F1: What do Ferrari need to end year-long Formula 1 winless run ahead of Hungarian Grand Prix?

Ferrari have gone over a year without victory in Formula 1; watch all sessions from the Hungarian GP live on Sky Sports F1; Qualifying on Saturday at 3pm and lights out for the race on Sunday at 2pm; F1 Juniors will be live on Sunday on Sky Showcase and Sky Sports Mix

Last Updated: 19/07/23 2:27pm

Sky F1's Bernie Collins suggests the strategy team at Ferrari do not have enough authority to make decisions after another poor showing at the British Grand Prix. You can listen to the latest episode of the Sky Sports F1 Podcast now

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Sky F1’s Bernie Collins suggests the strategy team at Ferrari do not have enough authority to make decisions after another poor showing at the British Grand Prix. You can listen to the latest episode of the Sky Sports F1 Podcast now

Sky F1’s Bernie Collins suggests the strategy team at Ferrari do not have enough authority to make decisions after another poor showing at the British Grand Prix. You can listen to the latest episode of the Sky Sports F1 Podcast now

With Ferrari having gone a full year without a Grand Prix victory, Sky Sports F1 assess what the Italian squad need to put an end to their barren streak. 

A year ago this week, Ferrari were coming off the back of successive Grand Prix victories with genuine hope that Charles Leclerc could push Max Verstappen all the way in the battle for the drivers’ title.

Leclerc had followed up team-mate Carlos Sainz’s maiden F1 win at Silverstone with his third triumph of the season, and while there were imperfections with reliability and strategy, there was plenty to be positive about.

Since then, there have been few moments of joy for the Tifosi – with a winless end to the season seeing team principal Mattia Binotto sacked at the end of the year.

Given Ferrari’s considerable pace, particularly during the first half of the 2022 campaign, there was huge positivity around their prospects of a 2023 challenge, with newly-appointed boss Frederic Vasseur bullish in clarifying his pre-season target was to win titles.

However, those hopes rapidly faded in a dismal start to the campaign which exposed major issues with tyre degradation, along with a continuation of the strategy failings that had plagued the previous campaign.

With Verstappen well on his way to a third successive drivers’ title after 10 successive Red Bull wins to begin the season, any thoughts of titles for Ferrari are firmly forgotten, and the immediate goal is to get back on the top step of the podium.

Ferrari are fourth in the constructors' championship ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix

Ferrari are fourth in the constructors’ championship ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix

Win the development race

Before thinking about overhauling Red Bull’s mightily impressive RB19, or the Red Bull car that follows next year, Vasseur has said Ferrari most focus on emerging as the top team from the chasing pack.

They currently sit fourth in the constructors’ standings, trailing Mercedes and Aston Martin, while McLaren have just catapulted themselves into podium contention after their upgraded MCL60 took Lando Norris to second at the British Grand Prix.

It is a fierce battle that seems to swing from race to race depending on track characteristics and which team has brought the most effective upgrades on any given weekend.

Vasseur believes his team are making progress, but Ferrari rarely seem to be have been able to string together all elements required for a successful weekend, with the second Leclerc took at the Canadian Grand Prix in June their biggest success.

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were left disappointed following an underwhelming British GP for Ferrari

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Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were left disappointed following an underwhelming British GP for Ferrari

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were left disappointed following an underwhelming British GP for Ferrari

As is the case for all of the teams trying to close the gap to Red Bull, attention will have already begun to swing towards next year’s car, but there is still crucial work to be done on their current models.

Given there are no major regulation changes to come next season, lessons learned from this year’s car should theoretically enable greater success with next year’s car.

Therefore, the remaining upgrades that are expected to come either side of the summer break could be crucial in dictating who is best placed to mount a challenge next season.

More efficient with set-up at race weekends

Look back at some of the most dramatic moments throughout the years at the Hungarian Grand Prix

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Look back at some of the most dramatic moments throughout the years at the Hungarian Grand Prix

Look back at some of the most dramatic moments throughout the years at the Hungarian Grand Prix

Designing the right parts to improve the car is one thing, but getting the best out of them on a race weekend is another.

Ferrari seem to have left more races than not this season bemoaning a failure to have found the best possible set-up for their car.

The SF-23’s inconsistency certainly has not helped in this regard, with factors such as wind, majorly impacting the car’s performance.

Speaking on the Sky Sports F1 Podcast, former Aston Martin head of strategy Bernie Collins described the inconsistency of Ferrari’s performance throughout a weekend as “weird”.

Tyre wear has been a big problem for Ferrari this year, leading to some difficult races

Tyre wear has been a big problem for Ferrari this year, leading to some difficult races

“Well, it’s weird because qualifying showed that that car at Silverstone is good, at least in the qualifying conditions,” Collins said.

