We hear the popular sport phrase ‘they think it’s all over, it is now’ so often, but you can’t help thinking it might well have been echoing around the Ferrari garage after Sundays Singapore Grand Prix when yet again Ferrari’s title contender Sebastian Vettel was beaten by Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton, extending his championship lead by 40 points, in what now looks like a case of ‘Game Over’ unless Lewis has a massive load of bad luck between now and the end of the season.
It is easy of course to criticise the driver, in fact Sebastian came out in an interview last week saying he is his own worse enemy. I think it’s fair to say that driving for Scuderia Ferrari, a team steeped in Formula 1 history with whom every Formula 1 fan expects to at least challenge for the title, brings an added depth of pressure. However the issue is not just the driver, without stating the obvious too much, Ferrari has problems higher up.
Back in the Schumacher era when Ferrari dominated the sport, one man over saw what the German achieved, seen by many as the ‘Mastermind’ behind the fantastic F1 pilot, having been with Michael at both Benetton and Ferrari, Ross Brawn was in many ways Ferrari’s saviour. He was also involved with Mercedes when it was bought out from what was the Brawn GP team, itself a title winner in it’s brief history. What Ferrari desperately need is a new Ross Brawn, a tactician that understands the drivers abilities in full as well as make the team work more methodically.
For this role Ferrari needs to look outside of it’s own comfort zone, Italian’s are a passionate people, their hearts often ruling their heads, this is not a problem but in the world of Formula 1, a sport where demands are so high this very passion that created Ferrari is it’s achilles heel. Mercedes AMG F1 with Toto Wolff in comparison is methodical, calculated. Yes they may well have the best driver on the grid in Lewis Hamilton but it’s what the team does that helps him get the maximum out of the car during a race, despite not always having the quickest car this season on some circuits.
Do Scuderia Ferrari need another Brit in charge? Could be, certainly something needs to change as this season is going down as another ‘almost ran’, for a team that has not won a drivers championship since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007 with the money the team has, it is a poor reflection on what Ferrari stands for in F1.