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Ferrari admits to two strategic errors after losing Imola WEC race

Ferrari has admitted to two strategic errors that cost it near-certain victory in Sunday’s Imola round of the World Endurance Championship.

Restart, #50 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen leads

Photo by: Paolo Belletti

The Italian manufacturer revealed in the aftermath of round two of the 2024 WEC that it had misinterpreted the weather forecast it received and that there was also a  breakdown in the chain of command within the team at the crucial point of the six hours when rain arrived. 

The reason why Ferrari pitted for wet tyres four laps after the majority of the rest of the Hypercar field two thirds of the way through the race was that it believed the rain was “just temporary”, said race and testing manager Giuliano Salvi. 

Salvi explained that Ferrari had been expecting the rain earlier and that it had started to distrust the forecast. 

“Sometimes you look at the radar and you think it should rain and it doesn’t, and you stop relying on the signal,” he said.  

“We thought it was the kind of situation where you don’t need to rely on the radar too much.

“We misjudged the situation, this is clear.

“We are not trying to hide anything because it was a clear mistake.”

Salvi also revealed that it had been planning to split the strategies on the two factory Ferrari 499P Le Mans Hypercars, with one going onto wets earlier and one staying on dry-weather slick tyres.  

“We need to understand this way to split didn’t go through,” he said. 

“At the moment there has not been the time to see and understand [what happened].

“We need to revise our chain of communication because we missed certain scenarios — we need to revise our procedures.”

Ferrari dominated at Imola for more than half the duration of the six-hour race after claiming a 1-2-3 in qualifying with the two factory cars split by the customer satellite team also run by AF Corse

The race turned at the end of the fourth hour when the rain came and AF Corse opted to leave James Calado and Miguel Molina in the factory cars and Yifei Ye in the independent entry out on track on slicks. 

It only reacted when it became clear that the cars on the wet-weather Michelin tyre were much quicker: Kamui Kobayashi was upwards of 10s a lap faster than the three Ferraris in the race-winning Toyota GR010 HYBRID LMH. 

The best of the Ferraris at this point of the race, the #51 car with Calado at the wheel, was nearly 90s behind the race-leading Toyota after its delayed pitstop. 

Salvi tried to stress the positives of the Imola weekend for Ferrari, which recovered to take a best result of fourth with its #50 factory entry shared by Nicklas Nielsen, Molina and Antonio Fuoco

He said that the team had made real progress since its uncompetitive showing at the Qatar season opener in March. 

“For sure we developed the car in a proper way - the car was behaving very well,” explained Salvi. 

He also insisted that there would be no blame apportioned within Ferrari for the mistakes at the weekend: “We are not pointing the finger in any way. 

"We are the same group that won the Le Mans 24 Hours last year as beginners - we win together and we lose together."

Watch: BrrrakeF1 - How IMSA use Advanced Data to Enforce the Rules

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