Max Verstappen claimed a surprise pole position in this afternoon’s Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying session at Interlagos, setting the quickest lap time in all three sections of qualifying.
Seasons go by and the state of affairs in the Maranello-based team continue to be disappointing.
We are halfway through the 2019 Formula One season and it would now require an almost impossible sequence of events to see another contender apart from Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes from winning the Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships.
The Ferrari dilemma seems to be due to chronic problems within the team that have not been resolved yet.
We were already witnessing wrongly timed pit-stop calls in the days of Fernando Alonso, which deprived him from comfortable race wins – and in the recent past, this has been happening again.
Ferrari’s 2019 car philosophy is considered to be a low-downforce one with a top-performing engine providing top speeds through straights.
The team should always favour a holistic approach while developing solutions for the car, and it shouldn’t compartmentalise the development process.
Despite a very encouraging pre-season test, once again, the Scuderia have failed to dominate races and eventually achieve much-needed wins.
A change in personnel would not improve the situation.
The people within the team are already competent enough to understand the limitations of the car.
However, there needs to be more positivity within the team. Sebastian Vettel came in as a breath of fresh air for the Scuderia. I still recall his first races when he kept on motivating all mechanics and strategists despite being behind Mercedes in the championship ladder.
Since the end of last season, Vettel is no longer the catalyst of the team. His continuous failure to deliver on critical occasions coupled with team strategy mistakes have further complicated the situation.
Charles Leclerc is still in his maiden season and while he has been satisfactory so far, it is still premature for him to lead the most prestigious team in motorsport.
The time is now for the Scuderia to be as strong as possible internally and believing in each other’s capabilities to maximise the chances of challenging for race wins.
Three years ago, the Mercedes engine was outperforming Ferrari’s. This hurdle has now been overcome for Ferrari but a proper engine-to-aerodynamics balance should be found in this year’s car to close the gap as much as possible to Mercedes.
Here’s hoping for a far better second half of the season from Ferrari.