After a very good start to the season, Ferrari was ultimately unable to compete with Red Bull. The Austrian team has a large lead in the Formula 1 constructors’ standings and the Scuderia is now only 35 points ahead of Mercedes. Mattia Binotto admitted that finishing third would be a failure for his team and announced big changes to come.
Beaten on home soil. In front of its fans, Ferrari was hoping to strike a blow last weekend at Monza, for the Italian Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc started from pole position but was unable to fight off Max Verstappen, who won for the fifth time in a row.
The Scuderia started well, but Red Bull is now in the lead in the constructors’ standings, while Mercedes is making a comeback.
Recent performances by Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have seen them move to within 35 points of Ferrari. Mattia Binatto admitted that finishing behind Mercedes would be a failure:
“It would be painful. To get there, with the way we have started the season, would prove that we have not been good enough to improve the car throughout the season. And that there have been too many mistakes. But we are ahead and our intentions are to stay ahead of them,”
This season, Ferrari has often been singled out for strategic mistakes. “During a race weekend you can always make mistakes,
“Red Bull makes them, Mercedes makes them. Being perfect is almost impossible, you have to make a decision on the pit wall, under pressure, but we have to be the best so that these mistakes are not so costly anymore,” admitted Mattia Binotto.
According to the Ferrari boss, his team does not need “to change people, but we certainly need to change some things.”
“The way we communicate, the way we enter the decision making process… changes are necessary, that’s admitted. Adding value may be necessary, adding people may be necessary. But changing people is not a path I want to follow, it’s an old way of approaching problems.”
Carlos Sainz has once again given his full support to the Ferrari team, which has been facing a lot of criticism from outside for its mistakes in race strategy.
Sainz believes the criticism of the Italian team’s mistakes is overblown, while the positives are ignored, just because it is Ferrari.
“I think it’s very difficult to make generalizations about areas where we should have been more courageous or more careful. I think you would need to pick them out one by one and analyse them independently,” said Carlos Sainz.
“I’m pretty sure that one by one, each result or each conclusion will be different. For me, it’s about continuous improvement and trying to continually find a way to make the right calls at the right time.”
“There have been many times throughout the year when we’ve made the right calls and no one has come up to us and said ‘oh, you made a good stop’, or will congratulate us on that. But on the other hand, when there have been two or three – we’ll call them bad stops – the criticism comes in about that.”
“I find it a bit more difficult at Ferrari, because when I was at McLaren, or Toro Rosso or Renault, when there was a big mistake in strategy, nobody would come and point it out and criticise you and bury you like they do with Ferrari. That’s a fact I think everyone can agree with. At Ferrari, everything seems bigger. The win is bigger, the mistake is bigger, and that’s just the way it is, it’s something I’m adapting to.”
After last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Scuderia Ferrari sits second in the constructors’ championship, 139 points behind Red Bull.