams or Formula 3 teams do a better job at their strategy and pit stops than Ferrari.”
“You arrive at the pit and there’s no tyre there?,” an exasperated Rosberg remarked.
“At some point they really need to start making some changes.”
Sainz was then released into the path of an Alpine for which he received a 5 second penalty added to his race time. This dropped the Spaniard several positions in the final classification to P8.
Rosberg believes Binotto himself is part of the problem as he explains.
“One of the things people often say is that Binotto is a technician and so you could suggest they need a joint leadership team with one being the technician and one being the business manager.”
“In any case he needs to be making some personnel changes there right now because it’s just going wrong too much.”
When we’re commentating we’re just waiting for it to happen because we know there’s a next mistake coming from Ferrari soon – and that’s not good. So they do need to make some fundamental changes in personnel and how people are working together,” concluded Nico.
Ferrari also left a wheel gun out in the pit lane which Sergio Perez ran over, though no action was taken by the stewards.
Mattia Binotto was told of Rosberg’s comments and reacted angrily.
“First, I think it is so easy to speak when you are outside [of the paddock]. It is easy to criticise,” said Italian in a dismissive fashion.
“But we will not change people – that is my answer to Rosberg. We have got great people and it has been proven that what is more important in sport is stability and that we make sure we are improving day-by-day and race-by-race.
“We have got great people in the team and I have no doubt on that. It takes years and experience for all teams to be at the front, and I think there is no reason why it should be different for ourselves.”
The reality is Ferrari don’t appear to be improving in fact the litany of errors at the Dutch GP was even greater than at previous races.
The Ferrari boss did admit Saint was called in ‘too late” for the mechanics to react and have his tyres ready though he refuses to criticise his team.
Yet in reality it was only one tyre missing for Sainz car, the other three were fitted as soon as he stopped.
The most likely explanation was that when the tyres were loaded into the blankets, the left rear tyre was different from the others. As Ted Kravitz later observed.
“All the tyres are kept in a set, they’re all on a shelf and the engineers and mechanics know exactly which set is going to be used next.”
“When one [mechanic] takes a tyre our [of the blankets] they all take them out together.”
So in reality the mechanic for the rear left has opened the tyre blanket and realised the tyre is the wrong one. He then hunts the right one down which costs Sainz over a 12 second delay.
What is really concerning is Binotto doesn’t either know this or is not telling the truth to protect his team.
In one short week, Ferrari are going to be under the most fierce spot light of the season for the Maranello team. Their home race in Monza.
Let’s hope for Binotto’s sake he can get on top of the errors, because the Tifosi will take no prisoners if Ferrari throw away a home win with silly mistakes.