By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
The Formula 1 season returned from summer break last weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, and once again Ferrari was hit with a rough Sunday drive.
Despite strong showings throughout the weekend, in which Kimi Raikkonen led FP3 and qualified a close third to polesitter and eventual race winner Nico Rosberg, the Italian squad had its race unravel at the opening corner of the Belgian Grand Prix.
Expectations were high for both Raikkonen and teammate Sebastian Vettel, four-time and two-time winners of the event, but a controversial collision with Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen resulted in the duo to once again fight an uphill battle. Both drivers went on to score points, but uncharacteristically out of the top five.
With second place on the line for the Constructors title and Ferrari trailing Red Bull by 22 points, they cannot afford to struggle as they did heading into the break.
Formula 1 now heads to Monza, home of the Tifosi and backyard of Ferrari.
Although the team has scored several podiums (nine to be exact), it has yet to find that breakthrough win this season and with an engine upgrade expected at the Italian Grand Prix, the time is now for Ferrari.
The Maurizio Arrivabene-led squad cannot allow rivals Mercedes and Red Bull to win at their home grand prix in front of its ‘Red Sea’ of Fans.
Pride is on the line, and with Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne watching, another rough outing could be the last straw for the affable and emotional Arrivabene.
Neither driver has touched the podium since round nine in Austria when Raikkonen finished third, now five races ago.
As they say, the bleeding has to stop, and for Ferrari that must come at Monza.
No longer are Ferrari the favorites. In a twist of fate, they have now become the underdog with a four-time champion in Vettel that is trying to find his way again, and a 2007 champion (Ferrari’s last) in Raikkonen who aims to have one last push in what has been a stellar career.
Everything is at stake this weekend. With their backs against the wall, it is time for Ferrari to dig deep and take the fight to the very teams that stand between them and a return to the top step of the podium.
It is time for Ferrari to return to form.