F1: Ferrari’s (NYSE:RACE) SF16-H is a “difficult: car, says CEO Sergio Marchionne
Ferrari’s boss wants immediate results, despite doubts over 2016 car, he says there were “results that didn’t match up to our expectations”
A typically demanding Sergio Marchionne says Ferrari needs results now, despite admitting the new F1 racer being “difficult car”.
Tipped to challenge MercedesAMG at the start of the season, the Scuderia have yet to secure a race victory in Y 2016 and are 81 pts behind their rivals in the Constructors’ Championship.
While Ferrari CEO Marchionne still believes his team can win the title, reliability concerns as well as a lack of pace, particularly in qualifying, have seen them struggle to end Mercedes’ domination.
“Their secret is the stability of the car,” Mr. Marchionne said in an interview. “The Ferrari SF16-H is new compared to the 2015 edition. Although the design looked great, once it took to the track there were some results that didn’t match up to our expectations.
“We are trying to move past that in order to understand what is needed in order to improve our performance.”
Team drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen have also been the victims of rather strange strategy calls this season, with Maurizio Arrivabene under immense scrutiny.
The Scuderia have yet to deliver on their promise to return to the top after 8 races, and Mr. Marchionne’s presence at the Grands Prix races added the pressure.
Asked if Ferrari needed to bring in experienced people from the outside to help, he explained: “We are doing that. We just signed Jock Clear. There are people that are helping out those areas that are struggling.
“We want to round out the team. Results don’t happen overnight, and we need time to bring about tangible results that will likely come in 2017. All this is about the future, but results are needed now.”
Without a constructors’ title since Y 2008, Mr. Marchionne also sought to play down fears that Ferrari were working with ‘methods from the past’.
“I don’t know if we are working with old methods,” he added. “But the current structure is dated and don’t reflect the people we currently have. We have a great company that produces results. We can and must improve.”
The Big Q: Should Ferrari switch attention to next year?
Mr. Arrivabene does not want to publicly give up after just 8 races. And given the pace of the current car, it has the performance to challenge for victories at other points this season.
But Red Bull has significantly upped its game this year, and has a race win to show for it, leaving it just 9 points behind Ferrari.
Delaying the decision to confirm Mr. Vettel’s team-mate for Y 2017 is another distraction. Kimi Raikkonen has upped his game this year, but is still short of Mr. Vettel’s performance.
But next year’s rules reset offers the chance for Ferrari to achieve another title.
That begs the Q: why risk using up resources and time on trying to get a handful of wins this year but finish second overall to Mercedes again at the cost of genuinely challenging in 2017?
The focus needs to be on making the most of its current package and diverting all available resources to next year. It can take whatever opportunities that come its way later this season, but the real goal lies in wait next year.
The next 4 races in 5 weeks are going to set the tone for the season.
If Ferrari has not closed the gap to MercedesAMG by the Summer break, the decision may be simple; continue to fight with what its got to salvage some respectability but switch all development resources to Y 2017.
If Ferrari is serious about wanting to return to the top properly, that is surely its only option.
|HeffX-LTN Analysis for RACE:||Overall||Short||Intermediate||Long|
|Bearish (-0.27)||Neutral (-0.19)||Bearish (-0.33)||Bearish (-0.28)|
For the official information on the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend go to: https://www.formula1.com/content/fom-website/en/championship/races/2016/Austria.html