F1 Raceweek: All eyes on Ferrari in Monza


The week of the Italian Grand Prix always brings with it added pressure for Ferrari, but it is an increasingly uncomfortable glare that has been trained on the team over recent months.

Not since September 20 last year have Ferrari enjoyed a race victory or a pole start, with Red Bull - now 22 points clear in the standings - having surpassed them as the main threat to Mercedes' dominance.

The announcement that Williams driver Felipe Massa would retire at the end of this season on Thursday brought Ferrari's long-term failings into even sharper focus.

Not since the Brazilian partnered Kimi Raikkonen in 2007 and 2008 have the Italian outfit won the constructors' title.

In the 10-year period that culminated in that 2008 triumph, Ferrari came out on top on eight occasions. A decade without a constructors' crown would mark a milestone to leave fans of the biggest name on the grid justifiably smarting.

Raikkonen's second stint with Ferrari and his current pairing with four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel have not borne the fruit many hoped it would.

The Finn has achieved just seven podium finishes in 51 Grands Prix since re-joining, while Vettel - without a win in 2016 having won three last year - had achieved double the amount of victories by this stage in his Red Bull career and was well on the way to a first drivers' crown.

"The Italian Grand Prix comes at the right time," said Vettel, who finished sixth in Belgium last weekend following a turn-one incident involving Raikkonen and Max Verstappen.

"We need a little bit of a boost and support from our fans in this moment.

"Our race in Belgium last week did not unfold the way we expected, but it was very positive in terms of pace, so it looks like we have re-connected to the group ahead.

"This is the circuit where I won my first Grand Prix back in 2008 and this race means a lot to me, it's the home race for Ferrari and the support is great.

"I am very much looking forward to this weekend, I think we should have a good one, could fight for the podium and it would be a dream come true winning here with the red suit."

Vettel's assertion that Ferrari "could fight for the podium" may not be enough for a home crowd that demands success.