Ferrari started the season with a powerful statement of intent, with Charles Leclerc taking pole, victory and fastest lap in a dominating display in Bahrain to kick off their championship challenge. But since then, reliability issues, strategy errors and driver errors have cost the team dearly as they have moved away from Red Bull. But team boss Mattia Binotto insists there is no need for the team to change their approach when the second half of the season kicks off in Belgium.
The Scuderia are chasing a first drivers’ title since Kimi Raikkonen won it in 2007, with a whole succession of top drivers coming and going since then without managing to clinch the trophy – including Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.
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But this season things looked different – a really fast and winning car, and two talented young drivers in Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
It’s Binotto’s fourth season in charge – and despite growing pressure, exacerbated by a string of poor strategic calls and questionable reliability, he remains confident his side are on the right track.
“There’s nothing to change, I think it’s always about trust, learning, building, building experience, building skills,” he said after the Grand Price from Hungary when asked what could happen for the team to capitalize on their often superior. running pace.
“But if I look again at the results of the first half of the season, there is no reason for us to change. I think we just have to understand [Hungary] and address that and try to be competitive, like we’ve been in 12 races so far. There’s no reason for us not to be [competitive] next.
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Binotto was keen to point out that the team’s disappointing Hungarian Grand Prix, where Sainz came fourth and Leclerc fifth, was an isolated incident – the first time this season “we didn’t have the speed”, rather than a outcome of the strategy. calls that were later interviewed by their primary driver.
And it has to be said that the team weren’t helped by some high-profile errors from Leclerc, most recently in France when he crashed out in the lead.
But looking ahead, there are just nine races left for the team to attempt to overturn Red Bull’s 97-point lead in the constructors’ championship, while Leclerc are 80 points behind Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings and risk losing second place. place to Sergio Perez.
“I think he builds for the team and for himself and he sees every race as a single opportunity to win,” Binotto continued when asked about Leclerc’s state of mind before the start. next shopping glut.
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“We all win and lose together, [Hungary] wasn’t great, the last race wasn’t great, but I think there was a lot of potential. I think we need to focus on reason first [for the lack of speed in Hungary]tackle it and come back even stronger.
The fight for the championship resumes at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps at the end of August.