The 2022 Formula One season held much hope for Ferrari when with 3 races complete, Charles LeClerc held a 46 point lead over his Red Bull rival Max Verstappen. Yet with the upcoming Singapore GP and six races to go, Ferrari have been found wanting in every department. Max Verstappen needs to win in Singapore with the fastest lap and should LeClerc finish P8 or lower, the F1 drivers’ title will be retained by the Dutchman.
Given LeClerc has finished in the top 6 in every race he has completed this season, barring a Ferrari engine blow up it is likely Verstappen will have to wait until the following weekend in Japan to claim his title.
Helmut Marko concludes when speaking to ORF, “Our car has always improved, while Ferrari have shown technical deficiencies, along with driver errors, which has turned the gap into a comfortable advantage.”
Ferrari threw advantage away
“After three races we were 46 points back, and this gap was largely due to the excess weight of our car. The first retirement was actually caused by a measure put in to try and reduce the weight, while the second was due to a technical problem.
“When we reduced the weight, two or three kilos per race, we saw improvements, along with a development plan that was very intense.
“We focused on the front of the car. Max needs a car that he can attack with from the front, what happens with the rear isn’t of much interest.”
New Pirelli’s will give Verstappen an advantage
Pirelli have said they are developing tyres for the 2023 season which will improve the front end of the new ground effect F1 cars.
This will only play into Verstappen’s hands further together with Newey’s expertise on how to improve the ‘Venturi effect’ of the underfloor ground force.
In terms of whether Vertspapen claims the title in Singapore or Japan, Marko is languid.
“From a marketing perspective, it would be better to win the title in Japan given our partnership with Honda,” said Marko.
“We can assume that Max will become World Champion for a second time, it’s only a matter of time.”
Mercedes forlorn hunt for a win
Toto Wolff believes the Mercedes W13 will be in the hunt for its first win this season under he lights of the Marina Bay circuit, though his young driver George Russell is not so sure.
“Singapore could be interesting, but historically it’s a circuit where Mercedes have struggled a little bit, and we know at street circuits this year we haven’t fared so well.”
When asked which of the remaining 6 races he believed Mercedes had a genuine shout of winning, the Brit replied:
“[I’m] not too sure, there are no standouts that really spring to mind.
“I’d probably say maybe Austin. I think Austin could be a circuit that suits us better – but I truly don’t know.”
Should Mercedes F1 fail to win a race this season it will be the first time since 2011 the German manufacturer has completed a full year of racing winless.
Record breaking season for Hamilton and Mercedes
For Lewis Hamilton, if HE fails to win a race, this will be the first time since he debuted F1 in 2007 that he does not stand on the top step of the podium.
“I think as a team we’re making a huge amount of progress at the moment and understanding the car more and more,” Russell added.
“Hopefully as we develop the car further, we can take some further gains.”
Mercedes are still debating whether to return to the drawing board for their 2023 F1 car or to persist with the ‘no sidepod’ concept they presently now run.
Fernando Alonso the ̶F̶1̶ Taxi Driver 🚕 pic.twitter.com/QN8A8hs14q
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