How Ferrari missed its big chance to end a painful F1 wait
When Charles Leclerc built a 46-point gap over Max Verstappen after three races of the season, expectation soared in Maranello - only to deflate amid embarrassing capitulation that prompted the departure of team boss Mattia Binotto. Unreliability, strategy errors and driver errors all had their part to play as the team faced an unexpectedly close challenge to hold onto second in the constructors' standings
Ferrari has moved to replace its team principal with former Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur. That’s how badly the wheels fell off its oh-so-promising title challenge. Perplexing strategy and the legacy of ruinous unreliability were the main culprits in a highly anticipated chess match giving way to a Red Bull monopoly.
The goalposts moved for the Prancing Horse when its svelte F1-75 initially came up trumps. It was lighter than its rivals out of the blocks. That agility paid off handsomely at lower speeds and enabled strong corner-exit driveability to fire it rapidly onto the straights to keep the Red Bull RB18 and its higher top speed at bay. Although the boardroom-level expectation had been for Ferrari to be a regular race winner in 2022, a victory for Charles Leclerc in Bahrain and his utter domination in Australia soon made it clear that there was capacity to dethrone Max Verstappen to end a Maranello title drought dating back to 2008.
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