Damning report card for Ferrari’s car, engine, team, drivers: ‘Not enough’

Michelle Foster
The rear of Charles Leclerc-driven Ferrari SF-23. Australia April 2023

Ferrari believe they've resolved the SF-23's troubles with the 2024 SF-24.

With 26 points on the board and their title hopes in tatters, Viaplay analyst Allard Kalff has delivered a damning assessment of Ferrari and its drivers saying their start to the 2023 season is just “not enough”.

Although Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vignare spoke pre-season of a car of “unprecedented speed”, Ferrari’s SF-23 has shown anything but that as its lacking in both straight-line speed and cornering pace.

While Red Bull are on a hat-trick of race wins to begin the season, the Milton Keynes squad up to 123 points, Ferrari have yet to even reach the podium with the Scuderia scoring just 26 points.

Falling to fourth in the standings, Kalff believes the car, the team and the drivers have all fallen short this season.

Delivering his report card for the Italian stable, the Viaplay analyst told Motorsport.com: “Car not enough, engine not enough, team not enough and drivers not enough.”

“Although Sainz is the only one who I think performs properly,” he added. “He’s actually doing what I expect him to do, so that’s fine.”

Leclerc, though, is not with the Monégasque driver criticised for his “stupid” driver error at the Australian Grand Prix.

“Leclerc had engine trouble in Bahrain, he couldn’t help it,” Kalff said. “He then got a grid penalty [in Jeddah], but in Australia he just acted stupid. I thought that was a driver’s mistake.”

That Sunday, Leclerc, having lined up seventh on the grid having been out-qualified by Sainz for the first time in 2023, clashed with Lance Stroll at the start and retired his Ferrari in the gravel.

As for new team boss Fred Vasseur’s report, that too was “not enough”.

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“You could give Vasseur the benefit of the doubt,” Kalff added, “because I don’t really know what to judge him on. It’s also early in the season, of course.

“You don’t know what he can and can’t do. Can he fire people just like that, and does he have the support of the senior bosses of Ferrari? It is of course a bit of a guess.”

The Dutchman is perplexed by some of Ferrari’s recent personnel changes, and in some cases their decision not to fire people.

Last season the team finished second in both championships, their title quest undone by reliability issues and strategy blunders that saw them become the brunt of many jokes.

And yet it was only team boss Mattia Binotto who paid the price and lost his job, Ferrari retaining head of strategy Inaki Rueda although they have relegated him to the remote garage in Maranello with Ravin Jain now overseeing strategy directly at the racetrack.

“Those who made those decisions are still working there and the boss is gone,” Kalff said. “That is of course strange.

“It works like with a football coach: the coach is fired, but the players are not. You can put Vasseur there and then?

“He doesn’t build that engine. He has to manage people who, so to speak, already started with this year’s engine last April. What can you do if you don’t walk in until January 9?

“A lot of people would start again, but I don’t know who exactly you have to throw out either. Whether that is the solution, I don’t know either.

“You don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes but the fact that people have to leave is beyond dispute for me, because otherwise you will do the same thing and hope for a different result.”