‘Something very strange is happening at Ferrari’

Ferrari are currently fourth in the Constructors' Championship following a disappointing start to the 2023 F1 season.

Former Renault team principal Flavio Briatore has slammed Ferrari over their disappointing performances, with the Italians’ 2023 season having started woefully.

After enduring countless issues last year, Ferrari were tipped to enter this season with a bang; however, they’ve once again experienced the wrong type of explosive start.

Ferrari have already suffered multiple engine-based failures, with Charles Leclerc having taken a 10-place grid penalty at last weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, following his engine failure in Bahrain.

Leclerc astonishingly got through his two legal sets of control electronics at the season-opener, both of which failed.

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It was due to his second set failing that he was forced to retire from the race and take a grid penalty into the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

Given that he’s already exceeded his legal number of control electronics, the likelihood is that the Monegasque will be slapped with further grid penalties throughout the season, severely impacting his title chances.

As it stands, Ferrari are nowhere near the title fight, with the side having arguably slipped to fourth in the pecking order on race pace.

It looks all but certain that the Maranello-based team’s search for a first title since 2008 will continue beyond this season, with Briatore believing that something “very strange” is occurring at the historic side.

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“It is not now that something very strange is happening at Ferrari this year,” Briatore said on Italian radio.

“How many years since they won the title? Last year the start was good, but then the FIA changed the rules and suddenly the team was no longer competitive.”

Ferrari had absolutely no response to Red Bull, Aston Martin, or Mercedes in Saudi Arabia, with Carlos Sainz and Leclerc having claimed sixth and seventh respectively.

Pace on the harder compounds appears to be a real issue for the team currently, with both Sainz and Leclerc having struggled whilst on the hard compound during the second half of the Saudi Arabian GP.

It’s not just on-track, though, where Briatore believes Ferrari have issues, with the Italian having questioned the team’s strategy off the circuit, as well as their decision last season not to show preference to Leclerc.

READ: Charles Leclerc reacts to Lewis Hamilton rumours

“If I had been part of Ferrari, I would have laid down for those rule changes. Politically, the team also has to take a closer look,” added Fernando Alonso’s co-manager.

“Moreover, the previous CEO only wanted Italians to work at Ferrari. That’s not going to work in an international sport like Formula 1. That makes no sense at all.

“Last year, in my opinion, the team should have put everything on Leclerc, because the world title is only won by one driver. He felt better in the Ferrari car, so then you have to put all your money on him.”