Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) boss Maurizio Arrivabene hinted about surprise upgrades from Team Scuderia in the next few races, as he remains adamant its championship winning hopes are still high.
Although The Scuderia has still not won a race so far this season, Arrivabene is convinced that the potential is there for Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen to close down the advantage Mercedes has built up in the 1st 8 races of the year.
When asked about potential upgrades that could be arriving to help Ferrari achieve its aim, Mr. Arrivabene suggested there could be something interesting on the horizon.
“I won’t tell you the exact dates, but I can tell you that are engineers do not sleep,” he said. “Some surprises will come, because our chassis engineers are sleeping even less.”
Mr. Arrivabene’s belief that Ferrari can still win the title stems from his believe that the contest between MercedesAMG Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will result in them taking points off each other.
That means that there is scope for Mr. Vettel in particular to make bigger gains than could be expected if he was fighting just one of the MercedesAMG drivers.
“It is not just a matter of the number of race wins, but about how you can put pressure on those ahead of us,” said Mr. Arrivabene.
“We must take into account that Rosberg and Hamilton will take points from each other, because otherwise it would be tough.
“The championship is long and we have had several unfortunate days, while they have had only one bad occasions.
“But if it happens then it is very easy to climb up the points table. We have to believe and have to be positive.
“In Canada we were not far from Mercedes. In Baku, we looked to be in bad shape but then we got on the podium. To me it would be fine to win the title with one win, just as Keke Rosberg did.”
When asked therefore if Mr. Hamilton could in theory be an ally in helping Ferrari close down Mr. Rosberg, Mr. Arrivabene said: “Why not?
“The perfect thing would be that first he is an ally, but then of course he will become the main opponent. There are still 13 races to go, the season is still very long.”
Now for a Key Team issue
If Ferrari retains Kimi Raikkonen for Y 2017, it will be a statement of The Scuderia’s lack of intent.
Sport is all about results, and while the mechanical and political elements of motor racing can sometimes obscure the vision of people, it is impossible to build a convincing case that Mr. Raikkonen has been up to the standards Ferrari demands since his rejoining.
Some may argue this is disrespectful of a driver with a world championship and 20 Grand Prix wins to his name.
But, Mr. Raikkonen will rightly go down as a great driver and be always well respected. But past glories should never lead to one be granted tenure in Formula One, particularly with Ferrari.
Mr. Raikkonen rejoined Ferrari at the start of Y 2014, for a total of 46 races. That is a more than adequate sample set for assessing his performance.
The statistics are damning against him, and he is not up to the standard required when compared to Sebastian Vettel or Fernando Alonzo. Nevertheless, he still should have delivered more than he has done.
Mr. Raikkonen has not won since returning to Ferrari, during which time the team has won just 3 races. He has taken 6 of Ferrari’s 26 podium finishes and has scored 286 points to his team-mates’ 535, or 53.5%.
For your reference: his scoring rate relative to Mr. Alonso was 50.3%, and to Mr. Vettel 54.8%. As for qualifying, the score is 35-9 against Raikkonen.
“That rate is not good enough for a team with world championship aspirations. To win the constructors’, history suggests Ferrari needs Raikkonen scoring at minimum at a rate at least 10% higher, and ideally well beyond that. It also needs him to take points off Vettel’s title rivals. He is simply not doing that,” Ed Straw, Autosport.
Expect Mr. Raikkonen’s contract not to be renewed for the Y 2017 season.
A side note: Sergio Perez says he is “very happy” with Force India but indicated his future in F1 is still uncertain as he continues to be linked with Ferrari.
|HeffX-LTN Analysis for RACE:||Overall||Short||Intermediate||Long|
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