Ferrari looked set for a straight shootout with Red Bull for the constructors’ championship at the start of the season, with the team flying out of the blocks with a one-two finish in Bahrain.
Mercedes on the other hand looked to be in for a midfield battle after porpoising issues saw the team lose significant ground to their rivals in the development race, lacking the pace to compete with Ferrari and Red Bull.
Reliability issues and strategical errors have not only seen the Scuderia dumped out of the title race this year, it has even seen the Silver Arrows close in on them in the championship, now breathing down their neck going into the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.
Mercedes one-two finish in Brazil has cut the cap down to 19 points and F1 legend Jacques Villeneuve has claimed that it would be embarrassing if the Scuderia lost out to a team who didn’t even look to be a part of the picture earlier in the season.
“Should Ferrari lose second spot in the constructors’ championship, it would be embarrassing,” said the 1997 title winner.
“They should have fought Red Bull – there is something there that is not right.”
The Brazilian Grand Prix once again showcased the poor decision making that has cost Ferrari so many points this year, with the Scuderia sending Carlos Sainz out on the soft tyres at the start of Q3 and Charles Leclerc on the intermediates.
This caused Leclerc to qualify P10 as the rain they expected at the start of the session did not come, forcing both drivers to drive a flawless race to recover to a P3 and P4 finish at Interlagos.
“The decision-making in qualifying was also vague,” said Villeneuve when asked about Ferrari’s performance in Sao Paulo.
“Leclerc says it is not raining but the team say it is. That came across as strange. As if there were robots sitting there just making calculations. By the way, let’s not forget both Sainz and Leclerc drove a very strong race.”
Team principal Mattia Binotto, who is currently under a lot of pressure from the Tifosi had previously suggested that he was not worried by Mercedes recent resurgence, as his team have switched their focus to 2023.
With the gap now only 19 points and the Silver Arrows looking quicker than Ferrari at the past three races, Binotto will be hoping to avoid the humiliation of being caught by Mercedes in Abu Dhabi.