Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has answered the question that was on all Ferrari fans lips: why are they suddenly so slow?
The Mexican Grand Prix last Sunday was certainly not one worth remembering for the Scuderia, after Carlos Sainz crossed the line in a lonely fifth place, 58 seconds behind winner Max Verstappen.
Charles Leclerc was astonishingly even further behind, after ending the race just over a minute behind the Dutchman in sixth.
It summed up a quiet weekend at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez for the Maranello-based team, who were comfortably beaten by Mercedes.
Ex-F1 driver Vitaly Petrov was one of many to wonder what had happened to the Italians, with it seemingly appearing like they’d “just abandoned” their 2022 car.
“It’s unclear what is happening to Ferrari,” former F1 driver Vitaly Petrov said.
“Perhaps they have just abandoned the development of the car, realising that they need to concentrate on next season,” the Russian added. “I think many teams have chosen a similar tactic.
“Perhaps Red Bull too, as you can see that other teams have come closer to the leader in terms of speed.”
Sainz somewhat admitted to the team almost forgetting about the F1-75, especially as both championships are already decided.
The Spaniard revealed that the team are designing a “new car” for 2023 but are definitely expecting to see “Mercedes” in the leading battle with them next year.
“It will be a new year, a new car, new rules for the floor. A new chance for us,” said the Spaniard.
“This is a new opportunity for us. I believe that we will draw conclusions from the results of this season, and the team will build a great new car.
“I am ready to fight and I look forward to progress from Mercedes too. It looks like they will join us in this battle,” Sainz added.
Mercedes have certainly found some speed as of late, with Lewis Hamilton having achieved back-to-back second place finishes at the United States and Mexico.
It’s a step in the right direction for the Silver Arrows, with it just being a shame for the Germans that it’s come so late in the year.
A Mercedes engineer has revealed that the team are “wasting a lot of resources” trying to understand why they’ve struggled this season, with the Brackley-based team also set to introduce a whole new car next season.
“We risked wasting a lot of resources, and not just financially, to understand why the concept seemed fast in the factory but didn’t work on the track,” a Mercedes engineer is quoted as saying.
“We wanted to fully understand the W13 to be able to work at full speed on a completely different W14.”
Binotto has put Mercedes continuing to develop their 2021 car down as the reason why they appear faster than the Italians now, with the Scuderia having already “stopped development” for the year.
Ferrari certainly appear to be determined to get their 2023 car and strategy correct, given their embarrassing errors this year.
Interestingly, Binotto explained that the team had to stop developing the F1-75 to keep within the budget cap, something that Mercedes may well be running very close to.
“We know that we stopped development on our car quite early, focussing instead on 2023,” Binotto said.
“Somehow, I’m not too concerned by the rate of development because I know when we stopped developing.
“Mercedes have developed the car more than us while we stopped, so I’m not too worried about them. Surely there would have been more potential to be extracted, but there was not the financial availability of the budget cap to do it.”