This 2022 Formula 1 season may be one of those seasons that makes Ferrari team fans feel uneasy. Moreover, the results of the last race before the summer break in Hungary, the strategy of Ferrari, which chose Hard tires for Leclerc, became a joke among F1 fans.
Recently (after the Hungarian GP), Sky Sports F1 interviewed the Principal Strategy Engineer of the Red Bull team, namely Hannah Schmitz. At the end of the interview, Hannah was asked for her opinion on Ferrari's strategy of deciding to use Hard tires when Charles Leclerc entered the pits for the second time in the race.
At that time Leclerc received instructions from the team to enter the pits as a reaction to Max Verstappen's strategy of pitting one lap earlier to use the new Medium tires. Ferrari's strategy is very understandable because they want to keep the first position in the race.
But when the Red Bull team chose Medium tires for Max Verstappen, Ferrari decided to use Hard tires. Ferrari's decision was considered very strange at the time because the big teams at that time did not use Hard tires.
What's more, at the beginning of the race there were also those who used Hard tires, such as Fernando Alonso, and at that time it was clear that Alonso and other Hard tire users were having a hard time getting grip because of the weather conditions were too cold so the tires did not get enough temperature to work optimally.
Hannah Schmitz: Maybe Ferrari has different data
In an interview with Sky Sports F1, Schmitz was asked about Ferrari's decision to use hard tires for Charles Leclerc. The Sky reporter asked if she (Hannah) was surprised to learn that Ferrari chose Hard tires for Charles Leclerc.
Hannah also replied that she might have been surprised at the time, Hannah added that Ferrari's decision to change tires at that time was a reaction to Red Bull's strategy of changing Max Verstappen's tires one lap earlier, Ferrari clearly wanted to keep Red Bull in the first place.
Hannah continued, maybe they (Ferrari) didn't know at that time that Hard tires would be slower than previously thought because all cars have their own way of using tires. So maybe they have data showing that the Hard tire will work normally like any other tire but in the race, it was very clear that wasn't the case.
"I think that's unfortunate." - Hannah Schmitz
Hannah also made it clear that she didn't want to make fun of the other team's strategy.
" I don't want to say anything bad about anyone's strategy because there is so much going on on the pit wall and I know what it's like so I think it's easy with hindsight." - Hannah Schmitz (Principal Strategy Engineer, Red Bull Racing)
Ferrari's strategy this year at its worst?
For a definite answer, we have to wait until the end of the season, but apart from strategic mistakes we also need to look at mistakes from the driver's side. In 2022, at least Ferrari has lost a lot of points in 3 races, namely in Imola, Spain, and France. All three are driver errors.
While at Imola, Charles Leclerc made a mistake by taking a corner too deep which resulted in his car going off the track and making him have to enter the pits to change the front wing. In Spain Carlos Sainz had left the track at Turn 4 which made him lose 9 positions.
Finally, in France (French GP) Charles Leclerc, who was leading the race at that time, made a mistake by positioning his car too wide, causing his car to lose balance and go off the track and hit the barrier. Leclerc was forced to finish the race faster (DNF).
In the opening race, Ferrari was very promising and looked very strong in all aspects but after that, they seemed to lose their luck. Ferrari often loses a lot of points because of technical things such as the car breaking down and choosing the wrong strategy.
Will Ferrari bounce back after the summer break? Or do they have to give up Red Bull winning this year and focus on developing the car next year?