Scuderia Ferrari has become the laughingstock of the F1 community despite having what appears to be the fastest car on the track this season. A number of mind-boggling mistakes in the first half of the campaign has compromised the team’s title chances, and team principal Mattia Binotto may be in danger of facing the chopping block as early as this summer.
Former F1 driver-turned-pundit Ralf Schumacher believes that Binotto may be shown the exit door especially after the disaster in Hungary. Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz looked to be on course for a double podium finish when a series of bizarre strategy calls cost them several places and a potential victory for the Monegasque for the nth time this season.
Ferrari started the 2022 campaign looking very strong, immediately dominating the first few races both with pole positions and race wins. However, Red Bull Racing managed to sort out their reliability issues which plagued them in the opening rounds. Ferrari did the complete opposite, falling victim to engine blowouts and other reliability concerns while Red Bull continued to improve both in race pace and in reliability.
Leclerc retired with power unit issues while in the lead of two races and on top of that, their now infamous strategy calls have also cost him at least two more potential race wins. Sainz, meanwhile, was on course for a second-place finish in Austria when his engine blew up in spectacular fashion.
“I already see him [Binotto] in danger during the summer break,” said Schumacher while speaking to Sky Deutschland. He weighed in on Ferrari’s season so far, pointing out all the lost opportunities and mistakes that could have been avoided. “There are too many little things that went wrong and too many technical problems. If you get a gift like this, being able to drive for the World Championship and then you endangered it and throw it away, that’s already bitter,” he said.
In Hungary, Leclerc overtook pole sitter George Russell for the race lead. Championship leader Max Verstappen started his Red Bull from all the way down in 10th place, giving Ferrari the prime opportunity to slash their deficit from the Austrian team.
However, despite Leclerc’s messages to the team saying that he was feeling comfortable on the medium tyres after his first stop, Ferrari decided to call him in as a reaction to Verstappen’s stop. Furthermore, Leclerc was given hard tyres despite the fact that the Alpine cars were seen clearly struggling on the harder compound after their own stops.
As a result, Leclerc became a sitting duck out on the track and ended up finishing in 6th place. Not only did he lose a potential victory, he also allowed Verstappen to extend his championship lead. The Dutchman managed to win the race from 10th, thanks to a brilliant strategy devised by the Red Bull pit wall.
Binotto did not seem too worried after the blunder, saying “We recently had the right strategy in France, in Austria too, so most of the time we’re right. Sometimes we make mistakes, but others make them too, they just don’t look too closely.”
However, fans are outraged by the results, with many likening the Ferrari garage to a cast of clowns. Leclerc has been patient after the first few mishaps, but it is clear that he is already becoming frustrated by what is happening.
“The last stop by Leclerc was incomprehensible to me,” added Schumacher.
Verstappen is now 80 points clear of Leclerc, in what was previously believed to be a close fight for the title this season. However, Schumacher pointed out that Ferrari appears to be Red Bull’s biggest supporter this year after gifting them with far too many points.