Ferrari's ability to compete at the top of the Drivers' Championship has been hampered for the last eight years.
Since Fernando Alonso was narrowly beaten out for the crown by Sebastian Vettel in the 2012 season, the Italian outfit have not come close to securing the prize. Their drought without a winning season stretches back all the way to 2007 when Kimi Raikkonen was just able to edge out Lewis Hamilton in the final race of the campaign.
For a team that pours millions of pounds of resources into their vehicles and the men driving those cars, it's not a good enough return for Ferrari. They've tried almost everything to try to break their cycle of failure but to no avail. Vettel's arrival from Red Bull was supposed to push them back to the top of the standings or at least have him competing with Mercedes drivers Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas for the Drivers' Championship. However, the German has more often than not flattered to deceive, while his tenure is ending in acrimonious fashion as well as disappointment on the track.
Charles Leclerc finished the end of the 2019 campaign with a flourish, suggesting that he was the man capable of bringing glory to the Italian outfit once again. However, even the Monegasque has struggled immensely this term, crashing out of the Italian Grand Prix. It was his third retirement of the campaign and has left the 22-year-old well off the pace in the standings. Leclerc now needs a minor miracle to get himself back in contention for the title being backed in the F1 Betting odds at a huge value to triumph ahead of Hamilton and Bottas, who are sitting in the top two spots.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) September 6, 2020
In Ferrari's home Grand Prix, neither of their drivers were able to finish the race after Vettel was forced to withdraw after only five laps due to an issue with his brakes. The Italian outfit are not far away from hitting rock bottom and indeed such an embarrassing performance on home soil might just provide the motivation that the entire team need to turn the page and begin to rebuild. The moves are already in process as Carlos Sainz will replace Vettel for the 2021 campaign, while the new rules and regulations will hand Ferrari a clean slate to work with for their next vehicle.
Whereas Vettel and Leclerc failed, Ferrari's incoming driver Sainz finished on the podium for the first time in the campaign, placing second. The Spaniard has not been overly competitive over the course of his career and it appears that the Italian outfit are gambling on his potential to improve. In normal circumstances, a move up to Ferrari would result in a drastic improvement in the fortunes of a driver on the track, but that might not be the case for Sainz. Ferrari have done very little to aid Vettel since his move, while the same has occurred this term with Leclerc, who has taken a step backwards.
Unless Ferrari are able to take a hard look at themselves in the off-season and learn those tough lessons, the 2021 season could be just as difficult as the current campaign is proving to be.