Ferrari are reportedly gaining more ground with their updates than Red Bull, with Helmut Marko well aware of the Scuderia’s pace.
The 2022 title picture is a two-horse race between Ferrari and Red Bull, though the standings would suggest that Red Bull are comfortably on top of that challenge.
Max Verstappen is now 63 points clear of Charles Leclerc, with Red Bull 82 points up on Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship, but the reality is that the Ferrari F1-75 is fast, very fast, simply the Scuderia have been unable to make the most of it.
So far poor reliability, strategy errors and also driver errors have hamstrung Ferrari, Paul Ricard the most recent example as Leclerc crashed out of the lead, while their choice of strategy for Carlos Sainz was questionable on his way to a P5 finish, his race also including a five-second penalty for an unsafe release.
Ferrari remain confident though due to the performance of the F1-75, which Auto Motor und Sport state is improving with each upgrade at a faster rate than the Red Bull RB18.
‘It looks like Ferrari is currently gaining more ground with its few but targeted upgrades than Red Bull, who are constantly tweaking the underbody,’ their report states.
‘Ferrari’s new floor may be a bigger step forward than it appeared on debut.’
Marko, Red Bull’s advisor and driver programme boss, offered an example of the mighty pace which Ferrari are now capable of, referring to a lap by Sainz in qualifying.
He is likely referencing Sainz’s Q2-topping time in France, a 1:31.081 which was nine-tenths faster than what Verstappen managed in that session.
It must be noted that in Q3, Verstappen’s best effort was within a tenth of that time by Sainz. But, Leclerc took pole on a 1:30.872.
So, Marko says that Red Bull must sit up and take notice.
“Sainz did a lap time once in qualifying that was out of this world,” Marko is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport. “We were almost a second off then.
“That must give us pause for thought if they are able to reproduce such times regularly.”
Verstappen warned post-race in France that he was not the 2022 champion in waiting just yet, explaining that there will still be tricky races to come for Red Bull.
He expects the upcoming Hungarian Grand Prix to be one of them, tipping Ferrari to be “all over” Red Bull.
“In Budapest, they’ll be all over us,” he predicted, as per Auto Motor und Sport.
Indeed, Auto Motor und Sport report Ferrari principal Mattia Binotto…