Throughout the entire season so far, Ferrari has struggled immensely with reliability issues and after the Ferrari engine catastrophe at Azerbaijan, it has raised concerns within the paddock and the fanbase about how reliable the engine is and how it could potentially cost them both championships and drive them out of contention for winning it.
The Azerbaijan Grand Prix was where the questions had been triggered and fired toward Ferrari and the fans wanted some serious answers as to what was really going on. With both Ferrari’s retiring from the race as well as the Alfa Romeo of Guanyu Zhou and the Haas of Kevin Magnussen, all Ferrari-powered cars!
The latest rumors say that everyone named above bar Carlos Sainz all had engine issues and had to retire from the race due to the engine issues that had occurred. In a further disappointment for Ferrari fans, Leclerc may be forced to take a 5-10 place grid penalty in Canada due to the past components failing in the previous race.
But the question that is put forward is, could Ferrari’s championship hopes be demolished just due to their reliability issues?
The answer has to be yes, considering the fact that we are only 8 races into this season and already most Ferrari-powered cars are forced to take a grid penalty because they have already used all the allowed components they are allowed to use within 1 season.
In addition to this, their main rivals over at Red Bull, have sorted out their own personal reliability issues that they had costly suffered in Bahrain and Australia from.
Multiple reports claim that the Honda/Red Bull powertrain engine has “barely suffered any wear” and Red Bull-powered cars aren’t expecting to have many more engine issues nor are expected to take anywhere near the number of grid penalties the Ferrari-powered cars may have to take.
Alternately, this means that Red Bull has a significant advantage over Ferrari in the reliability segment which could end up meaning they win the championships for that reason alone.
Ferrari’s team boss had commented on the ongoing issues with the engine and said:
“I would rather prefer to have good performance and try to fix reliability rather than vice versa.”
“It is a concern,” “It’s even more concern because I do not have the answer, and I would like to have one right now and know what was the problem.
“Only the fact that we will need to fit another new engine, yeah it’s a fact, it’s very early in the season. Sometimes the problems you may have are not a short fix.
“So I don’t know what will be the strategy we need to adopt, if it’s simply shorter mileage, or a different type of usage, or a short fix, because whatever has happened is really a short fix solution.
“So something that I think we’ll understand in the next days, and hopefully we’ll have a clearer answer by the time we’re in Canada.”
He also suggests that one of the reasons they may be struggling so much is due to their last season’s push with the engine. In the previous season at the Turkish Grand Prix, Ferrari had introduced their new and improved engine in an attempt to fight with Mercedes and Red Bull.
Due to Ferrari making this decision it could potentially mean that they had inadvertently compromised their title charge for this season, Binotto did confirm earlier in the season saying that he didn’t expect to be challenging for the title and was significantly impressed with the ground that they made up to Red Bull.
Title Defining MomentsEmbed from Getty Images
So far in the season Ferrari has had multiple crucial moments in which their engine has given out and ultimately cost them a plethora of points in the championship.
The beginning of the Ferrari engine saga began at the Spanish Grand Prix where Charles Leclerc was leading the race comfortably and suddenly the engine had failed which resulted in him pitting and retiring from the race.
This result of his retirement also meant that his main rival, Max Verstappen managed to win the race taking 25 points out of Charles Leclerc’s lead in the championship.
After his dismal week in Spain and his home race Monaco, Leclerc hoped to return back with a bang at Azerbaijan. He had the perfect start to that week by topping a couple of the practice sessions and achieving a stunning qualifying lap that would get him Pole Position for the race on Sunday.
But during the race came heartbreak, with Leclerc’s engine going up in complete smoke down the main straight, forcing him to again retire, and Max Verstappen to yet again further the lead in the championship, as well as his teammate Sergio Perez overtaking Leclerc with having 129 points while Leclerc’s costly engine failures have dropped him to 3rd with 116 points.
Coming back from such a point deficit would be a remarkable achievement but as Leclerc told the media today: “I’ll never stop believing I see myself as a world champion”
“I’ll never give up, it’s always been my mentality. I want to win, the championship is long, We must understand the problems we had”
Just because of Ferrari’s engine issues, no person in the sport should cancel out the idea that Ferrari could well still win the world championship and that Leclerc and Sainz have been a constant threat this entire season towards the Red Bull cars.
And as Toto Wolff said last season for the close championship battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen: “One DNF and all the gap is gone”. This saying very much applies to this season of what looks to be a 3 way battle for the Drivers Championship.
We will all see in Canada if Ferrari has fixed or found an answer for the reliability issues that have occurred, only time will tell and Ferrari’s clock is quickly ticking to finding a fix, otherwise, they’ll be swiftly driving themselves out of this Championship.