Tag Archives: Ferrari

Toto Wolff: “Ferrari will be a very important competitor…”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff acknowledges that Ferrari is catching Mercedes after Sebastian Vettel kept in touch with the pacesetters in Brazil.

The German finished just 14secs behind winner Nico Rosberg, and 6secs behind Lewis Hamilton. It was his 13th visit to the podium in 2015.

I am anticipating a robust challenge from Ferrari because they have done some clever moves,” said Wolff. “And they have definitely caught up. You can see that even towards the end of the race today Sebastian was not very far away, when Lewis and Nico were pushing flat out biggest gap was seven seconds. That is not a clear-cut dominant race win. I think we will have a situation where Ferrari will be a very important competitor.

After a relatively low-key race in Brazil Wolff was asked if the sport needed a further step from Ferrari to improve next year’s show he said: “I think we are not relying on it. We wouldn’t want to rely on it! What you can see again with aerodynamic efficient cars, it is very difficult to follow. You destroy your tyres and when you destroy your tyres by attacking and being close for a couple of laps you have no performance left in the tyres. It is nothing new.

We have seen this the last decades, always the same. And in the race the top guys were running away at the front, there wasn’t any rain and not a lot of incidents in the race. It is like a good and a bad football match, and today we have probably seen one of the boring football matches.”


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Sebastian Vettel: “I hope that next year is a big step…”

Sebastian Vettel says he’ll have a lot more input into next year’s Ferrari having joined the team too late last season to have much impact on the 2015 car.

Vettel is also optimistic about Ferrari’s future prospects, especially given the progress the team has made in the course of this season.

“A lot more,” he said when asked about his input for 2016. “You don’t join the team until you join the team. Obviously there were a lot of decisions that were already taken, some decisions were taken when I was there already.

“The season we’ve had so far has been phenomenal, if you think firstly about where the team was last year. Second the situation that we faced at the very beginning, a lot of new people, people were changing positions within the factory. It’s not that easy all those things to digest for a team, but it has been great, and really strong getting the team together. I’m quite confident, and I hope that next year is a big step.”

Asked what changes he wanted to see he added: “I don’t really want to tell! If you look just at the organisation there’s been a lot of work going in trying to get the team together. There’s a lot of new people, people change their position within the company. Usually those things take time, just so that everybody understands what to do, getting everything right in terms of timing as well, that has been the main challenge this year for the while team.

“Also I was new at the beginning, so that people understand my language, when I talk about the car, the behaviour of the car, the weaknesses. So I think there’s a possibility for us to improve. Obviously we’ve done a massive step on the engine, that’s ongoing.

“At the end we want to have the best engine and the best car, so there’s plenty of stuff to do. It’s no secret that we need a little bit more downforce than we currently have, but it’s more the organisation behind it.”

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Kimi Raikkonen: “I don’t think it was something completely stupid…”

Kimi Raikkonen was demoted from fifth to eighth place in the Russian GP results after being penalised for causing a collision with Valtteri Bottas.

The two Finns collided while battling for third on the last lap. Raikkonen managed to crawl across the line in fifth, but was subsequently given a 30 second penalty, and three points on his licence.

His demotion also meant that Ferrari was finally out of mathematical contention for the constructors’ title, leaving Mercedes confirmed as champions.

“I went inside and I think he never realised that I was there,” said Raikkonen. “Obviously at the last point I knew that he was just turning in so I tried to go more inside and I had brake harder to try to avoid it, but I was next to him already, so obviously there was contact.

“I don’t think it was something completely stupid. I want to try, for sure I would have made the corner, but obviously there were two cars. There are many ways of looking at the incident. I was there but obviously he didn’t know that I was there, and then you will have a contact. Unfortunate thing, not just for us for them also. You never want to have accidents, but things happen.”


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Sebastian Vettel: “We need to have a flawless weekend”

Sebastian Vettel is in optimistic mood heading into the Austrian GP weekend, although the Ferrari star concedes that he’ll only get a shot at victory if Mercedes under performs in some way.

“I think ideally we always try to fight for the win,” he said on Thursday. “I know that we have a strong package this year, a strong car, so if everything goes normal then we should be a little bit further up again, especially on Saturday this weekend.

“But we also have to be realistic [in] challenging the Mercedes. We know that first of all we need to have a flawless weekend, a perfect weekend and maybe hoping for them to have a little bit of a struggle. But in normal circumstances it is quite difficult to beat them as they are still the favourites going in, and there is still quite a big gap.”
Meanwhile Vettel conceded that he enjoyed his charge through the field in Canada.

“For sure it was more entertaining than the races before. It’s normal when you come from the back. Obviously first of all you go through cars that are slower than you. In general, obviously it was busier and at the end once I had my position I think I could extract a little bit more the pace of the car.

