Sebastian Vettel says the death of Sergio Marchionne was a “big loss” for Ferrari and admits it impacted the team’s 2018 Formula 1 season.

Marchionne, the former Scuderia CEO and chairman, died days before the Hungarian Grand Prix in July following an illness.

The Italian was credited with turning around Ferrari’s fortunes from a business and sporting perspective, with the Scuderia turning in a significant challenge to Mercedes for both world championships in 2017 and 2018.

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Ferrari had led the standings for the opening 10 rounds of 2018, before Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes responded with a strong end to the season to maintain the German manufacturer’s clean sweep of world titles during the V6 hyrbrid era.

“The passing of our chairman, Mr Marchionne obviously had an impact and was tough,” Vettel said at the final round in Abu Dhabi.

“I think it’s up to us to look into every single detail and make sure we come out as a stronger group, enabling us to build a stronger package for next year and for the future.”

Vettel and Ferrari came under fire for failing to capitalise on having arguably the strongest package of the field and making a number of operational and driver-related errors throughout the campaign.

Former Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn drew a direct link to Marchionne’s passing and the Scuderia’s subsequent lack of performance, with the Maranello squad winning just twice in the remaining nine rounds that followed Hungary.

Speaking at the end-of-season prize giving ceremony at St Petersburg, Vettel added: “Certainly it was a big loss.

“The day-to-day business continued, I think people knew what was their job and knew what to do, but surely it wasn’t easy for us.

“I think we tried to continue in the best mental matter we could and tried to do our job. I think that’s probably what he would have liked to see.

“He was giving us always a lot of pressure, but also there to help us and guide us.

“It was a big loss, but I think as a team we tried to respond and just to continue, respecting him and his legacy.

“I think that’s what we’ll also try to do moving forward.”

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