Mattia Binotto doesn’t believe strategies are Ferrari’s weakness and argues that his team have often made the right calls in that area.
The Italian team have had a mixed first half of the 2022 season, producing a car fast enough to fight Red Bull for the title but falling behind their rivals due to a number of issues.
While some of those issues have been largely out of their control such as driver errors and reliability problems, they’ve also thrown away points in the eyes of many with poor race strategies.
On several occasions, Charles Leclerc has been leading and well-positioned to win, but has then fallen behind others including main title rival Max Verstappen due to the strategy Ferrari have opted to put him on.
That was the case at the final race before the mid-season break in Hungary. There, Leclerc was running in P1 but a decision to put him on the poor-performing hard compound tyre caused him to ultimately cross the line down in P6.
As a result, he trails the Dutchman and the Italian team trail Red Bull in the standings by considerable margins.
Nevertheless, Binotto isn’t concerned by the calls of his pit-wall and thinks they’ve often got things right.
“First of all, I believe there is always a way to improve yourself, you can’t be perfect and you never will be,” the team principal told the Italian branch of Motorsport.com.
“I have no doubt about the need to always make progress. We need to improve on aerodynamics, on the chassis, on the power unit, on the strategy and all the aspects that can be improved.
“Having said that, I think I have a great team that deals with the strategy and I don’t think it’s our weak point. Races like Monaco, Silverstone or Paul Ricard were judged problematic on this front, but I don’t see the group as a problem, because I think we also made the right decisions.”
In fact, he feels the team have often made the correct decisions in that department and have often been on the end of some bad luck.
“I’m not convinced that what we did was wrong,” he added.
“I believe we made what were the right decisions the moment they were made, and sometimes they turned out to be unlucky, not wrong. And if we look at the work of our strategy team, sometimes they have also done great things, better than their opponents.August 13, 2022
“In Austria we had the right strategy, unlike our opponents, just as we probably had the best strategy in France before Charles’ mistake. At Paul Ricard, we had the courage to bring two sets of mediums into the race, and to make a choice of this kind you have to be not only good, but also brave.”
“So overall, we have a good team and I don’t think that’s a weak point. We could start discussing Monaco, Silverstone and Paul Ricard again: from my point of view I think they were difficult decisions, perhaps unfortunate, but not always wrong.
“So I don’t think it’s our weakness right now.”
Whether through improved luck or improved decision-making, they’ll need to score better results after the summer break with Red Bull pulling away and the ever-improving Mercedes catching them in the standings.
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GRILL THE GRID: The drivers take on the geography round – can they name a circuit for every letter of the alphabet?
Toto Wolff has admitted that he’s “not proud” of smashing headphones in anger during the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
In the penultimate round of the season, the titanic title fight between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton heated up as it so often had that year.
With Hamilton trying to pass the Red Bull driver for the lead of the race, the two came together, and that came after some extremely aggressive defending from Verstappen earlier on.
Wolff couldn’t contain his anger, taking off his headphones and smashing them on his desk in the Mercedes garage.
Cameras captured the moment, and it has been replayed and spoken about a huge amount ever since, with Christian Horner recently discussing it.
“It’s very easy to pull his chain and you can see that it sometimes affects him,” the Red Bull team principal told Sky Sports.
“Last year was so intense and of course, it was the first time he’d ever been in that situation [involved in a close title fight].
“It’s always interesting to see how people react and, when they’re smashing headphones and so on, you can see you’ve got to them.”
While most people now see Wolff’s act of aggression as something to laugh about now though, the Austrian doesn’t.
“I am not proud of smashing headphones,” the Mercedes team principal told the Financial Times.
“That’s how I am. That is still the aggressive kid who had a really tough upbringing that comes out. I literally had to fight for feeling adequate.”
This year, there haven’t been any battles for the lead for Wolff to get angry about with his team falling behind Red Bull and Ferrari in the pecking order.
Discussing why that has happened, he says it’s simply a case of getting the science wrong when designing the 2022 car.
“We got the physics wrong. F1 is physics,” the Austrian added.
He remains immensely proud of the dominance they enjoyed prior to this year though and says they’re ultimately only human.August 13, 2022
“No sports team in any sport has ever won eight consecutive world championship titles, and there are many reasons for that, and what is at the core is the human.”
“The human gets complacent. You are not energised in the same way you were before. You are maybe not as ambitious.”
