Ferrari chairman delivers damning verdict, writes off Scuderia for 2020 and '21
Ferrari chairman John Elkann has delivered a stark appraisal on the state of his team, claiming the Scuderia will not be competitive again until 2022.
Elkann has at least offered his backing to team principal Mattia Binotto who has endured a difficult tenure since taking on his role 18 months ago, and has found himself in the firing line following Ferrari's dismal start to this season.
Elkann, however, has made clear that Ferrari's problems are systemic, dating back a number of years, and will only likely be resolved once the new regulations come into force from 2022.
Assessing the current situation, Elkann told Gazzetta dello Sport: "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.
Elkann, who insists he has "total trust!" in Binotto, added: "Mattia has all the skills and characteristics for a new winning cycle. He was in Ferrari with [Jean] Todt and Schumi [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.”
In light of the current state of affairs, Elkann has urged the Tifosi to exercise patience, drawing on the past when Ferrari endured years without any championship success before making its breakthrough in 1999 and through the early 'noughties'.
“The fans are suffering as much as we are, but they continue to give us a lot of energy, and it is important to be clear and honest with them," said Elkann. "A long path awaits us.
"When Todt and Schumi began a historic cycle at the end of the 1990s, it followed a 20-year fast that had lasted since 1979. It took time from when he [Todt] arrived in 1993 to when he brought Ferrari back to victory.
“The fans know that we will give everything in every GP anyway, and you will see that [Sebastian] 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!
“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.
“The important thing then is to work on and off the track, bringing cohesion and stability, building the Ferrari we want, step by step.”
Elkann is also adamant Ferrari has the right driver pairing from next season in Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz to deliver on his words and expectations.
“In the past 10 years, we have had champions such as [Fernando] Alonso and Vettel," said Elkann.
"But it is undoubtedly more difficult to rebuild a cycle and ask for patience from those who have already won compared to those who have the future ahead of them.
“We are laying the foundations for building something important and lasting, and the contract we signed with Charles proves it: Five years, never so long in Ferrari’s history.
"Leclerc and Sainz will make their home in Maranello, they will be close to our engineers, and the new machine will be born with them.”
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