F1 – Reliability at half-mast, withdrawals for Leclerc and Sainz: The Scuderia Ferrari in the throes of doubt after the Baku fiasco

The bells of Maranello no longer ring. As if happiness is forbidden for Ferrari and its tifosi. As if the sheer joy of Charles Leclerc’s two victories in three races had exhausted the quota of satisfaction allotted to the transalpine team for 2022. In Baku Sunday afternoon, the Scuderia was living through hell, despite mastering the pole position the day before.

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Hydraulic failure for Carlos Sainz, less engine for Charles Leclerc. Two dropouts. A first since the Italian Grand Prix of 2020. All in 20 laps. Reliability questioned. A zero that undermines the ambitions of the Italian team.

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Another blow for Leclerc

And that’s not all: Kevin Magnussen’s Haas and Guanyu Zhou’s Alfa Romeo, two single-seaters powered by Ferrari, were brought to a halt. Four retired cars in one race. A dark day. “Words are hard to findMonegasque driver admitted after pulling himself out of his single-seater in a plume of smoke† I lost power without knowing what was happening. The motivation is still there, but it hurts…”

The pill is hard to swallow for Leclerc, even though first place in Azerbaijan seemed promised to one of the two Red Bulls, faster in a straight line. The achievement is for the one who has carried Ferrari on his shoulders since his arrival in 2019. The Principality’s representative dominates in Bahrain and Melbourne, drawing the essence of his SF-75 on each of his outings, despite popular pressure around the innovation Italian.

Evidence of this is that he is piling up the pole positions and overtaking Max Verstappen in the timed lap practice this weekend. In the race, however, he cannot count on the support of his teammate, who is disconnected too often. It is therefore impossible for the transalpine engineers to establish team strategies as their counterparts at Red Bull know so well.

Messy strategy, reliability issue…

Having made few mistakes this season, with the exception of Imola, Leclerc will still run into embarrassing situations on Sunday. Especially since three innings. If the Italian engineers don’t sink themselves, it’s the car that will. Two weeks ago for the first time in Monaco, his team’s poor choices ruined his performance. He led in Barcelona in early May and threw in the towel with a mechanical problem. Rebelote in Baku, this Sunday. Before the shutdown, the idea of ​​allowing the Monegask to benefit from the free stop offered by the virtual safety car was nevertheless interesting. But his immobilization in the pits turned out to be too long (5.4).

Red Bull didn’t ask that much. The Austrian team took the big points at stake, Sergio Pérez also took the fastest lap of the race. The observation is clear: since the Imola Grand Prix, Red Bull has amassed 224 units against 95 for Ferrari.

“We were fast in the first part of the season and reported no reliability issues. Now it seems we have some more, while we haven’t made any major changes. It’s hard to understand at the moment, we need to understand the why of the how.”scolded Leclerc, relegated to third place in the 2022 World Cup, in front of the microphone of air sports

Binotto asks for patience

Mattia Binotto has become a firefighter to defuse the situation. first for air sports “It is a concern. Reliability is always an important factor in the battle. We pushed hard to develop the car over the winter, but we have proven that we are not completely reliable yet. There is still work to be done We weren’t euphoric at the start of the season, we’re not giving up now.”

Before providing after-sales service to our colleagues at: Channel+, indicating that the team must stay united, just like the pilots† “We are not going to dramatize. What happened is a real shame, we have to try to solve these problems, but we have done a good job to get here and we will work just as hard to get stronger. Sometimes you have to be patient “, concluded the boss of the Scuderia. Who wanted to be reassuring about abandoning Zhou (Alfa Romeo), who wouldn’t be paired up? “to (our) components”.

Ferrari, still overpowered by Red Bull, appears to have stalled in the race for the drivers’ and constructors’ world titles, which have eluded them since 2007 (Kimi Räikkonen) and 2008 respectively. To make matters worse, the ninth round, which during the other side of the world, in Montreal, already points to the tip of his nose. This promises a restless summer in Maranello…

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