There were some positive signs for Wolff and co in the final few rounds before this year’s summer break, and many expect them to get involved in the fight for victories again before the end of the year.
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Sir Lewis Hamilton has been involved in a number of scary crashes so far in his racing career, and he has seen a lot of nasty accidents during his time.
Sadly, some of those have ended worse than others, but generally, the seven-time world champion has no fear when he gets behind the wheel of a race car.
What he does not like, however, is driving on the road; he prefers to spend as little time as possible driving in public and, when he does, he tries to stick to nice, quiet roads.
Further, the 37-year-old has pushed in recent years for a great awareness of the environment, among a lot of other things.
The last few years have been hard on a lot of people, and the power of social media has uncovered a lot more of the world issues that have existed for centuries – this is something that he has tried to change.
The Mercedes driver set up his own charity, Mission 44, after the findings of the Hamilton commission were released, and it is aimed at bringing more diversity into Formula 1.
This involves a charter that nine of the teams are said to have signed, and the charter dictates that the teams are to aim to employ a certain number of women, black people and members of the LGBTQ+ community in the coming years.
He has also gone vegan upon discovering the truths of animal cruelty and the harm food processing can do to the environment, and he has given up on a lot of his old habits.August 12, 2022
Hamilton has sold off a lot of his old sports cars, as well as getting rid of his private jet as he sets to reduce his carbon footprint and set a good example for others.
The 103-time race winner also tries to stay off the roads, but this is not just because of his ecological perspective.
“I just think that I find it stressful,” Hamilton told Vanity Fair.
“I try not to do things that don’t add to my life, look, we’re on these roads, anything can happen.
“People say: ‘Dude! You drive around at 200 miles an hour!’ And I’m like, in terms of fear factor, that’s easy for me, I guess we’re just all wired differently.”
Hamilton has managed six podiums so far this season in an underperforming W13 car, and Mercedes have made it to within 30 points of Ferrari in the battle for second in the Constructors’ Standings.
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It’s been a frustrating first half of the season for Scuderia Ferrari, who have had arguably the fastest car on the grid, but also the most unreliable.
Strategic errors aside, Ferrari have lost a huge haul of points just from power unit failures.
Charles Leclerc retired from the race lead at both the Spanish and Azerbaijan Grand Prix’s due to a sudden PU failure, with Carlos Sainz having retired from P3 at the Austrian Grand Prix due to his PU going up in sudden flames.
Those three retirements alone have cost Ferrari 65 points in the Constructors’ Championship, with the Italian’s currently finding themselves 97 points behind Red Bull Racing.
Some have questioned whether Ferrari has tried to replicate the Mercedes F1 Team’s 2021 strategy.
Last season Mercedes took a number of grid penalties for exceeding the allowed number of PU’s; however, the German team were largely unaffected by this as their fast engine meant they quickly made their way to the front.
The Silver Arrows chose performance over reliability.
Sir Lewis Hamilton’s victory at the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix was a prime example of this, where he went from 20th to fifth in the sprint race alone.
He then went from P10 to claim victory in the country he is now an honorary citizen of during the main race.
Leclerc and Sainz have both been able to finish towards the front when starting from last; the issue for Ferrari, though, is that it’s costing them a number of points with Max Verstappen yet to take an engine penalty.
Ferrari team principal explained that having an unreliable engine wasn’t part of their “strategy”, with the Italian labelling it an unplanned “consequence”.
“I don’t think it’s a strategy, but a consequence,” he told Motorsport.com.
“It was a consequence for them too, I don’t think it was planned. It is always better to have the best engine in terms of performance but also of reliability.”
Binotto went onto explain how it feels to see his team’s cars suffer from such agonising failures, especially given that Binotto used to work in Ferrari’s engine department.
“It is very difficult for two reasons. When it comes to engine failures, well, I’ve run that department myself in the past, and seeing smoke coming out of the car is never cool.
“And this is more of a feeling of depression. When you are leading the race, as Charles was leading in Baku but we can also mention Carlos in Austria, these are problems you would never want to see.
“I stay calm, but believe me, in those moments I am depressed, it takes a while to try to react, but then you understand that you have to think about for the next steps, what needs to be done. And not only in technical terms, but also in terms of the team.
