I want to start with some good news: I spent some time in the Monegasque paddock and found a good atmosphere among the Rossoneri walls of the hospitality Ferrari. Many greetings, many smiles, a fair amount of expectations. Until today, Sunday. When on the day of Verstappen’s triumph the i chronic problems of the SF-23. And if it is true that Max gave almost half a minute to a splendid one Alonso – hampered in spite of himself by an unnecessary tire change in hindsight – it is also true that the first of the Reds, that of Charles, took a full minute. But above all, once again, on the day when there was no Red Bull on the podium, who can we find? The little horse? No, the Alpine star of Or with. And close to the podium? The Mercedes, which also with Russell have not been free from errors. Sixth and eighth in the race of great opportunities is anything but a positive balance.
The trials have already started at strategies. But unlike a year ago, this time the troubles start from afar, not from sensationally wrong decisions at the low wall. Of course, Leclerc could have moved straight to the intermediates and in retrospect it would have been a winning move, but who would have felt like risking it at that moment? I think Leclerc was right when he explained that in such cases, that is when the weather is uncertain, it almost always pays more to wait, perhaps a Safety Car. As for Sainz, he certainly made too many mistakes in his vain attacks on the Alpine. Whenever a pilot breaks a vertical drift, or endplate, of the front wing, makes me laugh thinking of all the studies, profiles and curls of that part of the bodywork: and then if it blows away the car goes as before (although it is true that in Monaco only the load counts, not the actual aerodynamic performance). Carlos was pardoned by the marshals, because waiting for the wreckage to fall on the asphalt isn’t great for his colleagues. And then he was wrong at Mirabeau. He has seemed a little strange to me these days, with his gaze often fixed on nothing. However, his self-criticism for having entered the ‘wrong’ circle seems excessive to me. Rather, his tirade about not being ahead of Ocon after the pit stop denotes a exaggerated nervousness.
Charles points out the real problem
In my day the Ferrari weather was followed by an Australian, Roger Badham, already an expert on winds in the America’s Cup. This weekend the team made the same mistake as all the others, that of underestimating the amount of rain coming. Perfectly apt, however, by Grande Capo Nuvola Grigia Vanzini, in the legitimate search for something that would enliven the second part of a discounted race. But while Verstappen, in a solitary breakaway, was able to afford a flexible strategy, keeping the tires (medium!) until it was time to switch to grooved treads, Ferrari suffered as much and more than the other terrestrials. Charles pointed it out again, this chronic tire management problem of this year’s project. In Monaco you can’t talk about degradation and even less about wear, if anything about graining, but that was everyone’s problem. I reviewed worrying similarities with the 2016 single-seater, who in Monaco already seemed to have pole in his pocket until Q3, only to collapse at the slightest change in temperature. And it might as well be said right away: this negative feature does not bode well for Barcelona at all.
Saturday’s mistake is an alarm
Of course, if Charles had started at least from the second row, given his potential on the qualifying lap, we would have seen another film. All in all, today’s podium reflects the position of the leaders on the starting grid. But the penalty was all there: on Saturday, in the tunnel, the no. 16 was on its trajectory and what’s more, the flashing rear light indicated that it was recovering energy. The teams’ GPS doesn’t allow you to judge whether a car is on the right or left, but you can see very well if another one is coming behind at full speed (Norris’s). The pilot accused the ‘bad timing‘, which means they kept him on track at the wrong time. In addition to the tyres, the other management to be improved at Ferrari is that of traffic. It’s never easy in Monaco, but once again there were those who did better. And Fred Vasseur knows this, John Elkann knows it, everyone knows it. There’s a ‘remote garages‘ used below its potential, there are protocols and roles to be reviewed. And this, despite being a complicated process, is in any case easier than restoring competitiveness to a machine – at this point we can say – decidedly born badly.
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