Mercedes AMG Motorsport‘s Team Principal and CEO Toto Wolff says Scuderia Ferrari‘s reliability issue is like ‘an illness’ that needs a cure for the sake of Formula 1.
Both Ferrari drivers of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc suffered engine-related issues during Qualifying for the German Grand Prix. Both drivers produced promising pace during the three practice sessions, topping all of them and putting themselves as favourites for a high grid position for the race.
But in the session, Vettel suffered a turbo-related issue during the early stages of Qualifying 1 that saw him set no lap time as the Ferrari mechanics tried to investigate what the issue was. Ferrari revealed that an airflow within the turbo was the reason why Vettel saw his first Q1 exit since the 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix.
Leclerc resumed the session as the sole Ferrari car but when they entered into the final qualifying session, Ferrari found a fuel system issue within his car that saw his session ended early with no time leaving him in tenth place. The Monegasque driver one of the favourites to take pole for the race.
Ferrari’s issues opened the door for Mercedes to take pole position for their home race with Lewis Hamilton grabbing pole ahead of Red Bull Racing‘s Max Verstappen. Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas ended the session in third.
The Italian team has suffered multiple strategy errors, reliability issues and driver mistakes over the last two years which has cost them valuable points within the championship fight against rivals Mercedes. Last year saw Vettel crash out of the German Grand Prix whilst leading the race, which resulted in him losing the championship lead to Hamilton in 2018.
Whilst Ferrari’s issues in Qualifying allowed Mercedes to take a comfortable result despite being on the back foot going into the session, Wolff told Sky Sports F1 that Ferrari’s blunder of reliability is like an illness that needs curing for the sake of the championship.
“It’s a shame for Ferrari, shame for Sebastian (Vettel) at his home Grand Prix,” said Wolff. “We really need him here for the crowd and you can see it’s a bit subdued at the moment.
“Ferrari, they really have an illness in there that they need to cure. It’s a shame because we need them for a strong championship.
“But for us, I’m happy because the session started really awfully. We didn’t understand why we were lacking pace and then slowly it came towards us.”