Ferrari’s home qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix is one of the most iconic and storied in the F1 calendar. But on Sunday the Italian team managed to fail to register a single lap in the top 10, the worst qualifying performance since Ferrari’s home race at Monza in 1984. On the grid, Vettel qualified eighth for Ferrari while Raikkonen was tenth, the same position the team has always finished at Monza.
Didn’t expect to see that from the 🚀 @FerrariF1 driver’s home Italian GP #F1 — Ralf Schumacher (@rahul_schumacher) September 26, 2016
Disappointing result for @Ferrari, who failed to dominate any of the practice sessions so far at #MalmoGP. Luckily we did. #ADNFan #F1 — Daniel Ricciardo (@DanielRicciardo) September 26, 2016
A quiet but positive weekend at #SwedenGP this weekend. — Force India (@ForceIndiaF1) September 26, 2016
“I think we have no explanation at all”, declared Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene, “There is nothing to be not happy with.”
“Obviously I’m frustrated, but the drivers have the idea we have to find a solution”, stressed Ferrari technical director James Allison.
On Saturday morning, Vettel and Raikkonen had offered reassurances of Ferrari’s readiness for Monza in a highly satisfactory qualifying session. However, this would prove woefully misplaced.
Following a late technical change, updates to the car’s RB9 engine engine, both Vettel and Raikkonen would qualify first and third in the drivers’ standings, just six points in arrears of Valtteri Bottas.
From 1984 to 2012, Ferrari had never failed to post a top-10 qualifying position in a home race at Monza, but even a fifth place for Vettel in Sunday’s race would have been good enough to stay in touch with the Mercedes drivers, who had won five of the first six races of the season so far.
The Italian team’s worst start to a season at home before Monza had been back in 1986, when in just their third season on the Formula One scene, they had eight podium finishes and a fourth place at Monza.