Two Wins in 2015?

Posted on March 5, 2015.

Written by Jack Target:

All this effort for two wins?

When Ferrari released the image for their car for the upcoming Formula 1 season, the first thing that came to mind was ‘how the mighty have fallen’.

At the top of the page was a picture of the famous red car with its two drivers standing alongside it. To the left was Ferrari’s newest member, four time world champion Sebastian Vettel and former champion Kimi Raikkonen. Five world titles and the most famous car in sports. Underneath read the headline ‘FERRARI AIM FOR TWO WINS IN 2015’.

I couldn’t quite believe what I was looking at. To me it was like Manchester United stating that their season’s objective was ‘a good cup run and to avoid relegation’.

However this headline shouldn’t be a surprise considering the team didn’t have a single car cross the finish line first in 2014.

But this isn’t just any team going through a bad patch, this is Ferrari. The expectation level is raised a few notches. It is almost a duty to the racing gods that this team should be the best of the best. While you can’t always rely on the name and its history, this is why they can attract a four time world champion in Vettel, when the last time they provided a winning car was in 2008 for Raikkonen.

I grew up watching F1 when most people were turning their attention to other sports. Every other week I would put on any item of clothing that was red and cheer on Michael Schumacher winning pretty much every weekend. For a young Ferrari fan it was brilliant. As I grew up I came to realise this was not exactly great for F1. We all experienced the same feeling when Vettel won his championships for Red Bull. Despite it being boring you can appreciate how hard it is to be successfull for so long. Every year there are rule changes to create some kind of parity in F1 and still one driver can dominate. From 2000-2004 that driver was Schumacher and that team was Ferrari.

Recent years, however, haven’t been so kind. Ferrari have been nowhere in the constructors standings and they wouldn’t have even had a sniff at the drivers’ championship if they didn’t have Fernando Alonso, who dragged that car kicking and screaming. Like many of the best teams in all sports it has been a period of disappointment.

This hasn’t been the only time Ferrari have struggled (the 1980s and 1990s) yet the list of world class drivers to have raced in Ferrari red continues to grow. There is an allure that still grips drivers who want to emulate the likes of Ascari, Fangio, Lauda and of course Schumacher. It is the same appeal that brings in new fans and keeps the old ones loyal and continuing to support the team no matter who is driving for them.

It is why after one of the worst spells in recent memory, a four time world champion would leave such a successful Red Bull team to race for them. Despite his notoriety, he will still be loved if he wins for Ferrari by the same people who loathed him just a year ago.

We all know that no team is supported quite like Ferrari in F1. On race weekend the fans will have flags and banners for different teams, but the flags often change from one team to another when their favourite driver moves on (Lewis Hamilton from McLaren to Mercedes for example). However no matter where in the world a race is the Ferrari fans always come out strong.

If you were a complete novice to F1 last year it would seem very odd to see the support and love for Ferrari, a team that hadn’t won a race all season. The hope is this year will be the start of another rebuilding process. Whilst the car and engine catches up to the likes of Red Bull and Mercedes, Ferrari can rely on two very talented drivers.

In all sports the mighty have fallen before and so have Ferrari. The only solace a Ferrari fan can take from these last few years is that, albeit a strange place to be in, it is good for all of us so we can appreciate the good times when they roll back.

After the initial shock of seeing that headline you soon come to realise Ferrari could have been in a much worse position. There was a time not so long ago when Ferrari were looking at options of moving away. But F1 needs Ferrari. Whether it is to keep with history or to attract fans or to even just to have a car on the track that isn’t blue or silver, Ferrari is integral to the validity of F1. Even Martin Brundel admitted last season it was “good for the sport” when Ferrari are challenging.

We might not have had a team to support, let alone a disappointing one over the last few years. With that in mind you can see why team principle Maurizio Arrivabene would be happy with just two wins this season.

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