Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has said they delayed starting work on the 2016 car so they could focus on improving the 2015 SF15-T throughout the season.
This is bizarre admission when you look back to previous season when Ferrari have been designing and building their car for the next season as early as the summer break. This may show us just how much the failure to win a single race during the 2014 season irked the Ferrari hierarchy. As a result of their in season improvements Ferrari finished the 2015 season as Mercedes’s closest rival.
Despite the delay Sergio Marchionne is confident Ferrari will be hot on the heels of Mercedes in 2016 as he mentions in his interview below.
“Maurizio will tell you we delayed some things to allow for the 2015 car to be finished,” said Marchionne.
“Hopefully he will not bitch about this. We pushed the start of some of the work on the ’16 cars on the chassis, delayed it a bit. But we have had adequate time and adequate financial resources to do the right thing given the rules. So I’m confident we will give Mercedes a run for their money. We approached the 16 car with a very clear idea and very clear interpretation. It is incredibly unlikely that the car will not offer Mercedes a proper challenge. For me to determine whether it will win or not would be very gutsy. I have no excuses to give you this year, in the sense that we started developing the car at the proper time.”
Mercedes won 16 of the 19 races in 2015 as it won the constructors’ championship with four races to spare, whilst Hamilton defended his title to become three time World Champion with three races left. As a result of this Marchionne admits Mercedes is still the team be “afraid of” but he believes thanks to the race wins Ferrari managed in 2015 they now respect them more and maybe even fear them.
“They are competitors to be afraid of because Mercedes is a company which the suitable financial resources to properly manage the races of 2016,” he said.
“They have a high level of know-how so they are not to be underestimated. They made huge progress in 2015, so I’m certain their car will be enormously improved for 2016. We respect them, they are competitors, but we are not afraid of the battle on the race track. I remember at the start with [Mercedes boss Dieter] Zetsche, in spite the fact we are friends, he had a bit of arrogance about Ferrari. They lost a bit of that but not too much because they won the championship. If you talk to him now, I think he now respects Ferrari a little bit more. The only way to get respect is to gain it on the track with results.”
Hopefully Ferrari can take the fight to Mercedes in 2016 and we see more than just the Mercedes boys running away with the championship.
By: Chris Laker
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