“And then you think: how can I help? So I immediately begin to make sure that everyone remains calm and focused, and also protected from attacks and outside comments.”August 10, 2022
Ferrari are currently in the process of developing upgrades for both their ERS and engine, something they are hoping to introduce before the engine freeze which comes into effect later in the year.
Whilst this will hopefully reduce their PU issues, Binotto isn’t expecting the new upgrades to be a “turning point”.
“Yes, we expect developments on the hybrid before the freeze period begins, we are working on it, but it will not be a turning point,” he said.
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Teammate Daniel Ricciardo has failed to match Norris for form, prompting McLaren to swoop for Oscar Piastri as a replacement for 2023.
Ricciardo’s struggles with the current McLaren car have been ...Keep reading
There is soon going to come a time when Pierre Gasly is at a crossroads in his career, and he is going to have some tough decisions to make regarding his future.
The Frenchman entered the pinnacle of motorsport towards the end of 2017 with Toro Rosso having won the GP2 championship the year previous, and he and Brendon Hartley were retained for 2018.
After a splendid first full season with the Red Bull junior side, the door was open at Red Bull after Daniel Ricciardo’s departure for Renault, and the now 26-year-old walked through it.
However, Gasly struggled alongside Max Verstappen in 2019, and was out-qualified 11 times in 12 races by the Dutchman.
He managed a best finish of fourth at the British Grand Prix but, in that time, Verstappen won two races and made five rostrum appearances, demonstrating his supreme ability and his comfort with the car.
Gasly simply did not have the same feel with the RB15 that his team-mate did, and constant questions every week surrounding his future, were nor helping, so he was taken out of the firing line.
Alex Albon, who was halfway through his rookie season with Toro Rosso, replaced the Frenchman, who returned to Faenza.
Demonstrating his professionalism, he continued his relationship with the team without any complaints, and he scored an emotional podium at that year’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
He has added two more podiums to his tally since then, one of the being a famous win in Monza in 2020. It was the Red Bull junior side’s second-ever win – the other one being at the same venue 12 years prior with Sebastian Vettel.
But Gasly is now in his fifth season with AlphaTauri, including the part campaigns with them in 2017 and 2019, and his career progression has stopped since the latter of those years.
The consistent performances of the Frenchman have shown that he deserves a place at a competitive team that can battle for race wins, but none of them are opening up right now.
There is the faintest possibility that Mercedes might be interested if and when Sir Lewis Hamilton decides to retire, but signs are currently pointing to him signing a new deal beyond the end of next season.
Verstappen and his current team-mate, Sergio Perez, both have contracts beyond 2023, which is when Gasly’s current deal with AlphaTauri and Red Bull run out.
Dr Helmut Marko has affirmed that his driver will not be allowed to leave before then, meaning that a move to Alpine is off the cards.
The French team are looking for a driver to replace Fernando Alonso after Oscar Piastri denied that he will be moving up to a race seat from his current reserve role next season.
This is because the Australian is thought to have signed a contract with McLaren to replace Daniel Ricciardo.
That move would likely see the eight-time race winner return to the Enstone-based side, which would not work out well for Gasly, as both of those avenues would be closed by the time his deal with AlphaTauri runs out.
‘Not surprised to be winning races’: Mike Krack on Aston Martin’s plan https://t.co/M76CyCSwGf— Formula1News.co.uk (@Formula1newsUK) August 12, 2022
He would therefore be hoping that things do not work out for one or two other drivers in the midfield, and the alternative is staying with AlphaTauri.
The Rouen-born racer has already made it clear that he does not want to carry on with Red Bull if he cannot be a part of the main fold though.
If things shake out the way Piastri and his manager Mark Webber want them to then it is tough to see a way out of AlphaTauri without leave F1 as a whole for Gasly.
There would undoubtedly be a place in Formula E, the World Endurance Championship, or even IndyCar for a driver of his talents, but Gasly deserves to be in the pinnacle of motorsport.
It is a competitive world in F1 but, if Michael Andretti wins his battle with other team bosses and gets a team entered by 2024, that could be the saving grace that Gasly needs to stay in the premier class.
Former Formula 1 driver, Hans-Joachim Stuck, has told Haas that they will not be able to find a better driver than Mick Schumacher.
The German is out of contract with Haas at the end of this season having extended his stay during a satisfactory performance over the course of his rookie year in 2021.
Neither he nor Nikita Mazepin scored points last season, and they were set to work together again to try and change that this season, before Russian president Vladimir Putin started a war on Ukraine.
