Bella Manfredi recollects her affinity for Scuderia Ferrari, describing how she got into Formula 1 whilst sat in her grandparents’ living room as a child.
When I think of my Grandad, I always remember him with his paint-stained work trousers, his wide-eyes, and his Ferrari caps. As a child I was fascinated with them, and I attribute my love affair with Ferrari to him. My Grandad was born in Italy and lived in Setterone, a mountain village in the North of the country. He moved to the UK when he was an adult for work purposes and met my Nana. They had three children, the oldest of which was my dad. The love for F1 runs through my dad too, as well as his younger brother, and over time it percolated to me and my own siblings.
I fondly remember visiting my grandparents’ house most Sundays. For those of you that are familiar with F1, you’ll know that most race days occur on Sundays, so we frequently watched Alonso and Massa trying to capture points whilst crowded in their living room. I myself have three younger brothers, all of whom show some degree of interest in the sport. Whilst a couple of them adore Lando (let’s be real, who doesn’t?) due to his streaming away from race day, the one thing that unites us is the fact we always want the same people to get podiums. I’ll leave it to you to speculate who we prefer, but given that we were brought up by a family of Schumacher fans…have a guess!
Has it always been easy loving Ferrari? No. There have been some frustrating years, especially the times where Ferrari have been good but not quite good enough. Sebastian Vettel was a force to be reckoned with during his days at Red Bull, and I vividly remember how infuriated that living room would be when he just won and won and won. Schumi won his last Driver’s Championship (DC) when I was three years old, so I don’t really remember this- is anybody surprised? It’s been a painful drought for Ferrari fans, and there have undoubtedly been times where I’ve felt annoyed that I couldn’t have just supported Red Bull or Mercedes.
Although Kimi Raikkonen won Ferrari their last DC in 2007, and I do remember this, there have been many times where drivers should’ve perhaps seen silverware. Massa and Alonso defined my childhood, and their short-comings were painful. Growing up I adored Fernando, most likely because my favourite Liverpool player was also coincidentally named Fernando Torres. Both Liverpool and Ferrari have been used to coming close but not close enough for most of my lifetime… it’s annoying, I know. So why stick with them? Why endure the pain of knowing that the most you can really hope for is third place in the Constructor’s Championship?
Under the guise of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, two incredible drivers, the Scuderia unit are becoming fun to watch on and off screen. Yes, some results may not align with the hopes that the team may have, but both Leclerc and Sainz have had some stand-out performances this season. Not many cars can come close to the Red Bull and Mercedes units at the moment, but the Ferrari duo are on an upwards trajectory. Are the days of DNFs and poor pitstops behind them? There’s no guarantee, but you’d think so, given the impressive back-to-back stop executed at Qatar a few weeks ago. Not only this, but the team have the new regulations to look forward to next year. Could this pull them back into line with Mercedes and Red Bull? You’ll get a better answer to this from Alex Pennington’s upcoming article, I’m sure. Development is ongoing for the 2022 car and progress on the year’s vehicle was halted in June, so hopefully there’ll be something to smile about for Ferrari fans in the future.
McLaren are also a force to be reckoned with, with British star Lando Norris and the experienced Daniel Ricciardo, who has taken a little longer to adapt to the new team but has still had some decent performances. A challenge should emerge between the two sides to secure third in the CC, although it appears that Ferrari will beat them to it this year. However, there are concerns about funding entering 2022, with the Italian side normally one of the ones with more money to dispose; I’ll forgo speculation for now and just nervously anticipate what next year could look like.
The reason I can’t abandon the team is my Grandad. He was fiercely proud of his Italian heritage, and it’s the reason I support Italy when watching football too. Some may laugh at the idea of supporting an F1 team based on being 1/4 Italian, but others would understand the link. My Grandad meant the world to me and introduced me to F1, and sticking with Ferrari is the least I cam do to make him proud.
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