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Italian media irate over Sainz penalty: They must fire Wittich immediately

Ferrari had a disastrous Australian Grand Prix by scoring exactly zero points, which has prompted some in Italian media to react.

When Carlos Sainz was handed a five-second time penalty for his restart crash with Fernando Alonso, it capped off a disappointing weekend for Ferrari. The team came away from Melbourne with zero points, while Charles Leclerc has still yet to reach double digits in the Drivers Championship standings. With just 26 points for the team it is one of the worst starts to a season since 2020 for Ferrari, and has prompted a fierce reaction from Italian media outlets. Corriere della Sera believes FIA Race Director Niels Wittich was wrong to refer Sainz to the stewards: "Competition leader Niels Wittich gets a zero from us. He, like his predecessor Michael Masi, did everything wrong. He seems to want to cover himself on all fronts, so as not to be held liable." "The FIA also gets a zero, because they show no flexibility at all when applying the rules. In fact, the rules are not properly applied at all. They must fire Wittich immediately." Despite the criticism aimed at the FIA, they add that Sainz made a poor judgement in trying to overtake Alonso: "Sainz has to look in the mirror, but his punishment was exaggerated. Leclerc was frustrated after qualifying and was already out after three turns a day later."

Sainz to blame for lack of podium

La Gazzetta dello Sport is slightly more supporting of the decision from Race Control to red flag the race: "They didn't want to finish a race behind a safety car after the Monza '22 debacle themselves." They also point the blame towards Sainz for missing out on his podium. "Leclerc ended up in the gravel because he was too rushed and Carlos Sainz unfortunately went 'wrong' at the restart. Before that, he drove forward handsomely and was on for a podium." The Corriere dello Sport is much more critical over Ferrari's race management, believing the team made too many mistakes which resulted in zero points being scored. "Ferrari is losing patience with the far too nervous drivers. Leclerc immediately went KO, while Sainz had a chance to win a podium, but ruined everything himself." "We have to write about mistakes, plural, because it doesn't stop at one mistake. It is not for nothing that Ferrari has only 26 points. Leclerc was furious and needs to calm down. Of course, he can't help Ferrari being too slow, but losing this way only makes everything worse." "The podium was deserved for Ferrari, but Sainz threw everything away by hitting Alonso."

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