F1 – Reliability at half-mast, withdrawals for Leclerc and Sainz: Scuderia Ferrari under doubt after Baku fiasco

Maranello’s bells no longer ring. As if happiness were forbidden to Ferrari and its fans. As if the immense joy brought by Charles Leclerc’s two victories in three races had exhausted the share of satisfactions destined for the transalpine team for 2022. In Baku, on Sunday afternoon, the Escuderia lived hell despite a pole masterfully detached the day before.

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

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Once again for Leclerc

And that’s not all: Kevin Magnussen’s Haas and Guanyu Zhou’s Alfa Romeo, two Ferrari-powered cars, stopped on the track. Four cars out of service in one race. A dark day. “Words are hard to findadmitted the Monegasque driver after pulling out of his car in a column of smoke. I lost power without knowing what happened. The motivation is still there, but it hurts … “

The pill is hard to swallow for Leclerc, although first place in Azerbaijan seemed promised to one of the two Red Bulls, faster in a straight line. The performance is there for those who carry Ferrari on their shoulders since their arrival in 2019. Dominating Bahrain and Melbourne, the representative of the Principality draws the quintessence of his SF-75 in each of its departures despite popular pressure surrounds Italian renewal.

Proof of this is that he is accumulating pole positions, overtaking Max Verstappen in this weekend’s timed lap exercise. In the race, however, he cannot count on the support of his teammate, who often takes off. It is impossible for transalpine engineers, therefore, to establish team strategies as their Red Bull counterparts know so well.

Messy strategy, reliability problem …

If he has made few mistakes this season, except for Imola, Leclerc still finds himself in embarrassing situations on Sundays. Especially from the three entrances. When Italian engineers do not sink, it is the car that acts. First in Monaco two weeks ago, the poor choices of his team ruined his performance. Leading Barcelona in early May, he threw in the towel with a mechanical problem. Rebelote in Baku, this Sunday. Before abandonment, however, the idea of ​​allowing the Monegasque to benefit from the free stop offered by the virtual security car was interesting. But his pit stop was too long (5.4).

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

“We were fast in the first part of the season, without reporting any reliability issues. Now it seems we have a little more, although we haven’t made any big changes. At the moment it’s hard to understand, we have to analyze the what of how “criticized Leclerc, ranked third at the 2022 World Cup, on the microphone of Sky Sports.

Binotto asks for patience

Mattia Binotto has become a firefighter to deactivate the situation. first for Sky Sports : “It’s a concern. Reliability is always a key factor in the battle. We’ve worked hard to develop the car over the winter, but we’ve shown that we’re not entirely reliable yet. There’s still work to be done. We weren’t euphoric. beginning of season, now we don’t give up “.

Before giving after sales service to our colleagues Canal +, indicating that the team must remain united, as must the drivers. “We’re not going to dramatize. What happened is really a shame, we have to try to solve these problems, but we’ve done a good job of getting this far, and we’re going to work so hard to get stronger. Sometimes we have to be patient. “, concluded the head of the Scuderia. What he wanted to reassure about the abandonment of Zhou (Alfa Romeo), which would not be linked “to (our) components”.

Still overwhelmed by Red Bull, Ferrari seems to have stalled in the race for the drivers ‘and constructors’ world titles, which had eluded them since 2007 (Kimi Räikkonen) and 2008 respectively. To make matters worse, the ninth race, held at the other end of the world, in Montreal, is already pointing the nose. This promises a restless summer in Maranello …

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