Damon Hill lambasts faltering Ferrari: ‘They need a long, hard look at themselves’

Henry Valantine
Charles Leclerc with his hands to his visor. Ferrari Canada June 2023

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc with his hands to his visor. Canada June 2023

Damon Hill believes Ferrari need a “good, long, hard look at themselves” after another strategy error in the Canadian Grand Prix weekend.

Charles Leclerc was heavily critical of Ferrari after the team moved him onto dry tyres too late in qualifying, which ultimately stopped him from getting into Q3 and left him with an uphill task in the race on Sunday.

This left him with frank words for his team after the session, saying: “When the track is so dry and we are staying on the inter tyres, we are not making our life any easier.

“So, we will, again, discuss with the team but we need to do a step forward now because it’s not the first time that it happens. We are quite often on the wrong side of making those decisions in those tricky situations.”

Ferrari have quite often come in for criticism for how they handle race weekends on the pit wall, and when presented with this most recent example, 1996 World Champion Hill believes it’s another example of a wider “malaise” within the team that needs addressing.

With that, a strong figurehead is needed at the top of the team, with boss Fred Vasseur having been in place since the beginning of the year following the resignation of Mattia Binotto.

“They need to have a good, long, hard look at themselves, or someone does,” Hill told Express Sport.

“It just seems this is the malaise that they perennially suffer from. It’s like, you’re not sure who’s really in charge there.

“It’s such a potent force in the sport, it needs the firm hand of someone like a Ross Brawn or a Jean Todt to grab it and get everyone to march with them.”

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While the criticism of Ferrari was there following their qualifying performance, with Carlos Sainz having also been demoted down the grid after impeding Pierre Gasly into the final corner, they received widespread praise for their race strategy.

Sainz and Leclerc went deep into the race on a set of medium tyres when most of the rest of the field pitted under an early Safety Car, which allowed them to both make it into the top five come the chequered flag.

While Red Bull had flagged Ferrari as being their biggest threat heading into the weekend after the pace they showed in free practice, Vasseur believes the recovery was a worthy one from their drivers.

“It was not a good quali for us and we were for sure a bit frustrated after the results,” Vasseur told the F1 Nation podcast in Montreal.

“But today the race was strong with a good strategy, a good drive from the drivers that they didn’t push on each other when we had to do good laps in a row, and overall it was a very good race.”