One look at the Formula 1 Driver’s and Constructor’s Championship tables after a handful of Grand Prixs show Ferrari is far from its level. The famous Italian rockstar of F1 has yet to lose fans due to its poor results this year, but it’s not made any new friends recently either.
For the first time, the Prancing Horse team is playing catch up on its rivals at Red Bull, Aston Martin, and Mercedes. Supporters are worried, and without any wins on the board, they’re beginning to ask when Ferrari will return to the podium’s top step. Could they go a season without winning a Grand Prix of note? That would undoubtedly be a severe fall from grace.
But few at Ferrari headquarters are panicking. Yes, results have been poor, but according to bosses, things are moving in the right direction. The optimism is there, which is good, but the top F1 betting apps have written the team off.
All the support is coming for Red Bull, who carries odds suggesting losing the championship trophies isn’t an option.
Vasseur's rallying cry
Few fans traveled to the Canadian Grand Prix expecting to see Ferrari win the race and roar back into the championship following a first and second. If a team were to pull off such a fantastic feat, it would be Ferrari, but this star isn’t as good as they once were. They’ve been so poor; critics question if they’ll ever be back to their best.
There was a glimmer of hope and light at the end of the tunnel in Canada. Ferrari didn’t win the race, but they finished fourth and fifth, adding some much-needed points. There was a time a fourth-place finish would’ve been a poor effort from a Ferrari pilot, but Charles Leclerc attracted much praise for his actions.
Speaking to the gathered press in Canada, Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur helped to settle nerves by assuring fans the team is finally headed in the right direction again. Leclerc and teammate Carlos Sainz Jr started from 10th and 11th on the grid, improving to challenge for a spot on the podium.
Max Verstappen was again the man of the moment, winning the Canadian Grand Prix. He started from pole and held his position despite two pit stops. He finished almost 10 seconds ahead of runner-up Fernando Alonso who was second in his Aston Martin. Mercedes Louis Hamilton was back on the podium, ending third.
For a Ferrari boss to consider a fifth-place finish, a decent result shows the measure of the team’s problems this season. There are a few contenders, but which performance has been the worst of the season for Ferrari?
One that sticks in our heads is Monaco, the spiritual home of F1 and a course Ferrari has enjoyed plenty of success in the past. The 2023 renewal was as exciting as ever, but Ferrari returned home with no better than a sixth place to show for the day.
It hasn’t been the season the Ferrari faithful would’ve imagined, but there have been signs that it could improve. Canada was a great example of what the Prancing Horse can do under pressure. Results and times in practice left much to be desired, but when the race began, both Leclerc and Sainz Jr proved their worth with battling efforts.
There have been a few sneaking remarks in the tabloids and fanzine websites that the pilots should shoulder more blame than the car. But Charles and Carlos proved that to be wide of the mark. They weren’t given the best ride by their F1 racers, but they did have the skill and bravery to get through the field and among the prize places.
What's next for Ferrari?
Will Ferrari get anything out of the season? A few Grand Prix wins are likely, especially later in the campaign when Red Bull’s form drops. But the team could already be looking ahead to next year.
Would it be better to write 2023 off as a learning curve and focus on using the remaining races to get things right? That is the best way forward for this beleaguered team.