Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivbene isn’t pointing fingers but he knows he made the tire call on Saturday for the Japanese Grand Prix and that went a long way into leaving Sebastian Vettel back in 9th for Sunday’s race start.
To be fair, I think Sky Sports F1’s Paul di Resta was correct in saying the out of sequence Vettel did have a 90s advantage initially but blew it when he ran wide on his first run on Supersoft tires. Also to be fair, it wasn’t a dumb driver mistake, it was Vettel pushing as hard a humanly possible in a car that wasn’t likely to get pole position as Arrivabene points out.
“From the way things were done, I do not think that pole position was within our reach, but what happened today is unacceptable,” he told Autosport.
“I am very angry. It is not the first time that these mistakes have occurred.
“I do not feel like pointing my fingers at someone in particular, but I’m very disappointed.”
He may be angry but he’s the boss and while he relies on the race engineers to make the right calls, there have been a few this year that have put Ferrari in the position they are in.
Ultimately, the mid-season pace they found, but have seemingly lost, could actually be the reality that the team were competitive, there or thereabouts, but not quite strong enough to wrest the title away from Mercedes anyway. That’s not sour grapes, it is just a reality that in order to beat Mercedes, Ferrari would have had to have a markedly better performance edge as track-corrected and DRS-corrected, they didn’t seem to have the measure of Merc on all tracks in all conditions.
That is the nature of F1 and when you couple that with the development war, it is a fiercely difficult series to win in. However, Maurizio beginning to point towards his staff is a bit of a departure for him and one wonders if the pressure is mounting. I read in some rag that he may be on the chopping block and I have no idea if that report is true or fake news but the stress is surely there and it is beginning to show.
Hat Tip: Autosport