MARCH 19, 2019
Five theories to explain Ferrari crisis
Elements of the Italian media are wondering if Ferrari's 2019 title hopes have collapsed after just a single race.
The Maranello team dominated pre-season testing, but in Australia were outclassed by Mercedes and Red Bull-Honda.
The press is not impressed.
"Even Alonso in 2012 did better than Vettel in 2019," wrote Il Giornale.
Corriere della Sera added: "Melbourne hides more serious ills. Binotto must make a diagnosis and then apply the therapy."
There are five leading theories as to what went wrong.
First, Ferrari was conspicuously slow in the speed traps in Melbourne.
Jean Alesi, a former Ferrari driver, told Canal Plus that he has heard from his friends at Maranello that after reliability concerns in testing, including exhaust failures, the team turned down the power in Melbourne.
That could account for a 20kph deficit in some speed traps.
Team boss Mattia Binotto said: "Of course we will analyse everything including the comparison with the cars of the other teams.
"But in general we lacked the balance, and this of course affects the speed at the exit of the corners."
The second theory is that Ferrari simply didn't make the Pirelli tyres work in Australia.
And the third theory is that Ferrari's unique front wing concept worked perfectly on the super-smooth Barcelona track, but not on the bumps at Albert Park.
"Ferrari suddenly were using unusually steep wings," Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko noted, according to Auto Bild.
He said of the 2019 tyres: "They are so stiff that you can hardly get them to work on a track with little grip.
"We had the problem too, but once we got them to the right temperature, the performance gain is incredible."
The fourth theory is that Ferrari simply got the setup wrong in Melbourne.
"It's difficult to find the right setup for these new cars, and Ferrari definitely took a wrong turn but there is no fundamental problem," Mercedes' Toto Wolff is quoted by DPA news agency.
Vettel agrees: "We have all the ingredients for a strong car. And not every circuit is like Melbourne."
And the fifth theory is that Ferrari is lacking driver experience in 2019.
"The tactics used for Vettel showed that they did not understand how the medium Pirelli worked," Maurizio Voltini, writing for Autosprint, said.
"My conclusion is they lost their way during the weekend. I think they paid dearly for Kimi Raikkonen, Antonio Giovinazzi and Daniil Kvyat not being there."