‘Ferrari wrote the manual on shooting themselves in the foot’

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc walked out of the garage after his DNF. Barcelona May 2022.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc walked out of the garage after his DNF. Barcelona May 2022.

If Niki Lauda was alive today he would be on about Ferrari being “too Italian” as once again they shot “themselves in the foot” at the French GP, says Jonathan McEvoy.

Ferrari were chasing the victory in Sunday’s French Grand Prix when Charles Leclerc lost the rear of his F1-75 through Turn 11 and crashed nose first into the barrier.

The driver was quick to admit it was his fault, calling it an “unacceptable” error on his part.

That left Carlos Sainz to produce the goods for Ferrari, however, as the Spaniard took third place from Sergio Perez, Ferrari made a strategy call that baffled many.

Seconds after the driver moved up to third place, the team pitted him for fresh medium tyres which dropped him all the way back to ninth place.

Sainz could only recover as far as P5, Ferrari’s mistakes costing them sorely in the championship races.

It is, according to F1 journalist McEvoy, a manual “written” by Ferrari.

“Ferrari really are unfathomable,” he wrote in the Daily Mail. “Despite groaning riches and unsurpassed heritage, they regularly shoot themselves in the foot.

“This season alone they have pulled off the unholy trinity: unreliability, strategy botches and driver boobs.

“That manual was written in Maranello.

“Why? A singular theory was advanced by one of their former champions, the late Niki Lauda, when I asked why Michael Schumacher’s glory-soaked era had not been backed up with more success.

“‘They are too Italian,’ he said. Alluding to Schumacher, technical chief Ross Brawn and the predominantly native workforce, Lauda added: ‘Then, you had the Teutonic influence: clear, unbending. The English acted as the bridge. Italy is all about romance and spaghetti.’

“If anyone ever cared less for what we now call ‘wokery’ it was Mr N. Lauda, his natural disposition being reinforced by escaping a burning Ferrari seconds before burning to death.”

McEvoy believes Ferrari are missing the influence of former tech boss James Allison, the Englishman now with Mercedes.

“One Englishman whom the Scuderia really miss is James Allison,” he continued. “Mention of his name, and the fact he was allowed to leave a few years back, causes former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo to shake his head in despair.”

Sunday’s result means Leclerc is now 63 points behind Max Verstappen in the race for the World title while Ferrari trail Red Bull by 82.

“It was doubly disappointing for the Monegasque because he won a fortnight ago in Austria to push himself back into contention and then took pole here. He was withstanding Verstappen’s early pressure manfully, and then whoops,” concluded McEvoy.

“Leclerc at least only has to wait until Budapest on Sunday — the last round before the summer break — for his shot at redemption.”