At the beginning of the season, it looks like Ferrari is finally a candidate for the World Championship in Formula 1 again. Scuderia is now threatening to become a laughing stock because it makes too many mistakes. At the home race in Monza, Ferrari is reminiscent of company founder Enzo - and is desperately looking for speed.
Charles Leclerc splashes champagne with a grin. Charles Leclerc cheers in red in front of thousands of fans. Charles Leclerc is beaming. Before the high-speed home game in Monza at the weekend, the Ferrari star is reminiscing on social networks, three years ago he had triumphed for Ferrari on the legendary track. And now? Leclerc and the proud Scuderia threaten their own fans with the next disaster this season full of bankruptcies, bad luck and breakdowns.
"On paper, Monza is not the best route for us," said Leclerc before the classic on Sunday (3 p.m. / Sky and in the live ticker on ntv.de). It will be "difficult" with the win. The experts even believe that it will be impossible. This is of course also due to the outstanding form of the old - and almost certainly new - world champion Max Verstappen (Red Bull). But above all to Ferrari itself.
After a strong start to the season, nothing has been going well at Ferrari for weeks. The "F1-75" is no longer fast enough, there were also hair-raising mistakes in strategy, most recently in Zandvoort the "Reds" were even a laughingstock - during a chaotic tire change by Carlos Sainz, the mechanics had forgotten a wheel. The newspapers at home were stunned by the "sloppiness".
And now Monza, the Autodromo Nazionale. Nowhere else do the hearts of Ferrari fans beat faster, nowhere is there greater euphoria surrounding the famous red racers. This is where Ferrari drivers become heroes, just like Michael Schumacher, who won four times in Monza. But nowhere else do defeats hurt as much as on the legendary asphalt in the Royal Park.
"The Tifosi are demanding and knowledgeable. They can also be wild," said team boss Mattia Binotto: "They give you all their love, they support you even when things don't go the way you want them to. And they drive you, to keep getting better." Ferrari will do everything "to give them the result they want". The Scuderia even unpacks a new design for this, puts its pilots in yellow racing suits and paints parts of the car bright yellow. A tribute to the origins under the legendary Enzo Ferrari.
But back to the present, back to the question: How should Leclerc and Co. only beat Verstappen? And then Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell is getting faster and faster. "We're not exploiting the potential of the car, and there's something wrong that we have to get out of the world," said Binotto. And Leclerc demanded that you now have to find the speed "that we had at the beginning of the season". Otherwise it will be nothing with new jubilee pictures in red from Monza.
(This article was first published on Wednesday, September 07, 2022.)