14 May 2015
Arrivabene more concerned by gap than podiums
Merely finishing in the top three is no longer a target for Ferrari F1 team boss Maurizio Arrivabene as the Scuderia faces falling further behind rival Mercedes.
Ferrari F1 team boss Maurizio Arrivabene has revealed that the team's consistent top three performance so far this season has shifted his focus away from achieving podium finishes.
Having been badly beaten by Mercedes – and others – in 2014, Arrivabene started the new campaign by suggesting that two race wins would be a sufficient sign of progress for the Scuderia this year, and he is not about to change that goal, even if he admits that he has dropped targets for podium finishes after Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen ensured that one Ferrari driver joined the Mercedes pair on the podium at each of the opening five rounds.
Instead, the Italian says that, while he is still optimistic about taking another victory before the year is out, he is more concerned about closing the gap to Mercedes, which has won four of the five rounds either side of Vettel's surprise victory in Malaysia. Mercedes is already 70 points clear of Ferrari in the constructors' standings and while Vettel is hanging onto the tail of the two Silver Arrows drivers in the individual table, Arrivabene is already close to closing the book on possible title success.
“Being in the fight for the championship, I think, is a bit too much,” he conceded after Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton took another Mercedes 1-2 in Spain at the weekend, “I never said so [and] I think I don't say two races, actually, to be honest - I said three race [wins]….
“I still believe that this is achievable, but there is nothing in 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 because, if you look at the situation we had last year, now every race weekend we are on the podium. What I care about is the gap because, if we want to win two or three races, we have to be able to be there. At the moment, we are not.”
Asked whether Ferrari could have gained a better outcome at the Circuit de Catalunya had Vettel's strategy been tweaked to mirror Hamilton's Arrivabene dismissed suggestions of a tactical error by again pointing to the margin between the top two and everybody else, but refused to rule out another issue that could continue to haunt the team going forward.
“There was nothing wrong in terms of this strategy and what is in front of everybody is a big gap,” he confirmed, “We need to understand if it is related to this track as, for us, it was difficult, or if it is related to us. If something is wrong, we have to step back and, with humility, we have to say 'we made a mistake'. At the moment, the numbers that we have in terms of comparison, they are telling us that the solution is good, but the reality is telling us that it is not good enough. So, we have to work.
“If we are not able to solve the [traction] problem, it can be worse not in Monaco –because, in Monaco, you have special settings - but in Canada. I don't want to go to there with the same problem of traction, otherwise it will be a nightmare even if we go on the podium. As I said, in all honesty, I don't care. I have to help the team to take the right choices and if something is wrong, it is me.”
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