Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix was a disaster for Ferrari, calling into question the team’s ability to compete for the Constructor’s Championship this season.
Things were looking up for Ferrari heading into Sunday. Charles Leclerc had qualified in pole position again, his fourth straight qualifying lead. However, just like in the last three weeks, disaster struck during the race.
Both Leclerc and his teammate Carlos Sainz were forced to retire from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix due to engine problems, continuing an issue that is beginning to get out of control for the Italian team.
Just three races ago, Charles Leclerc was also forced to retire from the Spanish Grand Prix after a power unit failure. He had been comfortably leading the race for the first 27 laps and looked to make up ground on Max Verstappen, who had overtaken him for the points lead just weeks earlier.
The next race, in Monaco, Ferrari was criticized for a poor strategy that cost Leclerc not only a win in his home race but a spot on the podium.
Needless to say, both Leclerc and his team needed a rebound this weekend and what they got was more disaster.
Carlos Sainz was the first Ferrari team member to have to retire his car after he reported a brake-by-wire failure in the early laps of the race. At the time, Sainz was running in 4th place with Leclerc in 2nd. Just a few laps later, Leclerc would also be forced to retire the car after an engine failure.
However, it wasn’t just the Ferrari team itself that had issues but also their customer teams, who use Ferrari engines. Both Kevin Magnussen of Haas and Zhou Guanyu of Alfa Romeo also did not finish Sunday’s race due to engine failure.
So far, Ferrari has said that they still need to “analyze” in order to “have a full picture of what happened,” but their season no doubt hangs on the answers to those questions.
Leclerc has now been forced to retire his car in two of his last three races, which has dropped him into third place in the Driver Standings, 34 points behind Verstappen and also now 13 points behind Red Bull’s other driver. Sergio Perez. Ferrari itself has also now lost ground in the Constructor Standings and is 80 points behind Red Bull.
In fact, 3rd-place Mercedes is closer to Ferrari, just 38 points behind, than Ferrari is to first place.
“I don’t really find the right words to describe it obviously,” said Leclerc after the race. “It’s very, very disappointing. We really need to look into it.”
With another race coming up this weekend in Canada, answers will need to come and they’ll need to come fast.
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