After three races of varying degrees of frustration, Ferrari surely have put themselves behind the proverbial eight-ball for the balance of the season. All may not be lost but the millions of dollars spent on trying to win the title have been an expensive lesson over a spark plug in Japan.
We know that there was some restructuring in the quality control division of Ferrari between Malaysia and Japan and unfortunately, those changes didn’t catch a dodgy spark plug issue that most likely will cost Sebastian Vettel the title in 2017.
Wondering whose head would be cut next, Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne seems to be relatively introspective on the issue according to Autosport who sourced CNBC television. .
“It was a technical nonsense that had an impact on a car that costs millions of euros,” said Marchionne in an interview with Italy’s Class CNBC television channel.
“It’s a problem we’ve probably ignored over time because it was never of much importance.
“But now we’ve had at least three occasions where we’ve really seen the devastating impact on performance.
“We’ll fix it.”
You may think that part of the fix is to fire the rest of the team but Sergio says he’s proud of them. The struggles that Vettel’s teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, has had also means fewer points in the constructor’s championship as well but alas, there’s only so many people you can fire at Maranello and even so, that tends to have an impact.
“Without being arrogant, I think it is at the same level if not better than Mercedes’ today,” Marchionne added.
“I’m sure if we’d not had any problems like in the last three races, we would be having a different discussion.
“The season is not lost, there’s still all to do.
“I won’t talk of bad luck, I don’t believe in it.
“The important thing is to not lose the confidence that has brought us so far.
“I’m delighted with what the team has done and I have tremendous confidence that in the next four races we will be able to close most of the Mercedes gap.”
This has to be the frustrating point of all the issues Ferrari have had. The reality is, they have had a car that can take the battle to Mercedes and fans were excited about a tight battle to the end between two iconic teams. Being robbed of that by a spark plug and manifold/turbo issue is a tough thing to take from a team spending something in the neighborhood of $300m.
That’s Formula 1, though. It is a testament to how meticulous you must be to compete at this level. It’s also a testament to Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton who have worked around the edges of Ferrari’s improved performance, held them off when they could and avoided the kinds of mechanical issues that Lewis suffered last season. That’s how meticulous the Mercedes team are. That’s how meticulous the Italian team will have to become if they want to win. Confidence is important and perhaps Ferrari will find that confidence in the scope of accuracy.
Hat Tip: Autosport via CNBC TV