Ex-Formula 1 driver David Coulthard has put Ferrari’s 2022 woes down to not being “match fit”, with the Italians having not been in a title fight for several years.
Last season was a frustrating one for Ferrari, with the team having started the campaign so emphatically, with Charles Leclerc having won two of the opening three rounds of the championship.
This quickly saw Ferrari and Leclerc labelled as title favourites, a label which seemingly got the better of the Maranello-based side.
Reliability woes, strategic blunders, and driver errors ridiculed their 2022 season, with all of the areas needing to be worked on for Ferrari to fight for the title this year.
“There might be an element of just not being match fit, having not operated at that level [for a while],” Coulthard told Mirror Sport.
“Ferrari are the most famous name in Formula 1, and have been the longest running members so there might be an element of mass fatigue as well.”
Ferrari managed to make mistakes in 2022 no matter if there was pressure or not, with the Italians having more often than not been their worst enemy.
The team appeared to not realise just how good the F1-75 was, with an extravagant strategy not always being needed like it was when they fought in the midfield.
To fight Red Bull, Ferrari need to be as consistent as the Austrians, who rarely put a foot wrong when it comes to strategy.
If the Scuderia trust in their package and their drivers more, then 2023 could be their year, with Coulthard believing the side have the “right talent” to fight for their first title since 2008.
“I believe in Ferrari – not in the mystique but in the lap time,” said the former Red Bull driver.
“They’ve had the qualifying world championship [in 2022], and their car has been exceptional. Charles [Leclerc] was their lead driver for the majority of the year in terms of being able to exploit that performance and I do feel the car has been coming stronger towards the end of the year.
“I believe in the drivers and that, because they’ve designed that car at that pace, they’ve got the right talent in the team to iron out the issues they have had. So, with all of that, Ferrari have got to be lined up for the championship in ‘23.
“Not based on it just being a red car with a prancing horse, but based on what they’ve got on their hands – a very fast Grand Prix car and two very fast and motivated drivers.
“So, in 2023, they have to be targeting the world championship and I think they can achieve their goals, if they can iron out the issues that are blatantly obvious to everyone.
“I would like to believe that we are going to have a three-way title battle next year. As strong as Max has been, we are where we are in the closing stages of the  season which are the foundations of next year. So that, to me, feels like we’re a lot closer than we were at the beginning of the year.”