Ferrari boss warns Leclerc and Sainz could suffer reliability-induced DNFs like Verstappen

Mattia Binotto maintains that Ferrari must keep a keen eye on reliability if they are to sustain a title challenge this year.

Following three reliability-induced retirements for Red Bull in the early going of the season, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has emphasised the importance of having a reliable car.

Both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez retired from the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix in the closing stages while the Scuderia claimed a one-two finish through Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, their first since 2019.

The Dutchman would once again suffer a devastating early culmination of his race in Australia last weekend, denying Red Bull a double podium as Perez inherited his team-mate position and ended the race in second.

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As a result, the Milton Keynes side find themselves 49 points behind Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship.

Ferrari themselves suffered from reliability issues in 2017 and 2018 when Sebastian Vettel’s title challenges tailed off and they succumbed to the dominance of Mercedes and Sir Lewis Hamilton.

Binotto is therefore acutely aware of the significance of sustaining performance while also enduring that both cars consistently make it to the end of races.

“Reliability is part of the performance I think to finish first, first you need to finish,” he said, quoted by GPFans.

“The reliability is a key element of the performance itself and I think that as a team, we put a priority on it.”

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Carlos Sainz was the unfortunate recipient of a great deal of misfortune last weekend when a red flag and starter problem denied him the chance to set a representative lap time in qualifying.

Starting the race ninth, the Spaniard then needed a steering wheel change moments before the race commenced, causing the anti-stall to kick in on the grid.

He lost five positions as a result, and he overestimated the grip he would have in his assertion to climb back up the order, causing him to spin out of the grand prix.

Binotto would like to keep issues like the ones the 27-year-old endured to a minimum, re-emphasising there is little worth to having exquisite pace if the car is unreliable.

“We know it may be that it will happen to ourselves as well, not to finish races, and that is part of the job, of the game, but it is something we are keeping a very high priority on,” he explained.

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“At the end of the championship, will that be a key factor? Certainly, it will be, as the overall performance is a key factor. I think all the elements need to be in place, properly in place, to join the championship.”

Ferrari lead Mercedes by 39 points in the Constructors’ Championship after two wins in the first three rounds from Leclerc, who leads George Russell by 34 points in the Drivers’ Standings.