After two seasons without a single grand prix win, Sir Jackie Stewart says it was “good for motorsport” to see the Scuderia back on top of the podium this past season.
But, he like many others, says they didn’t do as well as “perhaps they should have”.
Paying the price for their engine scandal from 2019, Ferrari were down on power and performance in 2020 and began their climb back to the front of the field last year.
However, it wasn’t until this season and Formula 1’s all-new technical regulations that they were back to winning races, the Scuderia taking four.
While that should have meant a positive season, the team runner-up in the standings, 2022 will instead be remembered for the strategy blunders that cost Charles Leclerc wins and the reliability issues that hampered both drivers.
With Ferrari’s challenge faltering seemingly race by race, Red Bull and Max Verstappen came to the fore with the Milton Keynes squad taking the double.
It was the first year since 2013, the last time Red Bull held the double, that Mercedes didn’t win either the Drivers’ or Constructors’ title.
“There’s always somebody who’s a leader,” Stewart told PlanetF1.com. “And it changes from time to time.
“Whether it was a great [Juan Manuel] Fangio all those years ago or [Alberto] Ascari, whether it was Jim Clark, whether it was Ayrton Senna or Alain Prost, whether it was somebody called Jackie Stewart for a while, there’s always somebody out there who leads the pack, and has it for a period of time.
“But I think Lewis Hamilton has done extremely well over a great number of years. Mercedes-Benz gave him the very best kit, but he still had to drive it.
“Now Red Bull, who have been competitive for very many years with a lot of different drivers, so they’ve done a good job.
“Ferrari, I think it’s good for motorsport to see Ferrari back the front end, but so far, they haven’t been able to win as much as perhaps they should have.”
Having secured his first World title last season with 10 wins and a final lap of the season pass on Lewis Hamilton, this year Verstappen was imposing as he set a new record for the most wins in a single season, 15, on his way to a second World title.
Although he didn’t have the same level of competition as he did the year prior, it seemed to many that he had stepped up a gear this season.
PF1 asked the four-time World Champion if a driver changes after winning a first title.
“No, I don’t think so,” said Stewart. “When you win you don’t wait to lose and I drove cars that allowed me to win.”
The 83-year-old continued, saying he also had the mechanics – just three of them – who ensured he would be as safe as possible in an era where crashes cost lives.
“I had very few mechanical failures,” he added. “I had three mechanics, that’s all, now there are 100 mechanics for a driver.
“But I’m here today because of those mechanics. Most of my friends died driving racing cars during my period but my three mechanics, the wheels didn’t fall off. I didn’t have mechanical failures.
“And, you know, as I said, to finish first first you must finish and I was able to do that.
“So I had a very good career. I loved it enormously. I still loved the sport enormously. But you know, my racing days I’ll never be over I don’t think.”