Ferrari staring down F1 'disaster' after dire opening races

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel is pictured looking at notes ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari are facing a long road back to F1 contention after their poor pace was badly exposed over the first three rounds of the 2020 season. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Formula One heavyweights Ferrari and feeder team Alfa Romeo are feeling the pinch after a disastrous first three rounds of the interrupted 2020 season.

After back to back races in Austria and last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, Ferrari have been shown to be well off the pace in the race as well as qualifying - leading to an uphill battle for drivers Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel.

'HE IS FIGHTING': Former boss' rare update on Michael Schumacher

‘POORLY INFORMED’: Racing Point savage Renault protest

While Leclerc’s collision with Vettel in the Styrian Grand Prix (the second race held at the Austrian circuit) resulted in a double DNF finish for the Ferrari, it’s their dramatic loss of pace compared to the 2019 season that has team principal Mattia Binotto concerned.

“After three races, it's clear that we are in worse shape than we expected and we need to react without delay,” Binotto told the official F1 website.

“The entire car project has to be revised, while taking into consideration the limits currently imposed by the regulations.

“I am well aware there is no magic wand in Formula One, but we have to step up a gear to turn things around, both in the short and the long term.

“It might also be necessary to look at our organisation to improve and strengthen our working methods where the need is greatest.

“But first, as a team, we need to understand the dynamic that led to this situation.”

Ferrari searching for answers after first three F1 rounds

Speculation has swirled around the team after their early struggles, leading Binotto to point out that ‘it’s not by sacking people that you make a car go faster’.

Despite this, the reality of the gap between Ferrari and leading team Mercedes is not lost on the team’s leader.

Compared to last year’s competitive package, Binotto said Ferrari’s 2020 car was lacking in almost every area.

“We are lacking speed on the straights, lacking speed on cornering. Overall, the car has to be improved in all the areas. It's as simple as that.

“It's not something that a simple trick will address it, or a simple solution or package. It will take time. How long? I don't have the answer yet.”

Ferrari junior team Alfa Romeo also struggling

Former Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, who won his only drivers’ championship with the team in 2007, said the Hungarian GP had been a ‘disaster’ for Alfa Romeo, who he signed with at the end of the 2018 season.

Alfa Romeo and American team Hass both use the Ferrari-designed engines, which have been lacking in power compared to their Mercedes-engineered rivals.

Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen speaks during a press conference at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Kimi Raikkonen says the Ferrari-engined Alfa Romeo team have to work had to rediscover their solid performances from 2019. (Photo by - / POOL / AFP) (Photo by -/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“It has been a disaster but we just have to do things better,” Raikkonen said.

“And we have to make the car faster — as simple as that.

“It wasn’t a very busy race for me. Unfortunately, starting where we did meant we had a very difficult job ahead of us. We did what we could but it wasn’t enough for points.”