Friday 10th September 2021
Ferrari distress, million minus
Italy punishes Formula 1 with withdrawal of love
Ferrari? In Formula 1 he is only a trailing driver. There are no chances of winning, not even at the home race in Monza, Italy. Charles Leclerc praises the support on the track, but the failure has severe consequences for the motorsport premier class.
A few dozen tough guys could be relied on. Early on Friday morning, hours before the first free practice session for the Italian Grand Prix, autograph hunters in Ferrari fans waited at the entrance to the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza and hoped for their luck. A selfie, a signature, a quick look at the stars – the love for Formula 1 made them wait patiently.
“Italy is simply different,” said Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc: “The support we are experiencing here is unmatched in the world. It is very special.” And yet a lot is different this time. The popularity that Leclerc and Co. received on the way to the legendary racetrack has long since ceased to exist. The Tifosi turn away.
There will be just 16,000 spectators for the race on Sunday (3 p.m. / RTL, Sky and in the ntv.de live ticker) expected. After a closed race last year, after easing this year, almost three times as many tickets could be sold. Only: You won’t find any buyers.
For the operators of the racetrack, who are expecting a minus of 16 million euros, this is just as problematic a development as it is for the premier class. “I have a hard time imagining Formula 1 without the Italian Grand Prix in Monza,” said Stefano Domenicali, the Italian managing director of Formula 1. But races are also a business: “A profit has to be made.”
Ferrari a source of disappointment
There is currently no question of ending the traditional race. The contract runs until the 2025 season anyway. The absence of fans is still a headache. The high ticket prices of at least 100 euros are given as reasons. The fact that all guests have to show a “green passport”, which identifies them as vaccinated, recovered or tested negative, should be a deterrent.
Ultimately, however, there is also no sporting incentive. In the country of the European soccer champions, which this year also celebrated a 100-meter Olympic victory and the triumph of the Eurovision Song Contest, Ferrari is a constant source of disappointment.
Sebastian Vettel’s victory in Singapore 2019 is the last triumph of the proud Scuderia so far. It is now almost two years ago. In 2021 there were no more than three podium finishes in 13 races. A success like 2019, when winner Leclerc celebrated in front of a red sea of fans, is almost impossible on Sunday. The Reds are currently only fighting for the status of third party behind Mercedes and Red Bull.
“It won’t be an easy weekend,” said Leclerc, “on paper it’s one of the most difficult tracks for us. But we’ll do our best.” Confidence sounds different.
In 2022, when extensive new rules take effect, Ferrari wants to attack the front again. Monza and Formula 1 would be a success. “The enthusiasm that Ferrari can generate in the world is essential for Formula 1,” said Domenicali: “The whole system would benefit from a competitive Ferrari team.”