Former Ferrari driver Jean Alesi believes that the team should receive more praise for the step forward they have taken during the 2022 F1 campaign.
Ferrari have come under fire on several occasions this season for failing to convert strong qualifying performances on race days due to a mixture of strategic blunders, technical problems and driver errors.
After their latest strategy-related drama at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Ferrari find themselves almost 100 points adrift of Red Bull in the Constructors' standings, with Charles Leclerc 80 points behind Max Verstappen in the Drivers' battle.
However, Alesi – who raced for Ferrari from 1991 to 1995, taking his sole F1 victory with the team – feels more should be said about the competitive package the Scuderia have designed for the sport's new technical regulations.
While Red Bull have taken eight of the 13 wins on offer this season, Ferrari have shown their pure pace by claiming pole position in the same number of qualifying sessions.
Alesi sees the positives at Ferrari halfway into the season
Reflecting on Ferrari's campaign so far in an interview with Give Me Sport, Alesi commented: "It's not such a bad season for them, because the last few years they had a very bad car and a bad season.
"They hardly got on the podium, then last year, they recovered a bit. And now with these new regulations they came out with a rocket car [which is] very competitive everywhere.
"But, of course, we are in the middle of the season, and now we can make the kind of judgement on what's happened. And they have had the moments where they made the wrong decision on the wrong moment. And you see how much a small mistake can be a big effect on the bad side.
"What I have to say is it's more important to have a fast car, and then to fine tune the team, because this team [has gone] a long time without winning the championship and they are building a group.
"And they are fighting with a group like Mercedes, or, obviously, Red Bull, who in the last 12 years, they have won everything, and so this fine tuning to be competitive, not only with the car, but also on the racetrack, will take time."
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Alesi: It's not like missing a penalty at the World Cup
Alesi, who started more than 200 races in his F1 career, then made a comparison to the world of football and urged the Scuderia's fans to look at the bigger picture.
"Probably since Ferrari [existed], the attention is always massive and the fans are also very critical," the Frenchman said.
"I have a column in Italy for the newspaper Corriere della Sera and last time after Hungary, I made the column only for the fans. I was saying, 'Please, it's not like the World Cup, every four years, and you miss a penalty, and it's the end of the world – it's not like that'.
"Racing is different. And of course Ferrari are prepared to have a lot of criticism, and they know how to deal with it. But it's not nice.
"I believe so much in [team boss Mattia] Binotto and in the young team because when you have to race against engineers like [Red Bull design chief] Adrian Newey, he is a superstar. As an engineer he has always made winning cars and, to be honest, [the] Ferrari looks faster, so that is a big achievement.
"The criticism from the press or from the fan is normal because Ferrari is Ferrari."
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