Mazepin was dropped a result of Haas cutting ties with the Uralkali company through which his father, Dmitry, paid for his drive, so there was no longer any room for the 23-year-old.
Kevin Magnussen, who was set to contest another year of IMSA with Chip Ganassi, returned to the American side having left at the end of 2020, and he has generally out-performed Schumacher this season.
The Dane leads the qualifying battle 11-2, and has scored points on four occasions so far this season, putting him 10 points and four positions in front in the championship.
However, that does not tell the full story. Schumacher has finished ahead eight times in race trim, and of late, has been putting in much more consistent displays.
His points finish in Silverstone ended a drought of 31 race entries, and that was followed by another points finish in Austria after a feisty and gutsy performance there.
The 23-year-old has been beginning to show the talent that took him to the Formula 2 title in 2020, but he still does not have a contract signed for next season.
There are options for him elsewhere, with seats available at AlphaTauri, Williams, Alfa Romeo and Alpine next year, but the last thing Stuck wants for his compatriot is to be left without a drive, as it would be extremely detrimental to his career.
Lewis Hamilton reveals how Starbucks chairwoman and Star Wars director stopped him from retiring https://t.co/Pg3UtR9mVl— Formula1News.co.uk (@Formula1newsUK) August 12, 2022
“He needs to stick with it now, show himself and set an example, as he has already done this year, but not driving in Formula 1 for a year would be fatal,” he told Eurosport.
Should Schumacher fail to find a drive elsewhere, Stuck suggested that it would be ill-advised from Haas not to keep him on board.
“If for some reason it doesn’t work out for him with another team, he’ll just have to do it with Haas for another year,” added the 71-year-old.
“If Mick can’t find another cockpit, I wouldn’t understand it from Haas’ perspective, because they won’t get anyone better.
“But I’d be surprised if Mick doesn’t find a job anywhere, he shows impeccable performances which the people in charge can see. He also has a great name.
“A team looking for a young driver can do no better than signing Mick Schumacher.”
Sebastian Vettel suggested that Aston Martin sign Schumacher after he announced his retirement, but they had already agreed a deal with Fernando Alonso.
Red Bull adviser Dr Helmut Marko has affirmed that there is no get-out clause for Pierre Gasly amid links to Alpine.
The French team are looking for a replacement after Fernando Alonso was announced as an Aston Martin driver after the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Spaniard wanted a longer deal that the one on the table but, due to his age, Alpine were reluctant to do so, particularly as they wanted to free up space in the coming years for Oscar Piastri.
As a result, Alonso has made a deal with billionaire businessman Lawrence Stroll to race for him next season in place of the retiring Sebastian Vettel.
Alpine then confirmed that they had promoted Piastri to their race seat for 2022, but the Australian appears to have made other plans, and he is widely reported to have signed for McLaren to replace Daniel Ricciardo.
The Enstone-based team are adamant that they have a clause with Piastri that obliges him to race with them in 2023, but manager Mark Webber evidently feels as though he found a loophole in the contract.
Should Piastri join the British team, Gasly is one of the options Alpine could turn to, but he has a contract with AlphaTauri until the end of next season.
The 26-year-old also has a deal with Red Bull that lasts until then, after which he is free to find another team.
For now though, having extended his stay with the Faenza-based squad, Dr Marko has confirmed that the former Red Bull racer is staying put.
“There is no exit clause for Gasly, there was none before the summer break and there will be none after the summer break,” he told Sport1.
The Austrian, however, is determined to give Gasly the opportunity to win races in a competitive car that suits him.
“Pierre is very talented, he thinks everything through carefully and is very focused,” added Dr Marko.August 12, 2022
“With the right car, he can be at the forefront. That is our job now.”
AlphaTauri boss, Franz Tost, added that, should either Max Verstappen or Sergio Perez be unable to contest a race, Gasly would be the first man they would turn to.
“It makes no sense for Red Bull to let Pierre go, if a Red Bull driver fails, there is no other adequate driver who can step in – only Gasly can do that,” he explained.
Gasly has managed a best finish of fifth at this year’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but other than that, results for the Red Bull junior side have been poor this campaign.
Gasly is currently 13th in the Drivers’ Standings, with his AlphaTauri team sat eighth in the Constructors’ Championship after 13 rounds of the season.
