Ex-Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn says the team “badly needs a win” to boost morale after finishing over a minute behind Mercedes at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
As Formula 1 enters a four-week summer break, Ferrari failed to taste victory in first half of the season despite Sebastian Vettel crossing the line first in Canada before receiving his 10-second time penalty.
The Italian outfit endured a tough outing in Hungary as highest-placed driver Vettel was classified more than 60 seconds adrift of victor Lewis Hamilton in third place.
Brawn, who was a major figure in Ferrari’s dominant period with Michael Schumacher from 2000-2004, believes the break has come “at the right time” to allow the Scuderia to assess its present issues.
“One knew from the track characteristics that this race would not suit the Ferrari car, but not to the extent we saw, especially in the race,” said Brawn in his post-race column.
“The times from the third sector, where you need maximum downforce, speak volumes, as the car was so far off the pace of the Mercedes and Red Bulls.
“The summer break has probably come at just the right time because I’m well aware of how the pressure can build on Ferrari when things aren’t going well.
“It won’t do any harm to take a breather and recharge the batteries. Then, once the racing starts again, the aero requirements of Spa and Monza could put Vettel and Leclerc right in the fight again considering the aero efficiency of their cars.
“Ferrari badly needs a win, not so much for their championship aspirations, but as a morale booster, to prove that it has the potential to be a championship contender, an obligation it has always been under.”
Brawn too credited Mercedes for its bold decision to switch Hamilton to a two-stop strategy to overhaul Max Verstappen, labelling it a “masterstroke” from the reigning world champions.
“Earlier, the two men fought a thrilling duel that went in the Dutchman’s favour,” added Brawn.
“It’s true Max’s tyres were shot towards the end, but Mercedes had the benefit of seeing first hand what the hard tyres could do, thanks to a long stint from Valtteri Bottas.
“It seemed odd to be calling Hamilton in when his tyres seemed in good enough shape to keep pushing but it turned out to be a masterstroke.
“Mercedes therefore deserve credit for taking a risk on strategy when they could have gone the more obvious route and then wait for the race to evolve.”