Ferrari CEO wants the ‘ultimate prize, second is the first of those who have lost’

Michelle Foster
A Ferrari flag in the crowd. Mexico, November 2021.

A Ferrari flag flown in the crowd at the Mexican Grand Prix.

After a title fight that faded out almost as soon as it began, Ferrari are “working relentlessly” to get back into the fight says CEO Benedetto Vigna.

Ferrari’s 2022 championship and it’s, at times, comedy of errors nature has been widely dissected not only by the media but Ferrari themselves.

Taking up the reins following Mattia Binotto’s resignation, new team boss Fred Vasseur told the media in his first briefing that he’s “in the process of reviewing everything”, the Frenchman not afraid to make changes down the line if he feels it is necessary.

But while Ferrari’s strategist bore a significant portion of the blame last season, they weren’t alone when it came to make errors.

Ferrari’s mechanics botched a few pit stops, the drivers crashed, the engine was unreliable and the car was overweight.

All of that, Vigna hopes, has been resolved over the winter.

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Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, the CEO said: “We want to get back to being competitive in the championship. The entire team, together with Fred, is working relentlessly in that direction.”

Because, simply put, “second is the first of those who have lost.”

And second is what Ferrari were last season.

The team lost out to Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship while Charles Leclerc’s 34-point advantage after round three in the Drivers’ standings slowly but surely became a deficit with the Monégasque driver finishing a distant second to Max Verstappen.

The Italian is, however, hoping that Ferrari’s first race wins since 2019 is a sign that the situation is improving.

“We showed that our competitive advantage improved during the last season and it was encouraging for us and for the millions of fans to see our drivers get on the podium,” he continued.

“Clearly, our goal is to achieve the ultimate prize.”

An achievable goal? Not in 2023

Ferrari have not won a championship title since claiming the Constructors’ in 2008 while the last time they won the Drivers’ was the year prior, 2007, with Kimi Raikkonen.

While they’re dreaming of securing at least one this season, if not both, it’s just not feasible.

The Scuderia got so much wrong last season it was mind-boggling. This year they claim to have resolved the engine problem, up by 30bhp, and down by three kilograms in car weight.

But it’s all the other things that proved problematic last season such as strategists who weren’t used to fighting for race wins and World titles. And drivers who also let the pressure get to them.

Can Ferrari improve this season and close the gap on Red Bull? Yes. Will they fight them for the World title? No. But in 2024 anything is possible…