It doesn’t take a detailed knowledge of the Formula One paddock to know that all is not well at Ferrari. The team are fourth in the constructors’ title race but an astonishing 199 points behind Red Bull after just eight 2023 events.
The Scuderia averaged a podium each race during the first eight events of their 2022 campaign yet this season Charles Leclerc’s third in Azerbaijan is the only trophy the Scuderia have managed to lay their hands on.
New Ferrari boss fails to ‘get a grip’
Despite sacking Mattia Binotto the team’s principal for failing to get a grip on his poorly run ship, the appointment of Fred Vasseur appears to failed miserably for now.
Binotto and Ferrari’s star driver Charles Leclerc did not always see eye to eye as the Monegasque would speak his mind to the media in the minutes following a disappointing qualifying or race.
At the 2022 British Grand Prix Leclerc was leading the race but Ferrari failed to pit him under the safety car. His competitors all stopped for fresh rubber and the inevitable occurred at the race restart.
Leclerc was swarmed and eventually managed to cling on to fourth.
Leclerc kicks off in Silverstone
Having expressed his disappointment at yet another Ferrari strategy blunder to the media, the Monegasque driver was captured on TV being given a dressing down by Binotto who was wagging his finger.
Charles is a ‘heart on the sleeve’ kind of guy and he has again been expressing his disappointment at the performance of the Scuderia this season.
The latest blunder from Ferrari occurred last time out in Canada when during qualifying two the track was drying and Leclerc called for slick tyres to replace his ageing intermediates.
The team refused his request and told Leclerc Verstappen was fitting intermediate tyres as the justification.
Scuderia radio reveals rift
However, Verstappen had a banker lap set and was certain to move forward to the pole position shootout. Predictably, a number of drivers who fitted the dry tyres went quicker than Leclerc and he finished qualifying in P11.
When discovering he was outside the top ten Charles screamed over pit radio, “COME ON!!” at the team.
Ex-F1 driver Ralph Schumacher believes there Ferrari drivers are clearly at odds with the rest of the team for a variety of reasons.
“I also don’t like the radio communication at Ferrari, since Sainz and Leclerc are yelling quite often. It gives the impression that drivers and engineers are at odds with each other. Ferrari should change that,” the German observed.
Ferraro boss puts down Leclerc
Fred Vasseur was forced to intervene following cutting remarks in Canada from Leclerc following the disastrous qualifying session suggesting his driver “put himself in our shoes.”
Yet Ferrari have been making poor strategy calls since Leclerc joined the team in 2019 something ex-team boss Peter Windsor believes is mentally draining for Charles.
Windsor believes the Monegasque drivers time should be over with Ferrari given he will be in his prime when the contract to drive for the Scuderia expires at the end of next season.
“You can always do a better job,” an under fire Vasseur told media in Montreal. Yet went out of his way to suggest Leclerc keep his thoughts to himself immediately after a race of disappointing qualifying session.
Ferrari did poor job says Vasseur
“But it is true that the picture you have 10 seconds after quali is not always the best one,” the Ferrari boss added.
“We had a good discussion with Charles and gave him the global picture of the situation during the session.
“The confusion came from the fact he didn’t get the global picture of quali and we probably have some areas that he has to put himself in our shoes sometimes.
“We can’t say that we did a good job, the pace was bigger and finishing 11th means something went wrong,” the Frenchman reluctantly admitted.
Is Ferrari boss too laid back?
Vasseur was Leclerc’s first team boss when he arrived in Formula One at Sauber. However his laid back style appears to do nothing to prevent Leclerc and Sainz on occasions from lambasting the team for the sub standard efforts.
Is this the start of yet another Ferrari ‘civil war’? Or has it already broken out behind the scenes?
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— MoneyGram Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) June 25, 2023