Ferrari’s Montreal Disaster

F1 Canadian Grand Prix 2024
F1 Canadian Grand Prix 2024

Ferrari were expecting to ride the high waves from Monaco and hoped they could continue the momentum in Canada. But Sunday’s double DNF left the Prancing Horse scratching their heads.

The qualifying session shows a decline from Friday

Albeit enjoying a solid Friday session, Saturday quickly proved otherwise as Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were unable to make it to Q3 and had to start from 11th and 12th on the grid. Leclerc immediately criticized that the team wasn’t at the level they needed to be and urged the team to dissect the data from FP3 and qualifying. Sainz meanwhile blamed the tyres and not receiving enough grip for his last run which proved crucial as to why he was unable to nail the last corner.

Team Principal Frederic Vasseur urged his team to keep their head up high and reminded them the unpredictability of Montreal’s weather could spice things up on Sunday.

“I think everyone was struggling a bit with tyres, to the point that even Russell’s pole position was obtained on a scrubbed set, but we struggled more than others and we were unable to put everything together to switch on the tyres at the right moment. We will now analyze everything very carefully but we must keep our spirits up and remember that the points are given out tomorrow.”

“As for the race, we will have to wait and see what the weather has in store because it’s the big unknown. I remember that last year here we also started from far back and we managed to move up the order.”

From bad to worse

As soon as the race began, neither driver was able to make a good impression on the midfield positions. For Leclerc, problems immediately arose after the Monegasque reported an engine issue with his SF-24 hindering any recovery hopes. Ferrari tried to gamble and gave Leclerc a set of slicks in the changing conditions, but it did little to help the 26-year-old’s progress. He eventually retired from the race on Lap 43.

Things weren’t any better on the other side of the garage after Sainz made contact with the Stake Sauber of Valtteri Bottas. Ferrari’s Canadian outing was sealed after Sainz spun at the latter stages and collected Alex Albon’s Williams. The Spaniard limped home to the pits where he also retired from the race.

Leclerc was critical of the engine issue that plagued his no. 16 car and the gamble with the strategy.

“The bottom line today is that the engine issue is what compromised our race. We were losing substantial lap time compared to the other cars, so we tried to go on slicks, knowing that it was our only chance to try to finish in the points. There was nothing to lose and I’ve got no regrets on that.”

The Monegasque driver event went on to state that the race deeply hurt the team as they missed out on points to reduce the deficit to Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship.

“This one hurts and it’s a big loss of points for the team with both of us unable to finish. We will look into the issue we had to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Teammate Sainz meanwhile criticized the lack of grip and car handling, which led the Spaniard to deduce that this issue was behind the team’s shortcomings.

“We knew today was going to be difficult because we have been struggling all weekend with grip and car handling.”

Sainz was apologetic over his mistake, which cost the team and Albon’s race after the former spun and collected the latter in the process.

“The entire race was on the edge, and when I tried to push in the DRS train to overtake I made a mistake on the kerb and for that I want to say sorry to the team and to Alex,”

Team boss Vasseur hoped that all of Ferrari’s bad luck for this season would be dumped on Canada and is optimistic about Ferrari’s chance in the next rounds.

“We were quite confident with the pace for today. At the beginning everything went wrong, and I hope that we put all the tough parts of the season on the same weekend!”

Vasseur added that Leclerc lost approximately 10–15 kph which equates to around 80 horsepower hence why the latter simply could not compete with the other cars.

What’s next for Ferrari’s championship hopes?

Ferrari’s scoreless weekend meant the Maranello-based team remained in second on the Constructors’ Championship with 252 points. This result also meant that Ferrari is trailing behind Red Bull by 49 points. However, McLaren’s strong showing in Canada meant the Woking-based team was only 40 points behind the Prancing Horse. If there’s any kind of consolation, it would be Sergio Pérez’s DNF that prevented Red Bull from getting too far out of reach.

On the Drivers’ Championship, Leclerc’s DNF meant Lando Norris was inching closer in third with only 7 points separating them. Sainz remained in fourth, trailing Norris by 23 points, but the 29-year-old is ahead of Pérez by a point.

The season is still long with 15 race weekends to go and there’s still plenty of time for Ferrari to right the course. The next race would be special as it’ll be Sainz’s home race and the team would definitely want to put on a good show next time out.

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