Ferrari chairman John Elkann has called for patience from fans of the Scuderia, as he admitted the Formula 1 team likely won’t be competing for wins and championships until 2022 at the earliest.
Ferrari was expected to mount a challenge for the title this year after showing better form in the second half of 2019, but it became apparent during pre-season Formula 1 testing that its car, the SF1000, was off the pace.
Ferrari currently sits fifth in the Constructors’ Standings with 27 points, four times fewer than Mercedes’ tally of 121.
Elkann has warned that things likely won’t get better this or next year as the SF1000 must be used next season with limited development potential, but insists Ferrari is building up for a “winning cycle” in ’22, when new rules will be introduced.
“We have not won a Constructors’ Championship since 2008 and one Drivers’ since 2007. There have been winning cycles from both Red Bull with great aerodynamics and Mercedes for their great ability in hybrid engine technology,” he said in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.
“This year we are not competitive. We have had a number of structural weaknesses that have long existed in aerodynamics and vehicle dynamics. We have also lost engine power. The reality is that Ferrari is not competitive. You saw it on the track [this month] and you will see it again.
“Our goal is to start a new cycle from 2022 when the rules change. Ferrari has always been there and always will be. We will go back to being competitive and aim to win. We are confident.”
Asked if he trusted team boss Mattia Binotto to deliver that success, Elkann replied: “Total trust! Mattia Binotto has all the skills and characteristics for a new winning cycle. He was in Ferrari with [Jean] Todt and [Michael] Schumacher. With him we start from a clear basis. We know our weaknesses, we want to go further and start winning again with young and ambitious drivers.”
Elkann went on to apologise to Ferrari’s fans for their current form and doesn’t want to make false promises.
“The fans are suffering as much as we are, but they continue to give us a lot of charge, and it is important to be clear and honest with them. A long path awaits us. When Todt and Schumi opened the historic cycle at the end of the 1990s, we came from a 20-year fast that had lasted since 1979.
“The fans know that we will give everything in every GP anyway, and you will see that Vettel will also do his part, but I don’t want to deceive them. Making the most of these last months of 2020 and 2021 to return to being very competitive in 2022: this is the goal!
“There will be more space and overall competitiveness will increase. It is difficult to estimate and it is wrong to create false expectations, but by 2022 we would like to be among the most competitive. We are working to consolidate the winning culture of Ferrari and our drivers.”