“But overall it was quite exciting and it was a good recovery, valuable points. We avoided all the risk in the opening lap which is always a bit messy if you are in the back of the field, but fortunately it all worked out and as I said we could get good points.”

Regarding prospects for the rest of the year he added: “First of all I think you have to see that it is natural that from track to track it might vary a bit but I think we’ve already done an incredible job. If you look at winter testing and where we are now, I think we consider ourselves to be quite a bit closer. Yeah, obviously it’s not that easy to make the gap smaller and smaller because Mercedes is a strong team, and obviously they are improving as well.

“They introduced a new spec of engine in Canada so they’re also making progress but our target for sure, is to make bigger progress to finally close the gap, so for sure, we are hoping that in the second part of the season, we are starting to get closer – closer than we are now.”

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Ferrari can still reach target of three wins, says Arrivabene

Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene insists that the update package that the team introduced in Spain was successful – but he admits that there is much work to be done to close the gap to Mercedes that opened up again this weekend.

Sebastian Vettel ran the new package in the race, whereas Kimi Raikkonen went back to more proven elements. Vettel dropped back on the hard tyre in the final stint to finish 45s behind winner Nico Rosberg.

The comparison between the two cars is clearly there,” said Arrivabene. “Sebastian was going very well, we need to improve of course the new solution. Here in Barcelona it is not an easy track, but it was not easy for all the others too. The gap with Mercedes is there; now we need to analyse all the data we collect to understand what is clear.

We are not blind, it is the fact that in the last sector we were losing half a second. I am not escaping the reality, it is there – we need to understand and we need to find out how to improve the new package. The new package is better than the old one.”

Regarding the gap to Mercedes he added: “We need to understand if it is related to this track, which for us is difficult, or it is related to us. This is good to know in the next few days where we are, Tuesday or Wednesday, to finalise the comparison.

If something was wrong, I am not criticising anybody, I am taking my responsibility because I am here at the head of the team, if something is wrong and we have gone back, we have to have humility, we have to say we made a mistake. At the moment the numbers that we have in comparison are telling us that the solution is good, but the reality is it is not good enough, so we have to work.”

Arrivabene is adamant that the team can achieve his stated target of winning three races in 2015.

I still believe that this is achievable but there is nothing is life that you can achieve without working hard and this is what we have to do. I don’t really care about being on the podium. If you look at the situation that we had last year, now every race weekend we are on the podium, but what I care about is the gap. If we want to win two or three races we have to be able to be there, at the moment we are not.”


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James Allison: “We do look as if our pace is reasonably good…”

Ferrari technical director James Allison says it’s too early to judge Ferrari’s true form in Malaysia following a promising first day for the team in Sepang.

Kimi Raikkonen was second fastest in FP2 and some 0.373s off Lewis Hamilton, although admittedly the Briton did not have an easy day. The red car looked particularly good on the medium option tyre, although Sebastian Vettel didn’t get a clean run on it and was thus down in seventh.

“I don’t know, we’ll find out on Sunday!,” Allison said when asked about prospects for the race. “But we do look as if our tyre deg is quite good, and we do look as if our pace is reasonably good. But everyone uses the Fridays differently, so you never know what the others were doing. But we feel it’s been a good day.”

Regarding Raikkonen’s pace he said: “The car’s going well, he’s going well, and so is Sebastian, to be honest. If you look at where Sebastian was in FP2, his best time was set on the prime tyre, and Kimi’s on the option, albeit a scrubbed option. So I think both of them are going well and I expect Kimi will have a good race on Sunday, as should Sebastian, based on the pace we saw today.

Asked by this writer about closing the gap to Mercedes he said: “It would be nice if they could feel us breathing down their collars, or even in the course of time get ourselves in front of them. I think the delta we saw in Melbourne probably was a little unkind to us. I think we probably should have been a little bit ahead of the Williams in qualifying, and then driven up the road 15 or 20 seconds more than we did. It would be nice to have a clean qualifying here and see what we can do.”

Meanwhile Allison made some interesting observations about the improvements seen in this year’s Ferrari package.

“In pure lap times the gains are almost equal, chassis and power unit wise. I guess on the chassis as normal the lion’s share of the gains are aerodynamic, because that’s the thing that has the most authority to put lap time on the car. So on the chassis side its 80/20 aero versus some quite useful gains that have been made in the cooling efficiency of the car, which then translate into aero by allowing you to run the car tighter at the back.”

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Maurizio Arrivabene: “Kimi, you are like a hammer…”

New Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene continues to make a good impression, and after the race he gave an intriguing insight into his man management skills.

He made it clear that on a day when Sebastian Vettel scored a top three finish he as concerned with reassuring Kimi Raikkonen as he was with celebrating with the German.

