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F1: Ferrari team profile

Ferrari and F1's histories are so intertwined that the two are almost synonymous, but the Italian team will equal their longest ever drought without a drivers' or constructors' title if they fail to land a trophy in 2023.

The signs looked good early last year when Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz claimed a 1-2 finish in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, and when Leclerc built a 34-point lead in the standings after three races it seemed as though Maranello would be celebrating its first drivers' championship since 2007.

However, not for the first time in the hybrid era, Ferrari's challenge ebbed away as the season progressed and in the end they had to battle to hold on to second place in the teams' list ahead of the more consistent Mercedes, while Red Bull romped to both titles.

What2023 F1 season
WhereAcross the world
WhenSunday 5th March - Sunday 26th November
How to watchSky Sports and Channel 4
Odds (constructors)Red Bull 4/6, Ferrari 11/4, Mercedes 3/1

Much of the focus during pre-season testing has been on whether Red Bull can hold on to their advantage and how much Mercedes can improve after their relatively disastrous 2022 campaign, leaving Ferrari as something of a forgotten team.

However, pre-season preparations have been promising for the Scuderia and they have been trimmed in the market accordingly, now rated 11/4 second favourites for the constructors' championship behind 4/6 Red Bull.

Last year's woes reflect the team's chequered history

Ferrari entered Formula 1 in the inaugural championship in 1950 and have been a constant presence since.

But during that time they have tended to lurch from eras of dominance to periods of total chaos, and last season was a microcosm of that history.

Leclerc took pole position in six of the first eight races to demonstrate the outright pace of the car but, after breaking down while leading in Spain and Azerbaijan, it was clear the team had to rein in some of that speed for the sake of reliability.

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Strategic screw-ups also hampered the team, with poor tactics costing possible wins in Monaco and Hungary and also handicapping Leclerc at Silverstone where teammate Sainz nevertheless claimed victory.

The drivers weren't totally blameless either, with Leclerc crashing out of the lead in France and spinning down the order at Imola, while Sainz retired from four races after collisions (which admittedly weren't all his fault).

Passion leads to pressure

No other F1 team comes close to the reverence in which Ferrari is held, particularly in Italy where they are seen as a national sports team, and that leads to a level of pressure that no other outfit faces.

Any signs of encouraging form are hyped up by the Italian press, while failures are dissected and analysed with the personalities behind every decision put under immense scrutiny.

Team principal Mattia Binotto became the scapegoat for last year's travails and he exited at the end of the season after four years in the post.

His place is taken up this year by Frederic Vasseur, who has spent the last six seasons with the team who currently go under the Alfa Romeo banner after a brief spell as Renault's team boss. Prior to that, he headed up ART Grand Prix, who took Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton to their GP2 titles.

The Parisian's appointment represents the first time since 2007 that a non-Italian is in the role of Ferrari team principal. They will be hoping that takes some of the pressure away - Ferrari are known to be reluctant to hire Italian drivers for that very reason. However, Vasseur lacks experience of managing a team fighting for the championships at the top level.

Positives and negatives from testing

Three days in the desert at the venue of this week's opening Bahrain Grand Prix is all the on-track preparation the teams have had going into the new season, but there is plenty of fat to chew over.

The general impression of Ferrari is that the car is fast, but not quite as fast as the Red Bull. It also had a tendency to chew through its tyres more quickly than ideal - a trait of recent Ferrari designs.

And while the car proved reliable enough with 416 laps completed over the three days - the most among the big three constructors - their customer teams Haas and Alfa Romeo suffered mechanical niggles that will have Ferrari a little concerned going into the first race.

But they look in at least as good a position as they ended last year, and if they can eradicate all the errors of that troubled campaign that could put them in contention to end their title drought.

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