Feeling the pressure in F1 2022: These two teams can't afford poor results

11-01-2022 11:30 | Updated: 11-01-2022 12:50
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Feeling the pressure in F1 2022: These two teams can't afford poor results

Failure isn’t an option for Ferrari in 2022. Mattia Binotto and co were lucky that their sudden downfall through the Constructors' Standings coupled with an impending rule and regulation overhaul in Formula 1. If there was ever a ‘good time’ to have a frankly diabolical season by Ferrari’s standards, it was 2020. But another subpar season won't be accepted by the fans or the Ferrari bosses. 

Last week, in my first weekly column of 2022, I mentioned the pressure that F1, Liberty Media and the FIA will be feeling this season as a result of the rule and regulation changes. Of course, professional sport is often defined by pressure and it’s only natural that everyone involved feels it. 

But often the volume and nature of the pressure is determined by how steep the cliff edge is behind you. It’s safe to say that Ferrari’s cliff edge is pretty much vertical, with the path being rather thin. In other words, there isn’t much margin for error and the expectation is high. Ferrari as a company themselves and the Italian fans will not allow another winless season. A backward step would be detrimental. 

Bouncing back 

Ferrari’s performance in the second half of 2021 demonstrated what they’re capable of. Amid all of the changes to the car, the engine is one of the few things that’s virtually staying the same. And perhaps their push to third place in the constructors was partly down to this engine, as long as they can adapt to the new E10 fuel. 

What’s also staying constant for 2022 is their driver line-up. On paper, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz arguably represent the best driver pairing on the grid. Combine this with the change in regulations, and they have the perfect chance to bounce even further up the grid. To really pose a threat against Red Bull and Mercedes. Whilst the two aforementioned teams were locked in an intense title battle, Ferrari didn’t really have a lot to sweat about. Okay, they had a battle with McLaren but nothing on the scale or magnitude as to what happened at the top. The likelihood is they could focus more on the 2022 car. 

With everyone starting from scratch aerodynamically, it presents Ferrari with their best chance. And all personnel within the team have to grasp it. 

Charles Leclerc has to cut out the silly crashes. Without digging too deep in the memory banks, the crash in Monaco qualifying cost Leclerc dearly. The practice crashes in Saudi Arabia and Belgium were needless. We do not see other ‘top’ drivers crashing as regularly as Leclerc in practice and qualifying. Getting it tactically correct is also important for Ferrari. In Leclerc’s early days, they made a few tactical blunders that meant they didn’t qualify as high as they should’ve done. Leclerc’s 2019 qualifying session in Monaco springs to mind. 

But what's classed as a good 2022 season for Ferrari? A backwards step would be finishing below third in the Championship. To be in the good books, they at least have to hold onto third and consistently be on the podium. But really, they need to push the top teams and win races. Admittedly it’s easier said than done. But if Ferrari can get a decent head start with the regulations, cut out the tiny errors and get a bit of luck along the way, then they really are title contenders again. If they don’t get it right, heads will roll. No more chances standing next to the cliff edge.

 
 
 
 
 
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Haas in the same boat?  

Goodness me. Haas actually shone in their early Formula 1 days but the last three years have been a capitulation. So much so that they openly said they will not develop the 2021 car even in the slightest. All focus on 2022. 

Bags of time, money and human effort have been spent by Haas on acing the 2022 rule and regulation changes. Gene Haas won’t be a happy bunny if they remain at the foot of the Constructors Championship. The American team have sacrificed almost two full seasons to focus on 2022. Guenther Steiner and his team can’t afford to let it go to waste, otherwise, heads will roll and perhaps the financial backing will go with it.

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