Growing Frustrations Threatening To Boil Over At Ferrari

Vasseur Believed To Have Met With Newey In London This Week
Vasseur Believed To Have Met With Newey In London This Week

“Sparks” between Ferrari’s current drivers could soon become “a fire”, according to a well-known Italian F1 insider.

Over at struggling Mercedes, an awkward situation is also playing out in the cockpit, with Lewis Hamilton arguably underperforming in his final season before ousting Carlos Sainz at Ferrari.

“Lewis is in a surprisingly good mood,” Mercedes boss Toto Wolff told Servus TV last weekend in China, where Hamilton badly botched his car setup.

“I don’t know if it’s because he knows that next year he’ll go somewhere else,” Wolff added. “But it’s not like him at all.”

Meanwhile, at Ferrari, the first signs of real tension between the sacked Sainz and his teammate Charles Leclerc emerged in Shanghai.

Leclerc complained about his teammate’s elbows-out aggression in the sprint race, and the pair’s relationship was then stretched even further to the limit with another incident at the start of the subsequent Chinese GP.

“It doesn’t help to lose two positions like that,” admitted Ferrari team boss Frederic Vasseur.

Earlier, Sainz’s run of impressive form so far in 2024 ran out in qualifying when he crashed in Q2, with Vasseur admitting that one of the biggest problems in Shanghai was “grid position”.

“It is difficult to have a complete weekend when we make many mistakes collectively,” he diplomatically added.

As for the wheel-to-wheel dicing between Leclerc and Sainz, 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg suggested Ferrari should implement a Mercedes-like system to regulate driver behaviour.

“No other team has rules like that, especially not Ferrari, but now they have to do it too,” the German told Sky Deutschland.

Leo Turrini, a well-known Ferrari insider and journalist, agrees that Ferrari has work to do to bring the situation between Leclerc and Sainz under swift control.

“We are just at the beginning of a very long season and the sparks of Shanghai are the promise of a fire,” he wrote in his Quotidiano column.

Former Ferrari team boss Cesare Fiorio, however, wonders just what Vasseur can do to handle the situation.

“I don’t know their contracts,” he told Corriere dello Sport, “but a loss of control by Sainz should have been taken into account at the beginning of the season.

“Vasseur can’t do much about it,” Fiorio predicts.

What might calm the situation is when Sainz, 29, finally secures a new contract for 2025 – easing his need to focus so intently on proving he is the fastest Ferrari driver this year.

His manager and cousin, Carlos Onoro Sainz, says there will be no news for now.

“For the time being, we continue to weigh our choices,” he said. “Everyone can sleep peacefully between China and Miami, don’t worry.”

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