Ferrari address ‘misconception’ as they make Red Bull claim

Ferrari mysteriously dropped off the pace of Red Bull towards the end of the season.

2022 was an extremely odd season for Ferrari, who started the year with perhaps the best overall package.

The F1-75 got going in stunning fashion, with Charles Leclerc having claimed two wins from the opening three rounds.

As well as being incredibly quick over one lap, the Ferrari drivers were strong over a race distance, after having better tyre degradation than Red Bull.

Red Bull struggled with tyre deg at the start of the year, as a result of the RB18 being considerably heavier than Ferrari’s F1-75.

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Interestingly, though, as the season went on, Red Bull began to have a better package than Ferrari, certainly over race distance.

The RB18 also became better than the F1-75 at looking after its tyres, something that happened when Red Bull reduced the weight of the car.

Given how strong Ferrari were for the first half of the season, many began to wonder why the Italians were falling so far behind Red Bull, with some questioning if it was down to tyre deg.

Jock Clear, Ferrari’s senior performance engineer, labelled this theory as a “misconception”, with the true reason having been that the team struggled for “ultimate pace”.

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“I think that’s a misconception to be honest,” said Clear, as per

“I think what we’ve struggled with is ultimate pace. We’ve got two drivers who got used to 12/13 races at the beginning of the year where they could fight toe-to-toe with Red Bull.

“Red Bull pulled out a little bit of a two-tenth gap, which meant that we weren’t quite able to nail the pole positions. So we were playing a little bit of catch up.

“And, of course, then you’re trying to race a car that’s actually quicker than you, and that will just manifest itself in tyre deg I’m afraid. So we don’t think that’s a big issue for us.”

Clear added that actually Red Bull’s and Ferrari’s tyre wear was incredibly equal at the venues where they demonstrated similar pace, without ‘thrashing’ the Pirelli rubber.

“Over the course of the year, when the cars were balanced, our tyre deg was slightly better than Red Bulls,” he said.

“But now [at the end of the season] we’re suffering from Charles going out there and just trying to keep up with Red Bull. And unfortunately, it’s a slightly quicker car.

“You just thrash your tyres a little bit too much, trying to hang on to it. And of course, it’s very difficult for Charles to say: ‘Okay, I can’t keep up, I’m just gonna let him go.’ He’s a racing driver. That’s not going to happen.

“So you’re just using a bit too much juice and you pay for that in the long stints.”

Ferrari will be wanting to get back onto level terms with Red Bull next season, with Leclerc having explained his verdict on how the Maranello-based team can do just that.

The Monegasque does think his side need to delve into “tyre management”, but that they also made “too many mistakes” throughout the season.

“Reliability has been a problem at one point of the season, which we paid the price for later on with penalties and other things,” Leclerc said at the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

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“Strategy, I think we’ve done too many mistakes at one point of the season, and tyre management, we haven’t been consistent enough at our 100 percent.

“Abu Dhabi was a good race but we also sometimes have very bad races and we don’t seem to have the understanding yet of how to have a good tyre management all the time.

“These are the three key aspects in which we are focusing on at the moment.”