Jody Scheckter critical of Ferrari decision making

Ferrari legend Jody Scheckter has expressed his thoughts that the Maranello-based outfit don't make good decisions during Formula 1 races

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Jody Scheckter has stated Ferrari don’t make the right decisions in the heat of battle despite making good cars.

The 1979 Formula 1 world champion, who was Ferrari’s last title winner before Michael Schumacher in 2000, spoke about the team’s 2022 season, which started well but gradually fell away after several strategic mistakes.

Car failures also dogged Ferrari’s season, and at the end of 2022, Mattia Binotto parted company with the team paving the way for Frederic Vasseur to take over at the Maranello-based outfit.

“The mistakes they made in tactics on track seem obvious,” Scheckter exclusively told Total Motorsport.com. “I thought they could produce a good car when they were back home.

“But they don’t make good decisions under the pressure of racing. I don’t know enough detail to start saying it was right or wrong to get rid of [Binotto].”

Verstappen is now championship material

Ferrari’s loss was Max Verstappen‘s gain as the Dutchman cruised to a second world championship taking 15 race wins and wrapping up the title with four races to spare.

The smoothness of his domination made some believe Verstappen is the complete driver on the grid, as he ironed out mistakes from earlier in his career.

With his mistakes now seemingly erased, Verstappen comes into 2023 as the favourite to add his third world championship putting him amongst the sport’s greats, according to Scheckter.

“I thought he was what you call championship material,” explained Scheckter. “He was driving like a champion,

“Before, he was too aggressive, and [there were] too many things that he could have done better if he wasn’t so aggressive. And I think he has really matured.”

Max Verstappen at the 2022 Mexican Grand Prix
Max Verstappen celebrates winning the 2022 Mexico City GP (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Schecker unsure about value of sprints

2022 saw the second year of the sprint weekends. Yet still, some questioned the point of having these mini-races instead of qualifying.

Some believe the format needed tweaking, with one of the suggestions being more points handed out.

F1’s 2023 calendar will include six sprints at the Azerbaijan, Austrian, Belgian, Qatar, United States and Sao Paulo GP.

“I think they were a positive, but I’m not quite sure what they did,” said Scheckter. I felt there wasn’t enough value in them to make them justify what they were doing. 

“People went conservative because if you dropped out there, you didn’t gain anything. If they had to put more points on it, or something else, I think it could be [better].”

Max Verstappen of Red Bull leads George Russell of Mercedes during F1 Sprint at the 2022 Brazilian GP | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 need to move with technology

The new regulations which arrived in F1 last year gave the sport a new look and were designed to cut costs in the process.

But inadvertently, the cars become heavier and more challenging to drive, turning some races into damp squibs.

An example of this came in Monte Carlo when overtaking was limited due to the tight confines of the circuit and the wideness of the cars producing a quiet race

“You’ve got to go with technology,” aid Scheckter. “You can’t have a vintage type of car out there. You’ve got to go with what’s happening in the world, and that’s a positive.

“Sometimes, what F1 e does becomes fashionable. I think the next step if they don’t make a noise, that’s quite difficult but will it become fashionable? Possibly, yes.

Audi Chief Development Officer, Oliver Hoffmann and Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, Markus Duesmann pose for a photograph | REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

“I don’t know about a light or heavy car. I’ve driven a Can-Am car which was light compared to those cars. Once you get in and start driving, does it really make that much difference?

“Do you really feel it? Probably not. You’re just taking what you’ve got to the limit on trying to keep it right on the edge of the limit.”

Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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