Formula One chief executive Stefano Domenicali attends the 150th anniversary celebration of Italian tyremaker in Milan, Italy, January 28, 2022. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo/Files
March 21, 2022
By Abhishek Takle
MANAMA (Reuters) – Ferrari’s return to form with a one-two win in Sunday’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix will boost Formula One and help sell more tickets, chief executive Stefano Domenicali has said.
The Maranello-based team are the sport’s oldest and most successful, crowning great champions like Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher, but Charles Leclerc’s victory at Sakhir was their first since 2019.
Ferrari fans have had to endure years of disappointment with the team either off form or, when competitive, flattering to deceive.
Sunday was the team’s first season-opening one-two since 2010 and ended a 45-race winless streak, raising genuine optimism that Ferrari have nailed the sport’s radical rules overhaul and are back in contention.
“To see Ferrari back again competitive is very good for everyone,” Domenicali, a former Ferrari team principal, told reporters after the race.
“I’m sure that this will have an impact on the numbers of ticket sales that the promoter will sell. I’m expecting in Imola a big crowd as in the old days.”
The Italian track, named after Ferrari founder Enzo and his son Dino, hosts the fourth race on the calendar and first of two home grands prix for Ferrari.
A sell-out crowd could be on the cards, especially if Ferrari keep their competitive run of form going through the long-haul races in Saudi Arabia and Australia.
Team principal Mattia Binotto said Ferrari, who have not won a title since 2008 despite having season-opening wins in 2017 and 2018, had to temper their expectations.
He said Red Bull, whose world champion Max Verstappen went wheel to wheel with Leclerc and would have finished second but for a fuel system failure that put him out of the race, were still favourites.
“Jeddah in a week’s time can be a completely different picture,” he said.
(Reporting by Abhishek Takle; editing by Ken Ferris)