“Mission Winnow isn’t just some bland statement.”
This, the Tifosi and hundreds of thousands of admirers of arguably the world’s greatest slugfest of speed would hope. It is more than an ambition. Where Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, names responsible for piloting Formula 1’s most successful team are concerned, it is a call to action. To that end, there was palpable excitement surrounding the launch of the SF90 (called ‘670’ internally) at Maranello, the theatre unfurling Grand Prix racing’s legendary stable’s 2019 challenger.
So can Ferrari bounce back?
It’s a question that undoubtedly attracts multiple responses depending on who you are.
As a competitor, regardless of whether you are a backmarker that former driver Raikkonen or current driver Vettel would’ve passed with the ease of breathing, you would hate the idea. And if you were somewhere in the middle field, stuck in the druids or at some mash-up at Stowe, you’d feel challenged limitlessly by the mere thought of it.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) February 15, 2019
That said, if you were Mercedes, a team that has ruled Formula 1 with an iron fist in the past half a decade- whether one likes it or not- you’d want anything but that.
Right, Lewis? What are your thoughts on this one Mr. Wolff, Mr. Binotto would be keen to hear!
So can the sport’s greatest team, one that has birthed the legend of Michael Schumacher, and one whose last world title came, believe it or not, in 2007- finally eclipse Merc in 2019?
While the answer rests in the lap of the future, here’s a thought.
The greats do not mourn over lost chances. The greats push the limits to rise back to the very top. In modern sporting echelon, Ferrari isn’t just a name; it is a tradition. In fact, to say it is a mega brand would perhaps be an understatement. Vettel once famously said, even if you are not a racing fan, you are a Ferrari fan.
It’s that special. But has the team’s form as seen in the past been somewhere remotely close to being feeling great as a fan?
A team that has risen as a synonym of speed, suffered the ignominy of defeat in 2018. In 2017, they were again not able to make Mercedes retreat. Rewind the clocks back further to 2016, and for any die-hard fan of the racing team, the idea that they failed to win wouldn’t prove a reason to smile.
What was the story in the starting era of the turbo-powered run in 2014, continued a year later, albeit with notable improvements as seen in 2015.
In the past half a decade, even as the Maranello-based outfit was able to second Mercedes and ensure that Red Bull Racing had a lot of catching up to do, the focus of everyone’s attention is back to where it belongs: the launch of the Ferrari 2019 F1 car.
So now that the Ferrari F1 2019 car has been launched, the 670 leaving the curtains behind, what wonders what might be going in the minds of Sebastian Vettel, a driver who’s responsible, along with Lewis Hamilton (of Mercedes) for giving the modern sport, swamped in the era of technology and plodded by excesses of research and marketing the sport’s greatest modern rivalry.
What you also cannot avoid is to think that can Vettel make the best of someone with 4 world titles against his name use the SF90 to his full advantage to finally end Hamilton and therefore, Mercedes’ ascendency?
But while conjectures would only serve as much purpose as does worrying about spilled milk, what’s slated to certainly help the team waiting for the ‘Red Letter Day’ to rule would be to have Frenchman Charles Leclerc do full justice to his (redoubtable) talent.
Reiterating the fact that the ‘entire’ team has to come together should it wish to raise the flag high in 2019, the team principal along with the two drivers, addressed a gathering arrested by familiar swashbuckle and, of course, new promises.
To that end, it’s worthwhile to make a note of the fact that given their obvious struggles vis-a-vis Mercedes; there’s quite simply no going back now. So can the sport, given its elites and impassioned fans expect to see the – Prancing Horse at its best with SF90?
Here’s keenly awaiting for March 17 to answer what is clearly the sport’s most potent query. For now, Forza Ferrari.