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F1: Ferrari told to focus on reliability over No.1 driver issue

Ferrari has been accused of dithering when it comes to choosing a number one driver to battle Max Verstappen for the Drivers’ Championship in 2022. Felipe Massa, a former Ferrari driver, feels the Italian team has bigger problems at hand than choosing its preferred candidate.

Verstappen is leading the championship by 38 points from Charles Leclerc, who was expected to be Ferrari’s number one in the title challenge. But, the Maranello-based team bungled their strategy on two occasions in Monaco and Silverstone to rob the Monegasque of potential victories.

However, questionable strategy calls are not the only problems that have ruined Leclerc’s title charge thus far. Ferrari’s reliability has been a major cause for concern, which has seen Leclerc retire from a race twice while he was at the front – in Spain and Azerbaijan.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc POOL via AFP / Giuseppe CACACE

The power unit failures also resulted in Leclerc taking a penalty at the Canadian Grand Prix that saw him start from the back of the grid. Massa feels Ferrari should prioritise fixing their reliability issues first before deciding which driver will lead their title charge.

“When I came to the team in 2006 (to drive alongside Michael Schumacher), it was very clear who was first and who was second,” the former Ferrari driver said, as quoted on Planet F1.

“Then Kimi Raikkonen came to us. We agreed with each other that we would fight each other until the race in Spa and after that, whoever was behind in the championship would help his team-mate.”

Ferrari
Top two: Carlos Sainz, left, and Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc congratulate each other after qualifying in Miami
Brendan Smialowski/AFP

“I don’t know how the situation is at Ferrari at the moment in terms of distribution of roles, but I think their main priority should be reliability,” he added. “They have to solve these problems first and only then decide which of the drivers will be the first driver.”

The reliability issues have also affected Caros Sainz, with the most recent being his engine failure at last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix. Binotto admitted that it was a concern, but admitted that they were no short-term solutions to the problem.

“It is possible that Leclerc will be out of the race in the next race and Sainz will win,” the Massa said. “It’s too early to decide on roles because even they themselves don’t know which drivers will finish the next race.”

Carlos Sainz
Ferrari celebrate Carlos Sainz’s landmark win
JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP
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