Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has questioned the priorities of « certain members of the Ferrari team » after it registered its worse qualifying performance of the season at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Ferrari qualified 13th and 14th at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday, 1.7s off the pace of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton on pole position. At the same circuit last year, both Ferraris were on the front row of the grid and Charles Leclerc won the race.
Ferrari was Mercedes’ closest rivals for the title last year, but experienced a loss of performance over the winter after an FIA investigation into its power unit led to a private settlement with the team. Its rivals had held suspicions over the legality of the Ferrari engine last year and, while the Italian team insists it did not break any regulations, it has admitted it lost performance as a result of the FIA settlement.
Wolff said Ferrari’s slump in performance was bad for Formula One and appeared to take aim at the team’s top management.
« Ferrari is an iconic brand and they should be racing at the very front, » Wolff said. « It’s not good for Formula One, not good for the competition at the front and I very much feel for all the tifosi for this lack of performance.
« But at the end, one must question the priorities that have been set in recent times and where the lack of performance comes from. Overall, nobody from the fans and the Ferrari people deserve such a result. »
Asked to clarify what he meant by questioning the priorities if the team, Wolff added: « It’s wrong to say Ferrari’s priorities because that drags Ferrari and everybody at Ferrari into this.
« It’s maybe the decisions that have been made within the team from certain members of the team. »