Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne says “a combination of technical issues and driver misjudgement” were to blame for the team’s second half of the season collapse fighting for the Formula 1 world titles.

Sebastian Vettel had led the F1 drivers’ championship the entire season up to the Italian Grand Prix but during the Asian flyaway races the four-time F1 world title winner and Ferrari suffered a disastrous run of form.

After colliding with Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkon on the opening lap of the Singapore Grand Prix, retiring all three on the spot, Vettel was then hit with an engine issue during the Malaysian Grand Prix qualifying which condemned him to start the race from last place. Worse was to follow when a spark plug problem forced him to retire from the Japanese Grand Prix.

The result saw Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes take a commanding lead in both drivers’ and constructors’ standings which were duly wrapped up in the Mexican and United States races respectively.

Marchionne has repeated his sentiment of not believing in misfortune and points the finger at the technical management and driver errors after such a strong start to the year.

“I don’t believe in bad luck. Ultimately, it’s a reflection of the way in which we manage these businesses,” Marchionne said. “In the second half of the season it was a combination of technical issues and driver error or driver misjudgement.

“I think we’ve learned a lot. I think it's a painful way of learning it. I think the second half revealed some structural weaknesses in the manner which we are managing this business, which are going to get rectified and hopefully 2018 will be a much better season.”

Marchionne also feels it’s important to emphasise the progress of Ferrari over the past 12 months when very few analysts back a title charge from the Italian manufacturer.

Ferrari has won four races so far in 2017, its most in a single campaign since 2010, while it has also claimed five pole positions this year – its highest tally since its previous F1 world constructors’ championship-winning season of 2008.

“If I’d asked anybody this time last year how well we would have done in 2017, I couldn’t have gotten a buyer for the idea that we would be that far advanced in the first half of the season,” he said. “So we have done well given our starting point but we were unable to finish the task.

“It’s a 2018 objective now. We regret not having done better, but the car is there. It is in my view probably the best car on the track today.”

 

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