The first part of the 2022 Formula 1 championship has unfortunately been a familiar story for Ferrari: the F1-75 proved to be an impressive car and the Maranello team had a strong start to its F1 campaign, by scoring two race victories with Charles Leclerc in Australia and Bahrain, only for the season to unravel due to a host of self-inflicted issues, up to the point of being overtaken by Red Bull in terms of race pace in the second part of the championship.
Even when having the fastest car on the grid, the Italian side was not able to capitalize on the speed of its F1-75 challenger, being blighted by reliability issues, a few errors from Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, alongside several poor strategy calls from the Maranello pit wall and also slow pit-stops that led to many points being lost in the duel with Red Bull.
The Austrian side perfectly executed operations on weekends even when it could not count on the best race pace and coasted to both titles without any real challenge for Scuderia Ferrari, who is now left fighting for second place in the Constructors standings against a charging Mercedes, who has had a much slower car for most of the campaign, but several times collected more points than the Maranello team by capitalizing on Ferrari’s problems.
Ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Mercedes is 40 points behind the Maranello team after a strong display in Mexico City.
British-born former McLaren mechanic Marc Priestley, who left the team in 2009 and transitioned to a media career, appearing in numerous television programs, admitted to giving motivational speeches by referencing the experience he has gathered while working for McLaren in the most important motorsport series.
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Marc Priestley feels the culture at both Red Bull and Mercedes are good examples to follow while at the same time highlighting a fundamental issue of the Italian side’s approach for more than a decade, as Ferrari last won the Drivers’ title with Kimi Raikkonen back in 2017 and the Constructors’ championship the following season:
“When I’m doing my talks around the world, I use Mercedes and Red Bull as great examples of how to build great teams.” – Pundit and former McLaren chief mechanic explained, during an interview for In the Fast Lane podcast – “Unfortunately, at the moment, I’m also using Ferrari as an example of how not to do it. You have to point the finger at there being something fundamental [that is wrong]. I know a lot of people who either work or have worked at Ferrari. I’ve had a real insight into what goes on there. I hate to be too disparaging of any team because I know people inside that team are doing their best. But you’ve got to point to the fact there must be a cultural issue there.” – Marc Priestley added.
“They’ve had every part of the ingredients to win. OK, we’re in a budget cap now but in the past money has been an advantage. If you had the biggest budget and you spend it in the right way, you could buy success. They’ve had that, a huge number of people, a great factory and all the resources they need. They’ve built great cars, they’ve had the best drivers on many occasions, yet they still haven’t won. So what does that leave? It leaves the team environment. Something is stopping them from getting across that line.” – the former McLaren chief feels.
Marc Priestley also pointed out that the fear of making errors is inhibiting the people working for Scuderia Ferrari:
“I feel like the team culture at Ferrari, over many years, has been too restrictive, where people feel terrified to stick their head above the parapet and make a decision when it comes to things like race strategy,” he added. “Even beyond that, things like car design. It feels like there’s so much fear in that organisation. If something goes wrong because of a decision you made, it’s like the world is going to cave in on you and the fingers will be pointed. That, unfortunately, does not generate the kind of success you need. You have to have an organisation where everyone is trusted to do their job. If that means you make a risky decision, they’re trusted, and that is really important. If it doesn’t work out, you use it as a massive learning step. At Ferrari, it feels like they’re too hesitant to make those decisions. You hear it in their radio communications. They almost seem terrified to make the call on a pit-stop. You’ve got the drivers questioning the decisions because they haven’t got confidence in their own pit wall. We’ve seen enough evidence now to know what is holding them. There’s no quick fix for that, it’s a cultural issue.” – Marc Priestley concluded.
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