Ferrari is perhaps the most glamorous name in Formula 1, the famous red livery and prancing horse making them perhaps unique as the nearest thing the sport has to a national team. While others cheer on their favourite individual drivers whoever they race for, the Tifosi will be cheering for the Scuderi.
Following years of Mercedes dominance dating back to 2014, Ferrari are right back in the hunt this year, alongside Red Bull. The last Ferrari Constructors’ Championship was back in 2008, while it hadn’t won a race in two seasons before securing a 1-2 finish in the opening contest of 2022 in Bahrain.
Of course, every major team can expect to have the best in precision engineering at its disposal. But while Mercedes have struggled to get their car right for this season’s regulations, with regular porpoising issues that have yet to be resolved, Ferrari have clearly found a combination that has got them right back in the mix, making Charles LeClerc an unexpected contender for the crown Max Verstappen so controversially won last year.
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto admitted after LeCerc’s win in Melbourne that he was surprised the team is where it is. But he admitted that there has been a lot of focus on the car this year after the major rule changes.
Perhaps one obvious area is reliability. Binotto stated: “To finish first, first you need to finish so reliability is actually a key element of the performance itself. I think that as a team we’ve put priority on it.” That was certainly true in the opening race of the season, when Ferrari’s triumph was down to both Red Bulls failing to finish.
However, as the Guardian noted this week, Ferrari have started seasons well before in recent years – such as 2017 and 2018 – only to fade as the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull have fixed their gremlins. For now, Ferrari has a car with more reliability than Red Bull and none of the problems that have dogged Mercedes. It remains to be seen if that advantage lasts the season.