Ferrari president dismisses theory as he sets new target for Mattia Binotto

Ferrari trail Red Bull by a huge margin in the championship, with Mercedes close behind in P3.

Ferrari chairman, John Elkann, does not believe that the technical directive (TD) introduced midway through this season had any bearing on his team’s performance.

Ferrari are Red Bull have won all 16 races between them this year, but 12 of them have gone to the Milton Keynes duo of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

Charles Leclerc has won three – two of which came in the opening three rounds of the year – while Carlos Sainz took his maiden win in Silverstone.

Verstappen, since Leclerc’s fast start to the season, has taken his tally up to 11 wins for the year, and he is now well on course for his second title.

READ: Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz handed major boost for Singapore GP

It has not all been plain sailing, and he has, at times, been the beneficiary of some huge errors from the Scuderia.

Strategically, the Prancing Horses have been making almost comical mistakes, and poor reliability has not helped their cause either. 

Between them, Leclerc and Sainz have started on pole 10 times in 2022, and it looked, certainly before the Belgian Grand Prix, as though they had the quicker race car.

Execution was letting them down, but has the TD also thrown a spanner in the works?

Article continues below

At the behest of Mercedes, the FIA made changes to the regulations midway through the year to limit “porpoising” and bouncing, as the aerodynamic phenomenon was becoming dangerous.

However, they also made changes to the floors, and the reduction of movability within the wooden plank was predicted by some to prove detrimental to Red Bull and Ferrari.

The Austrian side’s dominant performance in Spa showed that it had almost done quite the opposite to them, but Leclerc and Sainz, as well as Mercedes, lagged well behind.

Since then, more competitive performances have been on offer from Leclerc and Sainz, so Elkann suggests that Red Bull have simply done a better job this year.

“I don’t think a team wins or loses because of the referees or the rules,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I think that in sport the stronger player wins on the pitch or on the track and the stronger the opponents, the greater the satisfaction of doing well and winning.”

Having failed to win a race in either of the last two years, Ferrari can take heart from the fact that they are back at the pointy end of the grid. 

“Our car is competitive again, we must have the humility and the awareness of knowing where we are now and the courage and determination to improve,” explained Elkann.

“As our founder [Enzo Ferrari] said just before leaving us, ‘Whoever follows in my footsteps inherits a very simple doctrine, to keep alive the desire for progress’.

“Of course, after the first grand prix, it seemed legitimate to dream, but we must remain humble and let the results speak for themselves.”

The Italian-American affirmed that it is easier to make a fast car reliable, than a slow and reliable car fast.

“We have aimed to be competitive first and foremost, if you are not competitive you have no margins, while you can work on reliability,” added Elkann.

“This is why I am confident that between now and 2026 Ferrari will return to winning a Constructors’ and Drivers’ World Championship. We could succeed sooner.

READ: Max Verstappen jumps to defence of Michael Masi’s replacement

“We’ve had 20 years of fasting given that our last Drivers’ Championship dates back to 2007 and the Constructors’ Championship to 2008.

“We are fortunate to have two great drivers at the wheel, probably the strongest duo in Formula 1.”

Ferrari are all but out of contention for both titles at this stage, and they are even under pressure from Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, as Mercedes look to trouble them for second in the championship.