Before yesterday, the last 24 Hours of Le Mans was last won by Enzo Ferrari when he was 67 years old. Since then, 58 years have passed.
Ironically, Ferrari has returned to WEC largely thanks to the budget cap created by F1, the team and the FIA in the latest Concorde Agreement. In recent years, the ‘road’ categories has been used to add internal resources and knowledge in the F1 departments, while in this case the opposite was done, with many quality technicians moved to the 499P project.
The results of this comeback demonstrate its undoubted success and Le Mans has further validated its significance. This result also shows that the endurance regulations, thinking of unlimited track tests, adhere more closely to Ferrari’s DNA.
A glorious day in history was delivered on Sunday. Enormous respect goes to the seriousness of those who led this project, from Antonello Coletta down, with crews that were almost perfect.
Personnel who had the desire and the conviction to amaze, with great humility, without whom a great new page for Ferrari would not have been written, which not only the fans but also Motorsport badly needs – “Endurance or F1, Ferrari is one,” Coletta always repeated. And indeed, Ferrari won.
It may be, hopefully at least, that those big names who work far from Maranello can be inspired. Nevertheless it should not be forgotten that F1 and WEC are worlds away from each other, not only on a technical level but above all thinking about the political balance.
The mistake not to make would be to live off yesterday’s income, that is, to cover the problems of the situation in F1 with the WEC.
We must be aware that Fred Vasseur’s task is much more difficult in the short term, although he has for now obtained greater autonomy from Vigna.
Ferrari: Montreal brings you back to reality
Winter and spring have been far from perfect, although the departments are at least working in harmony, unlike in 2014.
Clarity and reinforcements are needed but, despite hearing that engineers will arrive, it is a difficult task to hire top-level figures.
We can expect to find out more in Austria, Laurent Mekies will finish his duties as Sporting Director with the Montreal GP after which he will land at Red Bull with a plan already defined.
As far as the technical office is concerned, there is a transition phase. Since Binotto also acted as DT by having himself copied to each ‘issue’ mail – now apparently no strong leadership is perceived.
All in all something quite predictable. The best thing to do is keep your nerve, however the Scuderia seems to be facing a double challenge, technical and sporting, which today has the flavor of a re-foundation.
There is the awareness that SF-23 has failed many targets but, at the same time, that there has not been the failure of a single department. Technicians have begun to change the face of the SF-23 in Spain, which is why the dramatic inconsistency seen particularly in Jeddah, Miami and Barcelona does not allow for short-term predictions about performance.
According to the data collected, at least from Canada it will be possible to see real steps forward. The layouts of stop-start circuits like Montreal and Spielberg don’t have big corners and certainly impose more rear limited settings, factors that should help the management of the SF-23, for a fight that should be more uncertain against Mercedes and Aston Martin.
Spanish GP: No ‘physical’ breakdowns or malfunctions on Leclerc’s SF-23
In 2022 – on the Gilles Villeneuve circuit – Charles Leclerc started from the back (due to a penalty) while Carlos Sainz probably made his best race in Red, putting great pressure on Verstappen.
In the meantime, Charles Leclerc’s car was inspected in Maranello without finding any significant ‘physical’ breakdowns or malfunctions.
It is likely that some setting betrayed the Monegasque in qualifying , then returned to place with the total reset of the set-up in parc fermé.
Even those who believed that changing direction in each department would solve certain problems more quickly, have nothing to do but give back a lot of time to the current management and, if possible, the same peace of mind offered to Coletta .
Author: Giuliano Duchess
Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang