Sergio Marchionne, Kimi raikkonen, Sebastoan Vettel, Maurizio Arrivabene, Finali Mondiali

Marchionne: We have to give the guys some time

At the start of the 2016 Formula 1 season Ferrari big boss Sergio Marchionne was filled with fire and brimstone as he demanded – make that predicted – results from his team, only to be left with egg on his face as the Reds did quite the opposite by not delivering a win all year.

As the reality of Formula 1 dawned on the team president, after all he is a Formula 1 rookie in terms of experience within the sport, he has toned down his rhetoric considerably.

Speaking to media at Finali Mondiali at Daytona, Marchionne said, “I think the change in August represents the beginning of the refounding (sic) of our sport management.”

“We need to give the guys time: they are working very well and we will see what they bring us, but I believe this is the solution. I have utmost faith in Mattia Binotto, for what he has been able to do in his career with Ferrari and what he is doing now managing the technicians.”

Reflecting on the season Marchionne said, “We were much more competitive than where we left in 2015. It’s not that we got worse, the others improved, but this is due to many reasons that we understand quite well.”

“Our technical director James Allison had personal problems and left, and I think you have to give time to the guys who have been together only months.”

“I have every confidence in Mattia Binotto but our problem was aerodynamics which we have had historically at Ferrari in recent years. Especially Red Bull this year did a fabulous job and left us behind,” conceded Marchionne.

In the light of Nico Rosberg’s sudden retirement, Marchionne was asked about the situation with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, “Both drivers are under contract for 2017.”

But admitted, “What happens next, I don’t know, but I think a lot depends on how we manage the 2017 season. If we repeat 2016, I do not think we will have the ability to attract excellent drivers.”

As for Rosberg’s decision to leave Mercedes, Marchionne said, “I was surprised, but I do not expect Mercedes to be weaker without him. Rather, I hope Ferrari will be stronger.”

Also at the event in Florida, were Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, accompanied by team principal Maurizio Arrivabene.

Vettel and Raikkonen did demo runs on the day, but were tight lipped about Formula 1, although Vettel did say, “I have reasons to believe that we will have a much stronger package in 2017.”

With Arrivabene adding, “We have seen positive signs since the restructuring of the engineering office, for example, in Japan and Abu Dhabi.”