Red Mist: Mastering Montezuma’s Revenge
At first glance, the Mexican Grand Prix was not ideal for Ferrari, but in real terms it was an eerily perfect weekend.
Still, Mexico’s Montezuma Revenge wasn’t the biggest news of the weekend from Maranello. It happened at Imola, where our Scuderia unveiled its first real Le Mans challenger in 50 years.
Let’s talk about Mexico first. Ferrari knew it would never be in the race at this altitude. But it got worse. So bringing both cars home fifth and sixth, even though it was his worst two-car result of the season, was important.
The problems of the Mexico Grand Prix are not limited to the altitude
“Our power unit didn’t perform the best this weekend, but that’s only part of the equation,” said Mattia Binotto. “More than that, the ride and balance weren’t great and both were issues we hadn’t detected earlier in the weekend in Mexico.
“Being strong in FP1 and then the FP2 tire test masked our issues. We thought a soft tire strategy was the right choice for the race, but we were already struggling in qualifying. race.
“So it was a difficult weekend, but still essential to bring the cars home and take as many points as possible. Charles and Carlos gave their best, but it is extremely important that we improve in the two last races to end the season to the best of our abilities.
Sainz knew Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez wouldn’t be kind to his Ferrari F-175
“We knew that we would lose performance at high altitude, explains Carlos Sainz. “The engine didn’t work as we wanted, but Mexico is a very special circuit which has never suited us. “Maybe something was going on with the tires as well, but we did our best.”
“Mexico was unique,” added Charles Leclerc. “We absolutely maxed everything out and we were still a minute behind Max, which is huge. “I hope we get back to our usual performances in Brazil, but we also need to improve on our bad days.”
Now, while many would expect a Red Mist blast at this point, far from it. There is nothing but praise for the Scuderia. Of course, the engines were probably reignited. Charles is probably more than Carlos. And the downforce-hungry F1-75 starved for it in the thin air of Mexico.
The team knew they would struggle in Mexico
The team knew it would struggle, but stepped up to make the most of it. Both cars scored well, Ferrari managed the gap to Mercedes and although the focus is now on 2023, it turned a difficult weekend in Mexico into a decent result. A step forward indeed.
Continue to Imola. The new 499P unveiled at the annual Finali Mondiali this weekend is Ferrari’s first sports racing prototype in half a century. The new Quattro-Nove-Nove P Le Mans Hypercar is a big moment for Maranello.
Absent of a real frontline attack at Le Mans since it was humiliated by Matra in 1973, sports cars are probably more important to Ferrari than Formula 1. The Cavallino spent its first quarter-century as a automaker to prove its worth in F1 and sports car racing.
Ferrari is no stranger to sports car success
Accustomed to sports car success, Ferrari won no less than thirteen world championships in 20 years, from 1953 to 1972. This compares to 15 F1 constructors and 15 Formula 1 drivers’ world titles in 72 years of Formula 1.
The first endurance racing series has been known by many names over the years. Ferrari first won world sports car titles in 1953 and ’54, ’56, ’57 and ’58, and 1960 and ’61. Maranello went on to win the 1962, 1963, 1964 and 1965 GT Prototype International Championships.
Ferrari then became international sports-prototype champion in 1967 and finally won the world championship for makes in 1972. Ferrari also won Le Mans nine times against Porsche’s 19 and Audi’s 13, before pressure from Fiat does not push Enzo to choose one. And that was F1.
Ferrari has its work cut out at Le Mans
Now known as the World Endurance Championship, sports car racing is stronger than ever with a massive influx of manufacturer teams into the series. So Ferrari have to fight if they want to reclaim that Le Mans and WEC glory.
Next year Maranello will face Toyota, Peugeot and possibly Glickenhaus, Hypercars and Porsche, Cadillac and Alpine LMDh. BMW, Lamborghini and maybe Acura should join the fray from 24. And all want to win. Bring it on!