Cesare Fiorio, who served as Ferrari’s F1 sporting director between 1989 and 1991, has stated that the Maranello-based outfit’s poor results in 2022 cannot be attributed to the performances of drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz or even team principal Mattia Binotto for that matter.
While Ferrari potentially has the fastest car on the grid, the team has been let down by a series of poor performances that sees them trail Red Bull by close to 100 points in the Constructors’ Championship. While there is some hope of clawing this deficit back, their aim of winning their first Drivers’ Championship since 2007 will need a miracle with Leclerc now 80 points behind Max Verstappen in the driver standings.
While both Leclerc and Sainz have made on-track errors, Fiorio believes that they aren’t to blame for the team’s performances this year.
“The drivers are not to blame,” Fiorio told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Ferrari have two great drivers. For me, both are among the top five in Formula 1. Leclerc is unbelievably fast in qualifying, and Sainz is a fabulous racer. Both are good enough to win the Constructors’ Championship for Ferrari. I would never change anything about the driver line-up.”
Binotto needs time
While several fans have been quick to blame Ferrari team principal Binotto, especially for Ferrari’s recent run of abysmal strategy calls, Fiorio thinks the team boss needs a bit more time to put everything together.
“Basically, you have to concede Mattia Binotto has made Ferrari a team that can win every race,” Fiorio continued.
“Binotto was a great engineer, first as an engine specialist, then as technical director, but his job today is very different.
“Something is obviously wrong at Ferrari, mistakes are made. Binotto has to get to the bottom of it, that’s his biggest challenge now. Mattia now has to find solutions so that the team works better.
“In today’s Formula 1, everything has to work almost perfectly to win. That was different at Ferrari in the days of [Jean] Todt and [Michael] Schumacher. Ferrari sometimes had such a blatantly superior car that one or the other mistake could be concealed. That’s no longer possible today.”
Fiorio urges team to go old school
The former Lancia Rally boss also criticized the team’s reliance on computers and technology stating that it might be beneficial for Ferrari to rely on the engineers present at the race track.
“I think modern facilities like a remote command center are absurd,” Fiorio added.
“This room in the racing car factory, where specialists are supposed to support the team on-site, only makes everything more complicated.
“Decisions made in a matter of seconds that make the difference between victory and defeat must be based on the instinct and experience of the professionals on the ground, not on tens of thousands of calculations.
“But, on the other hand, there is never a lack of know-it-alls who are sitting comfortably on the sofa at home and who are not under the pressure on the racetrack.”