Nico Rosberg tells Ferrari they need ‘serious changes’ after French Grand Prix blunders

After Charles Leclerc’s crash at the French Grand Prix, Ferrari’s indecisiveness over whether to pit Carlos Sainz played out over team radio

Kieran Jackson
Formula 1 Correspondent
Monday 25 July 2022 10:23 BST
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Nico Rosberg believes Ferrari need to make some “serious changes” after a day largely to forget on the pit wall at the French Grand Prix.

With race leader Charles Leclerc crashing out on lap 18 after making what he admitted was a “mistake”, Carlos Sainz stormed through the field having started in 19th place due to an engine penalty.

Yet after being given a five-second time penalty for an unsafe release during the first round of pit stops, there was indecisiveness on the pit wall and in the cockpit over whether to pit again or take the penalty at the end of the race.

While battling Sergio Perez for third place, Ferrari ordered Sainz to pit and the Spaniard understandably responded “not now, not now” as he tried to overtake the Mexican.

Having eventually made the pass, Ferrari played it safe and opted to pit Sainz, pushing him back to ninth before he eventually recovered to fifth by the chequered flag - yet 2016 world champion Rosberg could not believe what he was watching.

“I was shaking my head, like ‘what on earth are they doing there?’,” Rosberg told Sky F1.

“First of all, he was in the middle of a huge battle out on track and his whole team wasn’t watching that anymore, they had their heads down doing their calculations about pit-stop times and they were talking to him in the middle of the wheel-to-wheel action there.

“I’m like ‘guys, what on earth are you doing?’ And then Carlos is P3 and comfortably he would have been able to stay there, the tyres would have been fine until the end, and he even had the chance to still get Lewis for P2. Then they bring him in with no chance to go beyond P5 where he ended up.

Nico Rosberg could not believe what he was watching on the Ferrari pit wall (Steven Paston/PA)
Nico Rosberg could not believe what he was watching on the Ferrari pit wall (Steven Paston/PA) (PA Archive)

“What on earth is going on there? Really, I think it’s time they made some changes there, some serious changes. Terrible judgement there and I can’t explain it. Mattia really needs to get on top of that and make some serious changes there now.”

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto defended the team’s decision afterwards, saying: “Carlos was short on life with tyres, it would have been really risky. It was the safest and right decision. We don’t think it cost us a place.”

It is not the first time strategy calls have been questioned at Ferrari this season; Leclerc was livid during the Monaco Grand Prix after a pit stop cost him a podium place and the Monegasque was also unhappy after not being pitted during a safety car period in the British Grand Prix.

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