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There is a contractual mess happening in Formula 1 right now involving Oscar Piastri and Alpine, but it is not the first one we have seen over the years
Michael Schumacher had been contracted to race for Jordan for the rest of the 1991 season having contested the Belgian Grand Prix with them, but he agreed a deal with Benetton instead.
The driver contract recognition board (CRB) was created as a result, and it is designed to carefully read over drivers’ contracts and determine their validity.
Jordan gelt as though the German, whom they had given his debut, was obliged to race with them, but Ross Brawn’s Benetton team signed him instead.
In 2005 and 2006, Jenson Button agreed deals to leave BAR and return to his first-ever team, Williams, but he was still under contract with the British-American side, so the move never materialised.
It is likely that the CRB stepped in to advise, and again when Giedo van der Garde felt as though he had a deal to race with Sauber in 2015, only for the Swiss side to go with a line-up of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr instead.
The Dutchman had initially filed a lawsuit to race with them, but ultimately opted to drop the case.
Now, Oscar Piastri and his manager, Mark Webber, believe that they have found way to wriggle out of the Australian’s contract with Alpine, and are thought to have struck a deal with McLaren.
Piastri was unhappy at being kept waiting for a loan move as Alpine waited until they knew of Fernando Alonso’s future and, when the double world champion was announced as Aston Martin’s new driver after the retirement of Sebastian Vettel, the French side promoted Piastri.
However, last year’s Formula 2 champion affirmed that he had not signed anything, and that he had no interest in joining the side in 2023.
Alpine are adamant that Piastri has a contractual obligation to join them next season, so it is possible that the case will go to court.
FIA president, Mohammed ben Sulayem, confirmed that this is a situation that the CRB need to look at.
“The FIA’s Driver Contract Recognition Board (CRB) was set up to deal with contract priority issues between drivers and F1 teams. That’s why we rely on their decision to resolve any conflict,” he tweeted.
Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer, who has criticised both Alonso and Piastri for their lack of “integrity,” conceded that he will likely have to go down the legal route to ask for compensation from Piastri.
Mick Schumacher warned that Brazilian driver could replace him at Haas in 2023 https://t.co/x9OGmj4lDr— Formula1News.co.uk (@Formula1newsUK) August 11, 2022
“Going to the High Court is over 90 per cent certain that’s what we’ll do,” he said, quoted by the Express.
“If the CRB says ‘your licence is only valid at Alpine’, and then he says ‘that’s great but I’m never driving for them, I’ll just sit out a year’, then you’ve got to go to the High Court for compensation.
“We haven’t sat down with the accountants to figure out everything we’ve spent. We will have to do that if we go to the High Court.”
Szafnauer’s affirmation that financial compensation is what he is looking for from the court case is highly indicative that he is no longer interested in having Piastri as his driver.
The Romanian-American has recently argued that Alpine have done a lot for Piastri’s career over the years, and have given him financial support during his rise, so it is only fair that he repays the Enstone-based side.
Should the 21-year-old join McLaren, Daniel Ricciardo would be the likely candidate to switch over from the British team and return to the side he left in 2020 – Szafnauer has indicated that he would be open to this.
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Hamilton felt more had to be done to try and help the drivers in W Series find opportunities further up the racing ladder off the back of their success in the championship.
“I’ve been ...Keep reading
Reigning World Champion Max Verstappen has one hand already on the 2022 Drivers’ World Championship, with the Dutchman having an emphatic 80-point advantage over Charles Leclerc.
Whilst the margin means Verstappen can sit out the entire triple-header that takes place after the summer break, and still have at least a two-point lead, ex-F1 driver David Coulthard has sent the Dutchman a serious warning.
Coulthard is certain the championship isn’t over yet, with the former Red Bull Racing driver expecting the Mercedes F1 Team to have a major impact in the second half of the season.
The Silver Arrows have worked relentlessly hard to fight their way back to the front this season, after suffering from a number of issues at the start of the season; however, after two consecutive double podiums for the team, they are certainly back in the fight for victory.
Whilst neither George Russell nor fierce 2021 rival Sir Lewis Hamilton will win the title, both can impact Verstappen’s fight with Leclerc.
Hamilton has finished on the podium at the last five races, with the seven-time World Champion having finished P2 behind Verstappen at the last couple of events.
If Mercedes get in between Verstappen and Leclerc during the races, then this could see considerable points swings between the two.
