After the big requests from media all over the Paddock, the team principle Mattia Binotto explained with a “declaration” what happened during Qualifying with Charles Leclerc.
The Monegasque failed to make it to Q2, as the team considered he had a good margin to stay in. That didn’t happen, and, by a sort of joke, it was Sebastian Vettel the one who improved and went from staying out to be first in the standings.
“I’m trying to be as clear as possible. It is not a good day for us, we made a mistake, nothing more. It has been a misjudgement, a wrong evaluation of what we call “cut of time”. The “cut of time” is delta we believe we are comfortable to get to next session and is calculated real time, based on what we see on track. It considers the real time sectors of all the competitors, all the drivers. When it is calculated we normally have a margin on top of it, to see if the margin is good enough to afford for any uncertainties, as it normally happens during a session.” He explained.
“What happened today is that the margin we applied was not sufficient for very little, and the reason of are certainly two. The first is that the track improvement got very significant and very important by the end of Q1.The second is probably our margin was not considering enough reliability due to drivers’ confidence by driving slow trough Monaco. Maybe Monaco will have in the future margin being increased, no doubt. So it’s not sufficient to calculate a cut of time, to apply a margin, but in Monaco the lesson learned today is the margin simply needs to be bigger.
As simple as that, Ferrari did a mistake that should not happen. As Ferrari we are facing a situation where we need to catch up points in the Championships, we need to catch up compared to our competitors. And when you need to catch up you need to take some risks as well. And obviously by taking margins on everything we are doing, the case of today, taking margins would mean to use a second set of tyres to save a set of tyres for Q2 and Q3 and for us, certainly today, taking some risks was key to perform as better as we could in Q2 and Q3 to somehow chase our competitors. But no doubt, when you look at all that, the implications of not entering Q2 is even bigger than trying to challenge in the final part of Q3.”
As the team principle recalled before during this weekend, Ferrari is a “young team, still learning, with people taking new roles”. But that should not justify what happened.
“That’s something of the tools that we got, there are people obviously managing the tools within the team as there are people responsible of taking the decisions. If we make a mistake misjudging the margin, we didn’t overall as well, it was certainly an opportunity. So I think shame for Charles, shame for the team, but as I’m always saying we are improving and pretty sure that we will be stronger in the future.”
Some journalists supposed the attention of the garage and the Pit Wall during the final minutes of Q1 were 100% on Vettel, who had a slow lap time and almost crashed in his second attempt.
“We got two full teams, one per drivers.” Binotto continued. “We didn’t compromise anything at all. Charles asked by his cockpit if he should have gone out, we thought we had the margin, the data. It wasn’t.
When you use tools you should somehow trust what you’re doing. And were fully conscious it could’ve been tight, but tools were telling us we were good. And as we said we are somehow taking too many risks. It’s a misjudgment, a mistake.”
A lot has been said as well about the red men, with several critics over the past GP about the race strategies. The ones who were expecting some voluntary designation might end up disappointed. Binotto still believes in his team.
“I think we got the right persons and procedure, we need to improve our tools. Today at least can open to new opportunity, we can look back at this and learn.”
Binotto still have faith in Ferrari and the hope is that their drivers keep this faith as well. This might not be said for their fans: too much mistakes from the start of the season, from strategies to the car concept. A real, big shame for a team like Ferrari, where mistakes like this should not happen.