It's fair to say, Ferrari had an anonymous start to their Formula 1 season. Granted, it was a much better display than any of their 2020 races, but the Scuderia is still a long way off being its previous force from a few years ago.
Ferrari worked hard over the winter to recoup as much performance as possible, having lost a lot of power from their engine due to the technical directive imposed by the FIA in 2019. They also spent a lot of effort on improving the aerodynamics, having acknowledged last year that the whole car was not at the level it should have been.
Pre-season testing was quiet but positive, although you can never really tell what the pecking order is until the opening race of the season, and in qualifying for the opening grand prix in Bahrain, Ferrari's performance suggested they have made significant improvements as they look to claw their way back towards the front.
Now let's not get carried away. They aren't in a position to fight Mercedes, like Charles Leclerc was able to do numerous times in 2019, but qualifying fourth on the grid was a splendid effort, while Carlos Sainz was a credible eighth on his debut with the team.
It suggested that there is potential in the SF21 and gave hope that they could be the third fastest team, but when it came to race day neither car was really anywhere to be seen.
Leclerc fell down the order to cross the line in sixth, while Sainz finished in the same position he had started, eight seconds down the road from his teammate.
But despite the team appearing to be lost in the race, both Leclerc and Sainz confirmed they were happy with their performance. A stark contrast to Ferrari of old.
“It’s a nice start and a good feeling and I am reasonably happy with the race today. I cannot be extremely satisfied with P6, but at the end of the day we need to look at where we were last year and it’s clear we have made good progress." commented Leclerc after the grand prix.
"All in all, it was a good race and a positive weekend and we made a good step forward compared to last season. We’re still not where we want to be, so we need to keep working and pushing very hard to get better in the coming races."
These comments solidify the fact that right now Ferrari are not the force of old and won't be for some time and it also emphasises the fact that there doesn't seem to be a visible drive to be number one again.
Can you imagine Enzo Ferrari being happy with sixth and eighth? It just wouldn't happen. He wouldn't have been happy until the team were stood on the top step collecting their trophy.
Yes, times have changed and it's now harder to crawl your way back to the front, especially when budgets are capped and the midfield is so tight, but this is Ferrari, a team that his built their brand on the fact that they are winners.
Nobody ever expected Ferrari to be suddenly winning races this year or mixing it with Red Bull or Mercedes. In fact, their qualifying pace was impressive, showing they have made improvements and may just be back on the right track.
That may sound contradictory, but it's not. It's not the fact that they are in the top half of the midfield that's the issue, it's the fact they are pleased with their position and aren't being overly vocal about become winners once again.
Of course, internally they should be pleased with how far they have come over the winter, but they should also be showing the world that they are still not happy with their current position and won't be until they are back at the front.
Something is missing from the team. There's no passion, no emotion. There's nothing visible from the team that they are doing everything in their power to strive for perfection.
Ferrari has always been a private secretive team, but despite that, they have always shown passion for winning. Obviously with Enzo himself, but also with Luca Di Montezemolo, Stefano Domenicalli and even Jean Todt. They exuded a passion for winning and would not be satisfied until they achieved it.
Right now, there's none of that. The attitude within the team needs to change.
They need someone to spearhead that obsession for winning, driving not just Leclerc and Sainz, but the engineers, the mechanics and the aerodynamicists on to making further strides as fast as possible.
With a team as big as Ferrari, there's no doubt they will return to the front of the grid, but with that passion, that spark, they could just get there that bit faster.
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