After a great start to the season that saw them lead both world championships under the new Formula 1 regulations for 2022, Ferrari has seen its hopes dashed, after falling behind Max Verstappen and Red Bull in their corresponding standings.
Charles Leclerc is 80 points behind the Dutchman in the drivers’ championship with nine races to go, after giving up a lot of ground due to retirements in Spain and Azerbaijan, which added to the accident when he was leading in France. For its part, Ferrari is 97 points behind the Milton Keynes team in the table that determines the best constructors of the year.
One of the questions they have heard most in Maranello this year is whether they would give the Monegasque priority, using Carlos Sainz to help him achieve what would be his first title, but the team has always insisted that it was too early to consider situations like that. .
When asked by Motorsport.com about Ferrari’s approach to team orders , the structure’s sporting director, Laurent Mekies , considered that it was an issue that was being given more importance from the outside than within the team itself. Italian.
“You are right to say that there is more debate outside Ferrari than inside,” he said. “But actually we have always been very clear. Our goal is to get the best result for the team, Ferrari comes first.”
“Then, of course, there will be a point where we will have to focus more on one driver than another, if the position in the championship requires it,” continued Mekies. “So it doesn’t mean expecting the mathematical difference, but rather being at the point in the season where you think it’s the right thing to do.”
Sainz claimed his first F1 victory at the British Grand Prix in July, overtaking Leclerc during the restart after a safety car period. Ferrari had chosen different strategies for each of its drivers, and the driver from Madrid consisted of going through the pits to mount a set of new tyres.
The team faced criticism after its strategic decisions in Hungary, after squandering Leclerc’s mid-race lead by putting him on the harder compound, dropping him to sixth.
Ferrari had defended its strategy just one race earlier, in France, when it decided to pit Sainz in the closing stages to serve a 5-second penalty for an unsafe release . The Spaniard fitted a set of new tires but radio messages suggested there was some confusion on the pit wall.
Mekies said that the delay in broadcasting the radio messages to Sainz at Paul Ricard was a good example of “how different situations can be seen from inside and outside the teams”, and that the perceived confusion “simply It was the result of the radio message being broadcast 30 or 40 seconds after it had actually happened.”
“If you had to go back there, you would call Carlos [Sainz] back exactly like we did and you would make the pit stop exactly like we did, so it just goes to show how difficult it is nowadays, in a complex sport, to understand the reasons behind one strategy or another,” Mekies explained.
“That said, we have lost quite a few points this year. We have reliability issues, we have some things we need to improve on. And yes, we are working very hard on it,” he said.
“That does not increase the pressure, since the pressure is maximum at all times because it is a competitive world, and anyway that is how we like it. But it is a positive pressure, it is what pushes us to improve race after race”, concluded the Ferrari sporting director.