Image: Wikimedia Commons / Lukas Raich
Image: Wikimedia Commons / Lukas Raich

Ferrari’s road to recovery will be long, slow and painful

After a double retirement at Monza, and a no-points finish at Spa, it’s safe to say Ferrari are in an extremely rough position. Their second consecutive non-scoring race means they are now a lowly sixth in the Constructor’s Championship.

This was the first time since 1995 that the Scuderia failed to finish at their home Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel found himself starting 17th after being knocked-out in Q1, and retired from the race due to a brake failure. Charles Leclerc lost the rear of the SF1000 at Parabolica, causing a heavy crash, prompting a red-flag. This led to the race being halted temporarily, and was arguably responsible for Gasly’s win.

The fact that the other Italian team, Alpha Tauri, won at the Temple of Speed is even more embarrassing for Ferrari, who couldn’t bring any of their cars home. Team Principle Mattia Binotto stated, “We knew that Monza would have been difficult after Spa, but not finishing a race, it’s even worse.

Sebastian Vettel even went to say it was a “blessing” the Tifosi weren’t at the track on Sunday.

Ferrari show no signs of immediately bouncing back. So, now what?

Vettel is leaving the team after the season, perhaps both parties have lost interest?

The reasons for their troubles, apart from a clear lack of straight-line speed, are numerous. For starters, strategy decisions are not up-to par, with Vettel complaining to the team at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after they pitted him into heavy traffic and on the ‘wrong’ tyres.

At qualifying ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, the four-time World Champion didn’t say anything via radio regarding his car’s set-up. This lousy attitude from team and driver is a significant factor contributing to their slump. Vettel is leaving the team after the season, so perhaps both parties have lost interest?

Leclerc is trying his best, but poor engine speed is letting him down. He no longer races Hamilton and Verstappen, but Albon and Kvyat. Silly strategy decisions continue to affect him, and, as former Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg emphasised, “the Ferrari is very difficult to drive.”

Carlos Sainz, due to drive for the Italian outfit next season remains optimistic. After securing second place with McLaren at Monza, he remarked: “What I’m sure is today, if there would have been Tifosi there, they would have been pretty happy and proud and that makes me excited about the future.”

So, how do Ferrari go back to the top of the grid?

Ferrari experienced a two-decade title drought in the ’80s and ’90s

In July, the team made structural changes to their technical operations in an effort to produce improved results. The idea was to simplify the chain of command and provide the heads of each department with more powers to achieve their objectives.

A turnaround is definitely possible; Ferrari have done it before. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, Ferrari experienced a two-decade title drought. After securing just two wins between 1991 and 1995, the Italian outfit convinced Michael Schumacher, Ross Brawn and Rory Bryne to join them. While it would take another five years to turn the tide, the prancing horse was on the rise. History was then made at the turn of the century.

Company president John Elkann said earlier this summer that the team aren’t likely to be challenging for wins until the next major rules overhaul in 2022. Binotto, meanwhile, has stated that the title project will require “patience” and could take “many years”.

But we can’t count them out. After all, they are Ferrari.

The most successful F1 team celebrate their 1000th race at Mugello next Sunday. Binotto has said the team “must not give up.” The Tuscan Grand Prix offers Ferrari a better chance of finishing in the points than last weekend.

Ferrari also have the advantage of being the only team to have recently run at Mugello, hopefully the extra data they have will come in handy.

During Ferrari’s crisis, F1 has had some new drivers on the podium, which is refreshing for the sport. The Scuderia’s decline is painful to watch; as Bernie Ecclestone said: “Formula 1 is Ferrari, and Ferrari is Formula 1.”

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