Hill suspects ‘lackadaisical’ mindset hindering Ferrari

Sam Cooper
Charles Leclerc standing next to Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz. Austria July 2022

Damon Hill thinks Ferrari may have become “lackadaisical” after not being involved in the title fight in recent seasons.

For the first time in years, Ferrari are genuine title contenders but while they have the pace to match if not beat Red Bull, they are currently well behind on strategy.

Besides the reliability problems that have hampered Charles Leclerc’s season, Carlos Sainz has found himself on the end of some questionable team calls including in France last weekend.

Starting from the back, Sainz was battling Sergio Perez for the final podium spot having initially asked to make a pit-stop only to be told no by the team. Then just as the Spaniard was preparing a move against the Mexican, the Ferrari team told him to ‘box’ and he replied “no, not now”. He did go on to stop, pushing him back down the field and the best he could recover to was P5.

Now 1996 World Champion Hill has hypothesised that years of not being in the title race is coming back to haunt Ferrari.

Hill was asked what the difference between Ferrari and Red Bull this season is and replied “just sheer practice of being at the front”.

 

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“I think they (Ferrari) had been a little bit out of it last year,” Hill told Sky Sports News. “They weren’t terribly competitive and they kind of maybe got a bit lackadaisical in their race team mindset.

“Obviously all these teams are incredibly professional, but it just seems to me Red Bull seem to be able to think quickly and take opportunities. They have been used to fighting from the back and now they don’t have so much of that as a problem, but they still are a race team that are effective in the field, let’s say.”

Hill went on to say Ferrari need to “take a look at themselves”.

He added: “I think they definitely need to take a look at themselves and say ‘well, what are we doing wrong? We’ve got the car to do it, we’ve got the drivers to do it. But we need to give them back-up and we need to clarify our team instructions’.

“When it comes to drivers talking to the pit wall and also to the strategy [team], it’s how they communicate with the drivers as to what the order of command is because you can’t have different people making different decisions and then changing their mind in the last minute, which is no good.”