Ferrari in the red – L’Orient Today


Multiple retirements, failed strategy, questionable reliability and now a penalty: after a dominating start, Ferrari was left behind by Red Bull in the third part of the F1 season and Charles Leclerc started at the back of the grid at the Canadian GP.

Party on Saturday, hangover on Sunday: this is a summary of Charles Leclerc’s last weekends. Author of the last four pole positions, the Monegasque has not converted any of these performances into Sunday victory. Worse, Leclerc had to retire twice (Spain and Azerbaijan) due to engine failure. With the podium lost at home in Monaco, the fault of an uninspired strategy, it’s starting to do a lot. Leclerc had started the season with two successes in three races and a 2nd place, while Max Verstappen experienced mechanical setbacks on his Red Bull (retirements in Bahrain and Australia). At the end of April, after four Grands Prix, the Monegasque was still a solid leader with 27 points ahead of Verstappen. Spring has passed, the roles have changed: Verstappen is 1st with 34 points ahead of Leclerc, demoted to 3rd behind the other Red Bull, that of Sergio Pérez.

As a result of Baku’s new breakage, the power unit deemed “irreparable” by the Scuderia had to be changed. Saturday, from the third free practice session, Leclerc had a new engine. The fourth – already – this season, beyond the quota of three authorized by the regulations each year. As a result, Leclerc was penalized and started from the back of the grid yesterday Sunday afternoon (very late at night in Lebanon). Ferrari was counting more this weekend on Carlos Sainz Jr, uneasy since the start of the season but second in Monaco, to try to prevent Verstappen from flying too far at the top of the championship. After Baku, Scuderia boss Mattia Binotto didn’t want to dramatize: “We weren’t euphoric at the start of the season, so we’re not going to be down now. »

Talking about a world title for Ferrari is tricky. The most successful team in history, the most popular too, has not won a driver’s title since 2007 and a manufacturer’s title since 2008. In 2020, the horse no longer reared: 6th in the world hierarchy, the reds were having their worst season in forty years. In 2021, the foundations for a rebirth have been laid, with a 3rd place behind the untouchable Mercedes and Red Bull. Above all, Ferrari was preparing its return behind the scenes: at the Maranello factory, where Mattia Binotto sometimes stayed on race weekends instead of coming to the track. The head already at 2022. “We pushed a lot during the winter to develop the car”, noted Binotto. The result is there. The performance is there, the Ferrari goes fast. But she doesn’t always see the checkered flag. “Reliability is always a factor, a key factor in the battle (for the title), just like performance,” he added.

The penalty of the weekend proved him right: the defects of reliability are paid dearly. “It is obvious that we are not in the best possible situation”, noted Leclerc Friday morning, when the sanction had not yet fallen. “It’s up to us to choose the best circuit” to take this penalty, he continued, explaining that Montreal was not a bad option because of the overtaking possibilities offered by the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit. “I think it was the best decision to make,” he confirmed on Saturday, once the decisions had been taken by Ferrari management. From everything behind, the strategy was new for the child of Monaco, subscriber to pole position this season (six in eight Grands Prix). Back up to better pitch up…

Olivier LEVRAULT/AFP

Multiple retirements, failed strategy, questionable reliability and now a penalty: after a dominating start, Ferrari was left behind by Red Bull a third of the F1 season and Charles Leclerc left at the back of the grid at the Canadian GP. of wood on Sunday: here is a summary of the last weekends of Charles Leclerc. Author of the last four pole…



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