In the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Scuderia Ferrari achieved its objectives: second place in the Drivers and Constructors championships. Targets which, despite the high hopes after the first three races of the 2022 Formula 1 season, represent the best of what the Italian side could have ask for based on the race pace seen starting with the Hungaroring event. The pace deficit against Red Bull became insurmountable starting from the Hungarian Grand Prix, while in the first part of the championship, the Italian side made too many mistakes in terms of strategy and operational procedures.
Iñaki Rueda, the Ferrari sporting and strategy director, one of the main figures in Maranello to be criticized for the mistakes seen in 2022, wanted to point out that the Italian side executed the Abu Dhabi race plan perfectly with both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
“Our predictions before the Grand Prix showed that the race was really tight in terms of strategy between the medium-hard single stop and two pit stops. We had the luxury of having two sets of hard tyres, which few had. We thought that the fastest strategy was a double pit stop, therefore medium-hard-hard. However, we approached the race with an open mind. We started on the medium tires with the aim of seeing how the situation would evolve regarding our two end-of-season objectives” – Iñaki Rueda said in a post-race debrief for the Ferrari social media channels.
“As for Carlos’ race, Hamilton took his position at the start but Carlos regained his place at turn 6 with a great braking moment. We had to decide which strategy to adopt with him and we opted for a two-stop tactic, also because we had to fight the Mercedes behind. Hamilton chose to stop once and he was very close to the end, we believe that Carlos would have overtaken him anyway (the Mercedes driver retired a few laps from the end, ed.).
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“Regarding Charles’ race, he was fighting it with Sergio Perez. Although the Mexican was in front, Charles got very close to him, to the point of entering the undercut window on lap 15. Perez thus had to stop early and was forced into a two-stop strategy. We kept Charles out as long as possible so that we could then decide whether he would stop once or twice. Also in the second stint Charles gained on Sergio Perez, and by lap 33 we were again in the undercut window. Perez had to make a decision: stop again or let Charles do the undercut? Perez decided to stop and so Charles stayed on track and executed his one-stop strategy perfectly. Therefore, on Sunday the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was not a clearly one or two stop strategy, but it was a question of executing the race plan in the best possible way. We will analyze this race and all the others in order to improve in view of 2023. We can’t wait to fight for the title next season.” – Ferrari sporting and strategy director Iñaki Rueda concluded.