Max Verstappen is having an “easy time” en route to his second consecutive drivers’ world championship, according to former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
The 91-year-old, who ran Formula 1 for decades until the Liberty Media era began five years ago, has always consistently said that a competitive Ferrari is crucial to the sport’s success.
And although the Maranello based team is undoubtedly competitive in 2022 after a period of struggle, Ecclestone says he sees signs that Ferrari is reverting to old habits.
“Errors are creeping in again,” he told the Swiss newspaper Blick.
“The reliability we are seeing is often reminiscent of the old days and the drivers themselves are not always confident on the track,” Ecclestone added.
“It means Max is having an easy time in the Red Bull with six wins already.”
Ecclestone insists that he finds no joy in what he sees as Ferrari’s current situation.
“Like many people, I had hoped that Ferrari would succeed again after more than 14 years,” he said, referring to the team’s last championship back in 2008.
“Unfortunately, I have to say that anyone who continues to put their money on Ferrari or Leclerc will get nothing.”
Charles Leclerc, however, is not giving up despite his now 49-point deficit to reigning world champion Verstappen.
“The championship is still young,” he insists.
“Yes, the disadvantage is 49 but that’s two wins – that’s all! Seriously, we just have to keep focusing on ourselves.
“So I’m not worried, I’m extremely motivated to finally have a clean weekend and show that we’re still there and that we’re still strong.”
Indeed, Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko admits that Ferrari has been better at producing as light a car as possible under the all-new 2022 regulations.
“I don’t know what it was at the last race but in one of the most recent ones Ferrari was only half a kilo above the minimum weight,” he is quoted by Autosprint.
“That is far better than us and also in comparison with Mercedes.”
Former Ferrari driver Jean Alesi says it is crucial that the fabled Italian team maintains its “positivity and conviction” after the latest setbacks.
“Leclerc is right when he shows such optimism,” the Frenchman told Corriere della Sera newspaper.
“Such a tight championship puts gearboxes, engines, hydraulic systems and everything else to the limit. The technical troubles have come but they will come for every team.
“We are not even halfway through this championship,” Alesi, 58, said. “There will be plenty of time and opportunities to recover, starting with the next round at Silverstone, a track that rewards champions.”