The Real Reason Why Ferrari Could Lose Another F1 Title

We're eight races into the 2022 Formula One season, and Red Bull has built a comfortable lead in the Constructor's Championship following its one-two in Baku. However, Ferrari still looks like the team with the best chance of snatching the world championship from Red Bull's grasp. The Scuderia currently sits second in the constructor's standings, 80 points behind the leaders and 38 points ahead of third-place Mercedes. The gap was just 36 points before a disastrous day in Azerbaijan saw both Ferraris fail to finish while Red Bull took first and second place.

One positive Ferrari can take from Baku is Charles Leclerc continued to dominate the qualifying stage, securing his sixth pole position in eight races. Despite consistently posting the fastest time the day before the race, Leclerc hasn't been able to convert his advantage to a win since the season's early days. Ferrari made a flying start to the 2022 season, winning two of the first three races. The team managed a one-two in the opening race in Bahrain, with Charles Leclerc taking the top spot and Carlos Sainz finishing second. Max Verstappen of Red Bull won the season's second Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia, but Ferarri still managed to secure the other two spots on the podium. 

Ferrari's Leclerc again found himself on top in the Australian Grand Prix, but Ferrari hasn't won since then. Red Bull won in Emilia Romagna, Miami, Spain, and Monaco, with Verstappen clinching victory three times and Sergio Perez stacking up the team's most recent win. Ferrari has managed four podium finishes since then, and with 14 races left, it has a chance of making up the deficit (via But to have even a slight hope, Ferrari will have to eliminate a consistent strategy error that has haunted it since 2008.

Ferrari's previous F1 successes

Ferrari has an incredible legacy when it comes to racing and Formula One in particular: it's the only team that has competed in every single racing season since the Formula One World Championship began in 1950. Before that, Ferrari had competed in notable racing events such as the Rome Grand Prix and Le Mans 24 Hours.

That rich legacy is also strewn with success. In total, Ferrari has won 241 Grand Prix and 16 world championships, having clinched its first championship in 1961. One of Ferrari's drivers has also been crowned World Champion 15 times. The company's list of notable drivers is almost as long as its list of victories, which includes Michael Schumacher, a man many consider to be the greatest driver of all time, along with Kimi Raikkonen, Niki Lauda, Alberto Ascari, Gilles Villeneuve, and Juan Manuel Fangio. A spell of dominance during Schumacher's tenure in the early 2000s saw Ferrari pick up five consecutive Constructor's Championships, while the German took home the Drivers' Championship each year.

Despite its legacy of success, Ferrari is currently experiencing a trophy drought, having not won a Constructor's Championship since 2008, and a driver's Championship since 2007, only coming close in 2018. This is the second-longest the team has gone without a world championship of any kind. The only worse period in Ferrari's history was a 16-year dry spell between 1983 and 1999.

Its main problem is a tactical one

A series of pitstop blunders have cost Ferrari dearly both in recent races and over the last few years as a whole. During the Monaco Grand Prix, Leclerc was called into the pit at the same time as teammate Sainz, a huge tactical blunder that cost the driver significant time. Ferrari also opted to switch from wet to slick tires, while Red Bull opted for intermediates, another decision that may have affected the outcome given the amount of water on the track (via Total Motorsport).

Examples of pit-stop blunders costing Ferrari dearly go back to its last title win in 2008. Ferrari still picked up the constructor's championship, but an error in Singapore cost Felipe Massa vital points and left him without a driver's championship to go with his team's win. Massa was given the green light to go in the pit while the fueling hose was still attached, meaning he had to stop again while the pit crew caught up and detached the now broken hose. 

In 2010, Ferrari threw away a world title by deciding to pit Fernando Alonso on lap 15 of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Alonso only needed to finish fourth to clinch the title, but Ferrari pitted him when it shouldn't have and he ultimately finished seventh, losing the title to Sebastian Vettel. Vettel had joined Ferrari by 2016 and was set to become a regular victim of the automaker's strategic ineptitude. Then Ferrari called him in several laps early in an attempt to undercut Verstappen, who was 20 seconds ahead of him. More strategy errors, including a few in qualifying, occurred until Vettel left for Aston Martin in 2020 (via HITC).

Why pitstop strategies are important

Its qualifying times and early success suggests Ferrari may have the best cars on the track, but to convert that into victories, it needs to get things right in the pits, too. In a sport where a fraction of a second can make the difference between success and failure, wasting vital time because of a tactical mistake isn't an option. Stopping for a few seconds can cause drivers to lose hundreds of yards over their opposition, and as a result, pit crews are highly drilled in their jobs. Twenty members all perform set tasks in an attempt to get the car back on the track as quickly as possible, and they are quick with the average pit stop taking just over two seconds (via Statathalon).

Pit stops are vital because not stopping can cost you even more time. Each stop is weighed up tactically by the team and then relayed to the driver. There was an extra element before refueling was banned in 2009 (via the BBC). Fuel adds weight, and weight slows cars down, so teams had to put the optimal amount of fuel in their vehicles and then come in to refuel towards the end of the race. Now, it's all about the tires. 

Formula One tires trade durability for grip. The softer the compound, the more grip a driver gets, and the quicker the tires degrade. Degraded tires mean less overall speed and less grip when taking corners. How soft a team goes depends on several factors, including weather. Aggressive driving also shortens a tire's lifespan, so a team may have to choose between competitive driving and getting the maximum time between pit stops. Teams balance all of these factors when deciding how many times a driver will stop during a race.