A nightmare start
Twenty-six points in three races. This is Ferrari’s miserable haul in this 2023 Formula One campaign which started with much better prospects and which seems to have already taken a path characterized by the possibility of obtaining very few satisfactions this year. “The SF-23 will be the fastest Ferrari ever,” said chief executive officer Benedetto Vigna on the occasion of the official car presentation in Maranello, but the opponents have grown even more compared to 2022 and at the moment Red Bull seems to be in total control of the championship.
The ‘prophecy’ about Mattia Binotto and Frederic Vasseur
At the end of November Joan Villadelprat, an engineer with a past also in Ferrari in Formula 1 as well as having worked with McLaren, Tyrrell, Benetton and Prost, criticized the then-proposed change between Mattia Binotto and Frederic Vasseur at the helm of the Maranello team on Twitter.
“Ferrari goes back to stupidity by firing Binotto. As they always think that someone can do better”, – this was the tweet of Villadelprat who, interviewed by the Spanish newspaper El Confidencial, pointed out that he was not happy for having been right on this matter:
“I’m sorry I was right about Binotto and Vasseur. After all, it has already happened in the past, Aldo Costa for example went to Mercedes and according to Toto Wolff he was the only irreplaceable member of his technical staff, Stefano Domenicali is now head of FOM. I’m sorry that things turned out like this, but if you know the environment it was predictable. They certainly didn’t expect not to get a single podium in three races and to be currently in fourth place in the Constructors’ standings” – Joan Villadelprat added.
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Collaborative Carlos Sainz, irascible Charles Leclerc
In the Drivers’ standings, Carlos Sainz currently has twenty points against the six scored by his Maranello teammate Charles Leclerc. Overall, the Monegasque was faster than the Spaniard, but he pays for the technical failure in Bahrain and the consequent penalty on the starting grid in Saudi Arabia where he brought the Ferrari SF-23 to the front row in Qualifying. In Australia, then, Charles Leclerc made a mistake at the start and immediately ended up in the gravel after attempting an overtaking move on the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll.
According to Joan Villadelprat, Carlos Sainz has the difficult task of trying to stay ahead of a Charles Leclerc with innate talent in Qualifying. If the Monegasque were to take over, Carlos Sainz would immediately return to being seen as number two in Maranello: “Charles Leclerc has an innate speed, Carlos Sainz instead has to work on it a little more to express a certain level of performance. Sainz is now ahead in the standings, but the balance changes continuously in Ferrari. Sainz’s priority is to stay ahead of Leclerc, who is considered number one in Maranello. However good their relationship may be, Leclerc is clearly not happy when he is behind Sainz. There is an important aspect, but it takes time to recognize it: Carlos works harder and is a positive resource, it’s easier to work with him, while Leclerc puts a lot of pressure on the team when things don’t work out. If Leclerc returns to the front in the next few races, he will once again be renamed king of Ferrari. This is how Italy works and this is how Ferrari works” – the current the principal of the Spanish race team Epsilon Euskadi concluded.