‘Many, many reasons’ for Ferrari’s failure to end Red Bull’s run

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc walks clear of his stricken Ferrari.

Charles Leclerc was left lamenting his luck after crashing out on the formation lap at Interlagos.

Without a championship trophy since 2008, Ferrari president John Elkann acknowledges there are “many, many reasons” for Ferrari’s title drought.

Ferrari last won F1’s Drivers’ Championship title back in 2007 with Kimi Raikkonen and added a 16th Constructors’ crown the following season.

In the 15 years since they’ve had a spate of runner-up results but haven’t been able to cross the lines with their efforts undone by reliability issues, an engine cheating scandal, slow cars, and of course, driver errors.

Ferrari president: Every single aspect counts

It’s seen the promise of ‘next year’ turn into disappointment, not only for the team but also for their ever-faithful Tifosi.

It has been more of the same this year as Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna promised a “single-seater that will be unprecedented in terms of speed” only for Ferrari to be trounced by Red Bull.

Although they are the only team aside from Red Bull to have won a race with Carlos Sainz taking the chequered flag at the Singapore Grand Prix, they are a whopping 434 points behind the Milton Keynes squad and sit third in the standings.

It begs the question where has gone wrong for Ferrari?

Elkann accepts that while the Scuderia are up against “very strong competition”, there are many reasons why they haven’t been able to “convert our competitiveness, our potential, into sufficient victories.”

“There are always many, many reasons,” he told BBC Sport, “and it goes back to every single aspect counts.

“I recall when it was I had to get deeper engaged. We had a really bad season in 2020 and one of the things that surprised me then is that we actually did worse in pit stops than our ranking in the championship.

“That was an indicator of the mindset because ultimately to really win you need to get good at everything. It’s true that on the margin if you don’t have a competitive car, the rest won’t make you win, but if you have that mindset, it is difficult for you to win.”

Being good at everything meant Ferrari spent hours in the build-up to this campaign practicing over 1,000 pit stops as that was one of their weaknesses last year.

Ferrari have the second fastest stop of this season with a 1.98s with Charles Leclerc in Qatar. They’re also second in the season’s rankings.

“That is an indication of how focus and intentions are ultimately an important requisite to be able to reach competitiveness and ultimately be able to translate that into outcomes,” Elkann said.

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Fred Vasseur negated what Ferrari were ‘lacking compared to our stronger competitors’

Falling short of the title last season as Max Verstappen overcame a 46-point deficit to beat Leclerc, then-Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto fell on his sword and handed in his resignation.

He was replaced by former Alfa Romeo team boss Fred Vasseur.

“What’s really important, and this is the thinking we had,” said Elkann, “is that accountability is really one of the biggest determinants in what our competitors have achieved well. And also nimbleness, despite their larger organisations. They tend to be nimbler, faster.

“And Fred had those attributes, having been working in motorsport all his professional life and having been very successful in different categories, but also in F1 having managed a smaller team.

“So on one side he brings a culture of responsibility and accountability, but he also knows and has operated in organisations that are smaller, more effective and nimbler, and that is definitely something we were lacking compared to our stronger competitors.”

He added: “What is important is to have the best possible team, and if you’re able to have the best possible team and have women and men coming from different nationalities and backgrounds that enable that to happen, that is very welcome.

“Our identity is very clearly defined as Italian and the backbone of our organisation is Italian. But that is not in any way a detriment. On the contrary, it is a base on which you can complement with very strong talents coming from different places.”

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