Best Weekend Of The Year
The European Grand Prix, which was held on 19 June 2016, at the Baku City Circuit in Baku, Azerbaijan and was the eighth round of the 2016 season. Although only starting fourth and fifth after the qualifying session, Scuderia Ferrari had consistent race pace on Sunday afternoon, and thanks to a good pit strategy managed a strong result. Sebastian Vettel finished the race on a conventional one stop strategy that proved the ideal solution and helped the Germain driver to come second.
It could have been a double podium finish for the Maranello team, but luck was not on Kimi Raikkonen’s side, as the Finnish driver got a five second penalty for crossing over the painted box section around the entry pit road when trying to slipstream Daniel Ricciardo. Kimi also had a strong race and should have finished on the podium, but the old set of tyres he had in the last part of the race did not allow him to build a sufficient gap to the surprisingly strong Force India car of Sergio Perez. He ended up finishing fourth. Scuderia Ferrari managed to score a total of 30 points at the European Grand Prix as a constructor, the most for the season, in one of the few races during which fans were positively surprised by the pace of the SF16-H. Unfortunately this pace could not be fully capitalized in the second part of the season.
Worst Weekend Of The Year
Brazilian Grand Prix. After only managing fourth and sixth at the end of the qualifying session on Saturday, Scuderia Ferrari was outperformed in extremely wet conditions at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in Sao Paulo. Kimi Raikkonen crashed out as he aquaplaned into the outside wall on the home straight and was lucky to not be hit by oncoming traffic. Things did not go a lot better for Sebastian Vettel, who narrowly avoided a crash and eventually managed to finish fifth. It was a dissapointing weekend for the Italian team, with only ten constructor points and no more hopes of fighting Red Bull Racing for second place in the Constructors’ Championship standings.
Team Performance vs Expectations
The 2016 Formula 1 season has been one that Scuderia Ferrari needs to forget as quickly as possible. Coming into the Australian Grand Prix in 2016 with three wins during the previous year, Ferrari was expected to pull out some upsets and challenge rivals Mercedes for the constructor’s title. However, inconsistent performances throughout the entire season, many terrible race decisions regarding the strategy, and a very poor qualifying pace led to a winless 2016 season and with much to ponder as team principal Maurizio Arrivabene planned the 2017 F1 Championship.
Looking Forward To 2017
With the major changes in tyre and aerodynamic regulation and the team being one of the first few to start testing the new 2017 Pirelli tyre, things should look more promising for this year. Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen have five championship titles between them, but Ferrari needs to transform their 2016 woes into wins and look to become a consistent threat at the top. 2017 will be an extremely curious year though in terms of driver contracts as both expire at the end of the season. The Italian side has clearly stated that there have been no talks of a renewal to Sebastian’s contract post 2017 indicating that he will have to prove himself if he wishes to stay in Ferrari longer. Kimi on the other hand has to keep doing what he does, bring a calming stability to the team which has been volatile at times.
It is said that the darkest of clouds have the brightest of silver linings. Here is hoping that 2017 is a year where Forza Ferrari brings back some of its passion, character and emotion to the sport of Formula 1, and help rid it of some of the negative press regarding dying popularity. As the Italian Grand Prix suggested, a happy Ferrari fan is a happy Formula 1 fan, and a happy Formula 1 fan will only help bring back Formula 1 to where it should be, an undoubted pinnacle in motorsport.