SSR Enabled


Published at 8/2/2022

Ferrari team principal, Mattia Binotto, has admitted that whilst the decision to switch Charles Leclerc onto the hard tyres was not the right call, there were other factors at play behind what should have been a defining push towards the title challenge.

Leclerc was left bemoaning his team’s choice to pit him for a tyre switch from the mediums to the hard’s, labelling the decision a “disaster” for his championship hopes.

Both he and Carlos Sainz started at P2 and P3 on the grid, and whilst both had the lead for good portions of a strategically packed race, Binotto admits that Ferrari failed to capture the pace that it showed over the practice and qualifying sessions.

When asked about the tyre switch – that from a spectators point of view was the decisive factor – Binotto explained the decision as a long play attempt at the final stages.

“Yes, we discussed it and it’s not all written in the stars; we are looking at what’s going on and what’s happening with the other tyre’s. We took all considerations, we discussed what was best and that was the choice we made. It certainly was not the right one today,” Binotto quipped. 

“When we fitted the hard, our simulation was that it could have been a difficult couple of laps of warm-up, slower than the medium for 10-11 laps, and then it would have come back and been faster by the end of the stint… and it was a 30-lap stint.

“Based on our data and our analysis, we knew the hard was not as fast as the medium, but it could have been as fast 11 laps into the stint… Yes, it didn’t work and we would not have fitted them had we known they would be as bad.”

It seems a strange decision looking back, as Verstappen was simply carving up the field on a fresh set of mediums in a race that the Red Bull charger would go onto win by +7.834s over Lewis Hamilton. 

Binotto pointed to the fact that Sainz had not been on the hard’s, and he also had difficulty keeping up with the field, finishing +14.579s behind pole getter George Russell. 

However, in the overall scheme of a spectators hindsight, some evidence may also point to an error in tyre choice on Sainz’ behalf also, as he was left standing still by Hamilton with 10 laps to go, causing him to miss a podium that he may have captured on the much faster performing medium compound tyres.

Binotto’s rhetoric on the team’s overall reason for failure, was not that of the admitted error in tyre choice. 

“I think it’s important to say the pace of the car today was not as expected, considering the speed we had when we look back to Friday and the race simulations from Friday,” said Binotto in defense. 

“It was totally different conditions, cooler but overall the speed today was not quick enough, whichever tyres we were using.

“Something was wrong with the car, how we set it up for the conditions of today, that made life harder for the tyre’s, and certainly as a consequence, the hard was working very badly.”

Whatever the reason given for Ferrari’s failure, Leclerc and Binotto have been seen to be publicly at odds on several occasions over race day calls. 

Dressing downs have been given in open air, and a competitive Leclerc has never been coy in holding back his distaste over some costly calls.

Whatever the reasons behind the poor showing in Hungary, across the paddock from the Prancing Horse, Christian Horner, Verstappen, and the whole Red Bull team, must be thinking that this 2022 season may well be – “written in the stars.”

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