The 2017 Formula One season is halfway through and the standings are beginning to take shape. Some teams have far exceeded their expectations, others have fallen flat on their faces and Scuderia Ferrari can most definitely be included in the first category.
It was always clear that the team to close the gap to Mercedes and give them a true, season-long challenge for the first time since 2013 will be given many plaudits, but how many of us did in fact expected it to be Ferrari? Red Bull was indicated by everyone as the most likely F1 team to benefit from the new rules, as 2017 featured one of the biggest regulation shake-ups since the introduction of hybrid turbo power units in 2014. However, gone are the days of poor development and falling off the pace (or so it seems so far at least) for the Maranello team and this year could be the straw that breaks Mercedes’ back.
While a Formula One constructors title seems for the moment to be a bridge too far for Ferrari this year, a drivers title is clearly on. Sebastian Vettel is leading the way and looking like getting a finger on the trophy. This of course does not mean the Scuderia Ferrari can relax though. Tyre failures in Silverstone make us question the tyre life of the car compared to its rivals or even the strategists who famously cost the team race wins last season. So for the final three months let the battle commence.
German-Ferrari combinations has provided five of the six titles that the Maranello team have managed to win during the last three decades. The way this year is going Sebastian Vettel looks like making it six. While his one lap pace on the higher-speed tracks is lower than that of Mercedes, Seb has found a way to counteract this and maximise his points tally. Furthermore he has managed to capitalise on all the bad luck of his rivals, if he can do this for the final few months of the season then he could maybe just maybe take Ferrari’s first drivers title in a decade.
While the Finn is a fair way behind his German team mate in the current standings, he has proven in Monaco and Hungary that he can play a credible number two role to Sebastian Vettel. Furthermore he took his first pole position since 2008 this year in Monaco. The problem for Kimi is that these impressive moments are few and far between and they are only getting more and more sporadic as he ages. It is undeniable that he brings in a good experience, excellent merchandising revenue and his off-track friendship with Sebastian Vettel creates a good atmosphere inside the team. Also, as the last Ferrari champion he is highly regarded by all F1 fans. However, the Finnish driver needs to constantly beat rivals Mercedes in order to help the Italian team fight for the Formula One constructors title and unfortunately this has not happened very often during the first part of the season.