This could also benefit Scuderia Ferrari, who need a miracle to claw back Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship.
The Italian’s are 97 points behind the Austrian team, with just nine races of the 22 remaining this season.
Mercedes will be eager to interrupt Verstappen’s form, with the German’s yet to claim a race victory this season.
Mercedes have won at least one race every season since 2012, whilst Hamilton has tasted victory in every campaign he’s competed in the championship.
With this in mind, Coulthard is expecting an “intriguing” second half of the season, with Mercedes “coming back” into the picture.
“I think it’s been a great season so far,” Coulthard told Dutch website RacingNews365.
Fernando Alonso to stay at Aston Martin until 2025 https://t.co/OHGjKkLo1z— Formula1News.co.uk (@Formula1newsUK) August 11, 2022
“Ferrari have had probably the quicker qualifying car but Red Bull have had more reliability and faster race car.
“This championship looked like it was going to be nip and tuck after the first few races. But of course Max has now opened up a big lead. But it’s not over of course until it’s technically over.
“There will be a lot of intrigue I’m sure in the remaining second half of the season. Mercedes look like they’re coming back as well.”
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Despite a change of team mate, Latifi continues to lag at Williams | 2022 F1 team mate battles: Latifi vs Albon
Former Ferrari engineer, Rob Smedley, reckons that Charles Leclerc’s ability to lead the team through tough phases is something that makes him stand out.
The Scuderia have not had it easy in the last few seasons; they have in fact not won a title in any capacity since 2008.
Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen brought home the last of the 31 titles Ferrari have won between the Drivers’ and Team’s Championships 14 years ago, and the wait is continuing.
Only four times since 2008 have the Scuderia gone through a full season without winning a single race, two of which took place in as many years in 2020 and 2021.
Their last victory before 2022 had come at the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix with Sebastian Vettel and, despite eight podiums between himself, Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in the two seasons that followed, a win never materialised.
That all changed this season when Leclerc won in Bahrain, and again in Melbourne two rounds later, so it looked as though this would finally be the Italian side’s crowning moment.
However, a series of driver errors, reliability failures and, perhaps most hurtfully, strategic mistakes have taken place since then.
Leclerc and Sainz have claimed one win a piece since round three, with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez earning eight of the last 10 between them.
The mood in the Ferrari camp has fluctuated between hope and disappointment, but Smedley, like a select few before Leclerc and conjointly with him, sees the Monegasque as the glue that keeps things together.
“He, Max and [Sir] Lewis [Hamilton] are able to raise the level of the whole team, dragging others along and conveying a winning spirit,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“[It is] the same ability that Michael Schumacher had at Ferrari, when he was a catalyst, surrounded by [Jean] Todt, [Ross] Brawn and [Rory] Byrne.
“From these drivers comes the drive to react to mistakes and improve.”
Former Ferrari sporting director, Cesare Fiorio, does not believe that team principal Mattia Binotto is at fault for a lot of the misfortune that has befallen his team this year.August 12, 2022
However, the 83-year-old warned his compatriot that he needs to make changes, as having a good car is no longer the only requisite at Maranello.
“Mattia now has to find solutions so that the team works better,” explained Fiorio.
“In today’s Formula 1, everything has to work almost perfectly to win, that was different at Ferrari in the days of Todt and Schumacher.
“Ferrari sometimes had such a blatantly superior car that one or the other mistake could be concealed, that’s no longer possible today.
“However, Red Bull are a notably stronger rival than those Ferrari faced in the past.”
Charles Leclerc trails Max Verstappen by 80 points in the Drivers’ Standings, with the Red Bull team 97 in front in the teams’ conversation.
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ART Formula 2 driver Theo Pourchaire has conceded that he does not have the funding to contest another campaign in the feeder series beyond the end of this season.
Pourchaire is currently contesting his second full season, and his third overall, in F2 having raced four times with HWA towards the end of 2020.
The Frenchman has won five races in the final rung on the ladder before F1, and has perennially shown plenty of promise since his arrival.
Brazilian driver Felipe Drugovich is currently out in the lead of the standings following his lightning start to 2022, but Pourchaire has been reeling him back in since then, and is 21 points behind.
Four rounds remain of the season in F2 this year, so there are plenty of points still to fight for, and Pourchaire is very much a title contender.
A driver cannot compete in F2 after they have won it, so if Pourchaire wins it, he will likely find himself in a similar position Piastri is in now unless he can find a seat with his affiliated team for next year – Alfa Romeo.