“To come away from qualifying in P4 and P5 and be beaten in the race by Alex Albon, who, yes, got [some luck] with the Virtual Safety Car, but for a Ferrari to be beaten by Williams at Silverstone, is borderline unacceptable from a team performance side.”

Eradicate strategic errors and uncertainty

In addition to the lack of efficiency in terms of set-up, Ferrari continue to be hampered by strategy failings.

There was doubt during Binotto’s tenure as team principal over whether he possessed the required ruthlessness to overhaul an underperforming part of the operation.

Mattia Binotto was in the paddock during the British Grand Prix weekend

Mattia Binotto was in the paddock during the British Grand Prix weekend

While he chuckles or makes a joke in just about every interview with the media, Vasseur was brought in to make the changes required to get Ferrari back to the top.

So far, the changes he has implemented do not seem to have worked, with strategy once more proving problematic.

The latest example of these shortcomings came at Silverstone as a bizarrely early pit stop for Leclerc all but ruined the Monegasque’s race.

“It doesn’t feel like the car as a package is poor, it just feels like the networking of the team around it,” Collins said. “And it always sort of feels to me like, the communication within the team to get the decisions made quickly… we’ve seen time and time again on the pit wall, questions being asked of drivers, uncertainty in decisions being made.

Charles Leclerc is just seventh in the drivers' championship ahead of Budapest

Charles Leclerc is just seventh in the drivers’ championship ahead of Budapest

“And I don’t think it’s fundamentally the strategy team are poor, or I don’t think that fundamentally any of the engineering team are poor, I think it’s that as a group, they’re not making decisions quickly enough.

“It feels like there’s too much checking someone’s opinion or getting authority to do something or getting approval or a discussion about whether what we’re doing is right or wrong.

“It feels like the strategy team haven’t enough authority to just make a call and make it stick, that there’s too much discussion as to whether the strategy team are right or not. I don’t know, but that’s surmising from the outside the uncertainty and the calls are sometimes made.”

Replace key departees and secure drivers’ futures

While there were expected to be changes in personnel under Vasseur, there have been two key departures that he likely would not have wanted.

Racing director Laurent Mekies is leaving to become team principal of AlphaTauri, while head of vehicle concept David Sanchez has exited to join McLaren.

The two well-respected figures have yet to be officially replaced, while an apparently ongoing negotiation over the terms of Mekies departure appears to be dragging on.

Laurent Mekies will leave Ferrari at the end of 2023

Laurent Mekies will leave Ferrari at the end of 2023

While there is no point of hiring for the sake of it and Ferrari are right to take their time over what could be crucial appointments, there is little doubt the team could do with the boost that a high-profile technical signing would bring.

Ferrari admittedly face a different type of challenge in persuading personnel from other top teams to join them in Italy, given the majority of the grid are based in England.

There is also the matter of the future of the team’s two most important employees, Leclerc and Sainz, who are both contracted until the end of 2024.

Vasseur has said he expects to address their futures during the summer break, which follows next weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

With Leclerc having been linked with a move away, and Sainz having made clear his desire to have his mid to long term future resolved, a failure to agree extensions during the month of August will only add to instability at Maranello.

Frederic Vasseur is looking to turn around Ferrari's difficult spell in F1

Frederic Vasseur is looking to turn around Ferrari’s difficult spell in F1

Sky Sports F1’s live Hungarian GP schedule

Thursday July 20
2pm: Drivers’ press conference

Friday July 21
8:55am: F3 Practice
10am: F2 Practice
12pm: Hungarian GP Practice One (session starts 12:30pm)
2pm: F3 Qualifying
2:45pm: F2 Qualifying
3:40pm: Hungarian GP Practice Two (session starts 4pm)
5:15pm: The F1 Show

Saturday July 22
8:45am: F3 Sprint
11:15am: Hungarian GP Practice Three (session starts 11:30am)
1:10pm: F2 Sprint
2:15pm: Hungarian GP Qualifying build-up (Sky Showcase)
3pm: HUNGARIAN GP QUALIFYING (Sky Showcase)
5pm: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook

Sunday July 23
7:20am: F3 Feature Race
9am: F2 Feature Race
11am: Porsche Supercup
12:30pm: Grand Prix Sunday – Hungarian GP build-up
1:30pm: F1 Juniors: Hungarian Grand Prix (Sky Sports Mix and Sky Showcase)
2pm: The HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX
4pm: Chequered Flag: British GP reaction
5pm: Ted’s Notebook

Daniel Ricciardo’s return and first F1 Juniors broadcast headline the Hungarian Grand Prix! Watch all the action live on Sky Sports F1 from July 21-23. Get Sky Sports

This motor sports news item came from: https://www.skysports.com/f1/news/12433/12922737/f1-what-do-ferrari-need-to-end-year-long-formula-1-winless-run-ahead-of-hungarian-grand-prix

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