Ex-Aston Martin chief blasts ‘unacceptable’ Ferrari

Former Aston Martin strategy chief Bernie Collins has slammed Ferrari following the 2023 British GP.

Bernie Collins, the former strategy chief of Aston Martin, has expressed his disappointment with Ferrari’s performance at the British Grand Prix, where the team finished a lowly ninth and tenth, behind a Williams car. 

While acknowledging mitigating circumstances, Collins deemed the result “borderline unacceptable” from a team performance perspective.

Despite starting the race with Charles Leclerc in fourth and Carlos Sainz in fifth, Ferrari’s strategy decisions came into question as the drivers failed to capitalize on their grid positions. 

Leclerc was forced into a two-stop strategy, pitting on lap 17, much earlier than other top-10 runners, while Sainz was also put on hard tires, contrary to the rest of the field opting for a medium-soft strategy due to lower degradation.

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

The team’s strategy choices led to Leclerc being stuck behind the Williams of Alex Albon during a late-race Safety Car restart, preventing him from making progress within the DRS train. 

On the other hand, Sainz lost three positions in just one lap. 

Collins believes that Ferrari’s failure to adapt to the lower temperatures and degradation during the race could be attributed to Leclerc’s electrical problem in Friday’s second practice, which hindered their preparations.

Collins analyzed Ferrari’s decision-making, saying, “They stuck, they were one of the few teams along with McLaren who stuck to the medium-hard strategy, despite evidence showing throughout the race that probably the medium-soft strategy in terms of lower degradation was better.” 

Article continues below

She also mentioned factors such as the lack of long-run data due to Leclerc’s limited running on Friday and the high tire degradation observed during practice sessions.

The concern of being undercut by Mercedes led Ferrari to push Leclerc to pit early, which resulted in a longer stint on the hard tires. 

However, none of Leclerc’s rivals reacted to his stop, and when the Safety Car was deployed due to Kevin Magnussen’s incident, Leclerc was the only driver in the top-10 needing to make a second pit stop.

Collins further explained, “They’ve already done 14 laps on these hard tires. 

“So that just compounded the issue for the car. 

“But Silverstone historically has a very high risk of Safety Car, so you need to be open to the possibility of a Safety Car coming at some point in the race and you need to be ready or in your best position for that.”

While Collins acknowledged Ferrari’s concerns about being undercut by Mercedes, she pointed out that they overlooked the fact that the tire degradation was lower due to the lower track temperature on race day. 

She speculated that using the soft tires may have caused excessive degradation for Ferrari. 

READ: Helmut Marko makes Lando Norris admission

Nonetheless, Collins emphasised that the disappointment falls upon the entire team and not solely on the strategy team.

Collins expressed his belief that Ferrari’s struggles lie in the communication and decision-making processes within the team. 

She noted that decisions take too long to be made, with too much reliance on seeking opinions, authority, and discussions before reaching conclusions.