Having been in F2 since 2020 though, the promising 18-year-old does not appear to have the means to compete in the series any more after this season.
“This is my last season in FIA F2 for sure, I won’t do another season,” he told France Racing.
“Financially, it won’t be possible. It’s not a good solution, two seasons in a championship is enough for a driver.
“If I don’t go to F1, I don’t know what I will do, we haven’t thought about that with my entourage.
“We will see, there may be several opportunities, I have four races left in FIA F2, that’s all I know. The rest, we’ll see.”
Pourchaire does not specifically focus on the pinnacle of motorsport; instead, he chooses to appreciate how far he has already come at such a young age.
“I don’t think about F1 at all! It remains a dream for me,” he added.
“I’m happy to be driving in FIA F2 already, when I look back at my career and where I come from, I think that driving in FIA F2 is already great.
“I will see, maybe one day I’ll get the opportunity, maybe I won’t.
“I don’t know if I’ll be driving in FIA F2, I don’t know if I’m going to drive in free practice, but it’s better this way, I’ll stay focused on my FIA F2 season. If there is an opportunity, I will take it.”
Zhou Guanyu is out of contract at Alfa Romeo at the end of this season, and the rookie is keen to extend his stay having cut his ties with Alpine at the start of the year.
“I haven’t talked to any teams yet,” he told Autosport.
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“I’m quite happy and settled down in Alfa Romeo.
“At the minute, at the beginning of the season, maybe I was worried about my future, but right now, I’m not too worried about the future.
“I feel that I’ve been through the point to prove myself and to be up to speed, and now it’s about to keep it there with better consistency.
“And then yeah, trying to improve a little bit step by step even more towards the end of the year.
“So far, I’m quite happy working together with this team.”
Pourchaire is not thought to be too far away from being given a run out by Alfa Romeo during one or two practice sessions in the final part of the season.
Drugovich, meanwhile, is not affiliated with any team at present, so his future after F2 if he wins the title this season is also a mystery.
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Ferrari are set to beat the clock by bringing one final upgrade before engine development is frozen until 2026.
Formula 1 underwent one of the biggest changes to the technical regulations in recent memory ahead of this season.
More or less everything changed; ground effect aerodynamics were brought back, the chassis and wings were radically altered, and the engines were changed too.
Because of the different size and shape of the chassis, the engine has to be changed to fit into it, and the teams have also been working with a new fuel philosophy.
The fuel is made up of 90 percent fossil fuels and 10 percent ethanol and, while this may not seem a big change, several alterations had to be made to accommodate the new formula.
Ferrari managed that better than most, constructing a power unit that has been capable of competing for race wins which, at the start of the season, was vital.
The combustion engine has been frozen until the end of 2025, but the teams still have time to bring upgrades to the electric side of the power unit, and this is something that Ferrari, according to the Mirror, are confident of managing.
The engines will be completely frozen as of the Belgian Grand Prix, and the Scuderia are expected to have made their final engine design before then as they seek to finalise an engine that is both fast and reliable.
However, the engines may still be worked on at the FIA’s discretion if they can prove that reliability is an issue for them.
“Modifications may be made to resolve reliability problems after approval has been granted by the FIA,” reads Article 9.5 of the technical regulations.
“The reliability problem must be clearly documented and the modification must not give any performance advantage. A summary of the modification will be circulated to all teams.”
FIA head of single seater technical matters, Nikolas Tombazis, stated at the start of the year that the provision was added in the interests of fairness.
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“When we discussed introducing the freeze, we determined that, if one was in difficulty, everyone would engage in good faith to discuss how to solve the problem, perhaps allowing for some development,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“There is no interest in sentencing someone to be left behind for four years.”
Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc have both suffered two reliability failures do far this season, with the Monegasque losing wins in Spain and Baku as a result.
This had a knock-on effect on the Monegasque’s chances of winning in Canada when he picked up a grid penalty.
Sainz was denied a potential podium when he also retired in Azerbaijan, before the Scuderia were denied a one-two when the Spaniard’s engine blew out in Austria.
The 27-year-old would subsequently pick up a penalty of his own for the French Grand Prix, which he finished fifth after Leclerc crashed from the lead.
The lost points leave Ferrari 97 points behind Red Bull in the Constructors’ Standings after 13 rounds of the season.
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