At the beginning of the 2022 Formula One season, Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto had indicated that a period of at least five Grands Prix would be needed in order to evaluate and understand the true competitiveness of the new single-seaters and draw a first picture of the hierarchies for the 2022 championship.
After the fifth race, Scuderia Ferrari and Charles Leclerc are still at the top of the two world rankings and the balance can only be an overall positive one. To make the Italian side’s moment less exciting, however, is the performance graph, which describes (after a difficult start) a great technical recovery by Red Bull, which allowed Max Verstappen to win the last two races, in Italy (Emilia Romagna Grand Prix) and the United States (Miami).
As was expected, now the battle for the titles moves on the development front, and Mattia Binotto anticipated the importance that the Spanish Grand Prix will have: “Now it is up to us to answer, it is no secret that we will bring updates on track for Montmelò and we hope that the updates will allow us to close the gap that has been created with Red Bull. I expect that at some point they will be forced to stop developments due to the spending limit imposed by the budget cap, otherwise I would not understand how they can continue” – the Ferrari boss explained, at the end of the race in Florida.
Italian journalist Roberto Chinchero wrote for Motorsport Italy that Ferrari have invested significant resources in the Barcelona package (the first upgrade package of the F1-75).
In Miami, Scuderia Ferrari limited the damage, but both Charles Leclerc and the Maranello team’s strategists tried until a few laps from the checkered flag to make life difficult for Max Verstappen. When the safety car entered the track after two-thirds of the race, there also seemed to be a potential wildcard that Ferrari could have played in view of the last ten laps, differentiating the strategy on the tire front, but at the request of Charles Leclerc himself to use a set of new tires, the Ferrari strategists responded negatively, leaving the Monegasque on the track. Mattia Binotto himself explained the reasons for the choice.
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“We believed that the warm up of the tire behind the safety car would be easier with the set of hard tires that Charles was already using – clarified the Ferrari team principal – we only had a set of new hard tires available, a compound that takes time to reach the correct working window, so we thought it would be better for Charles to restart with the tires he had on his car. And in fact, the best chance he had to overtake Verstappen came on the first lap after the restart, managing to get very close to Max, and the same was for Carlos, who in the end managed to resist to Perez’s assault.” – Mattia Binotto explained.
Red Bull surprised Ferrari due to the ability to keep a strong pace even in the slower areas of the circuit, which on paper should have been a Ferrari’s strength, given the fact that by choice Ferrari has decided to start the race with more downforce.
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