Ferrari’s future is bright in the hands of Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi.
It was announced yesterday that the 24-year-old Giovinazzi would officially graduate Ferrari’s young driver program and flank Kimi Raikkonen next season at Sauber. He will take the seat of Marcus Ericsson who will remain with the team in a third driver role and ambassador for the team.
Ferrari exercised its right to nominate Giovinazzi to Sauber due to its technical alliance agreement. This move provides Ferrari with a secured seat for the continued development of their young driver at the highest level of competition. It is a problem that their rivals at Mercedes are currently having, as they are squirming to find an adequate seat for their young star Esteban Ocon. Who may on his way out of Formula One altogether.
The news that Leclerc is going to become the number two driver at Ferrari came as no shock. His maiden campaign has been as impressive as his talent. Because of it, he got rewarded with a contract with Ferrari that expires at the end of the 2022 campaign. This contract pairs him with the 4-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel, for the next two years, and will give him a chance to learn and provide him with a lofty carrot to chase.
We discovered that Vettel does not handle internal team competition well in 2014 when Ricciardo joined him at Red Bull. Vettel needs the conformation and belief that he is the number one driver and Leclerc’s challenge to Vettel is going to be an exciting twist to watch next year. By nominating Leclerc, Ferrari is honoring the decision of the late Sergio Marchionne. From what I can gather, it came without the blessing of Vettel, who has been enjoying Raikkonen’s team obedience. We should expect there to be some tension in that Ferrari paddock as Vettel tries to understand his future. If he doesn’t produce a championship with the remaining years of his tenure, he will be finding employment elsewhere.
We can argue that Vettel has underperformed at his time a Ferrari. While the victories are sweet, the championships he has won for Ferrari are at a whopping zero. That has to start making the Tifosi restless as their rivals are once again, driving away with another championship.
Barring a catastrophic collapse by Mercedes or an outlandish mistake from Lewis Hamilton, the 40 point deficit does seem impossible to overcome. With their present looking bleak, the future for the Italian outfit looks promising and bright. The experience that Leclerc and Giovinazzi will gain will be exponential compared to their rival drivers at Mercedes and will be the difference in future championships. The cars Ferrari produce are good, but it will be their drivers that will make Ferrari great.