“Seb of course was happy because his dream comes true, to get a podium with Ferrari is something really special for an F1 driver,” said Arrivabene. “Concerning Kimi, I was going straight away to talk to him. You know, what you need to do with a driver, you need to understand, and you need to keep him up. Otherwise if you want to celebrate with one and ignore the other, it doesn’t work.

“The two guys are working very well together, and my job is to keep the right balance, and to make Kimi confident. I was repeating to him many, many times, look Kimi, you are like a hammer, you are pushing like hell and your timing was super good. This is what I am convinced about, that we two drivers for the constructors’, not one, and Kimi I think he can do his job properly.”

He also explained what he was doing when he went to see the mechanics on the troublesome left rear corner of Kimi’s car, a moment captured by the TV cameras.

“I went down into the box first of all to calm down them because I don’t want them to panic. Second I was asking to the mechanic what’s happened? He explained it to me and I said to him, Listen, calm down, be focussed, don’t worry. Things like this happen.”

He added: “As I said before our goal was we were looking forward to Williams and Red Bull at the beginning, now we need to start to be a bit more convinced about ourselves and reduce the gap to the Mercedes guys.

“It’s just a question to continue like this with the right methodology, working and respecting the programme without panicking, keeping up the spirit of the team. You know for example today we were working without the engineer in charge of strategy. Yesterday we had a problem in qualifying, because it’s like when you are sailing very, very fast in a fog!

“All the engineers they were reading th data, but not having the guy who’s an expert we were struggling a bit, and in fact we fucked up, as simple as it is! It could happen. Today we were quite convinced that we were quite strong.”

As for his own reaction to the race, he said: “About the team I was happy. As a tifoso I was happy too, but as a team principal I’m half happy, because I mean one car was stopped on the track and the other car was on the podium, so for me we have done half of the job.”


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Maurizio Arrivabene: “I will run barefoot in the hills of Maranello…”

Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene insisted today that the Italian outfit is keeping its expectations in check despite the strong form shown by the SF15-T thus far in testing.

The car has consistently been at or close to the top of the times in the six days held thus far, and Kimi Raikkonen has stressed that it is a big improvement over its predecessor.

“My job is to rebuild the team, to create a calm environment and to ensure that the great determination I have seen in every member of the team is rewarded with results,” said Arrivabene.

“I have never believed in such a thing as a winter championship. We have our feet on the ground and as I said already in December, winning two races could be considered a success, three would be perfect and if we win four, I will run barefoot on the hills of Maranello. We have two fantastic drivers and they are also great friends and that can only benefit the whole team.”

Arrivabene said it was all about teamwork: “I wish to underline yet again that the most important thing is for us all to pull together, with common goals and with the determination I saw in the eyes of those who were even at work on 24 and 31 December, in the mechanical or composites departments, to the backdrop of the sound of the engines rather than ‘Jingle Bells.’

“I have seen that there are exceptional people in Maranello and each one of them is making a contribution. However, it’s clear the car does not belong to any one person, it belongs to Ferrari and its people.”


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Ferrari boss Arrivabene on the new SF15-T: “It’s really sexy…”

Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene has reiterated that he has targeted at least two GP wins for the team this season.

Arrivabene, who made a similar statement last month, shied away from a more ambitious target.

“I’m just realistic,” he said. “Nobody has the magic to change things when things are unchangeable. We applied certain modifications that in our opinion are quite interesting. With that I don’t want to say that we are going to win the World Championship, but for sure we are committed at least to win two races.”

Regarding the SF15-T he said: “Enzo Ferrari said a long time ago the best car is a winning car. Last year we had an ugly car and it was a non-winning car on top of this. I like the car of this year in terms of aesthetics. I don’t know about the performance, but it’s really sexy.”

He says the personnel changes do not mean a change of philosophy at the Italian team.

“It doesn’t impact the philosophy of Ferrari. The philosophy of Ferrari was dictated by the founder, Enzo Ferrari. The work we have to do is to enhance the team spirit, and the passion, that was a little bit lost in the past few years, and to look forward, to work together very hard, with one objective – to win as much as possible.”

On the subject of the drivers, he added: “They have to work together as team mates, they have to work with the team. Things I want to avoid, talking about the overall team and not only about the driver, is that everybody is pushing and working together in the same direction. I’m expecting the drivers to do the same.”

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Ferrari shows the new SF15-T

Ferrari 2015Ferrari has unveiled the SF15-T, the car with which Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen hope to reverse the team’s fortunes after a difficult 2014 season.

It’s also the first car that James Allison can claim full responsibility for, after he joined while last year’s car was well under development.

More later…

Ferrari 2015 Overhead


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