Italian Formula 1 team Ferrari have revealed they delayed work to its 2016 Formula 1 car to allow full development to their race-winning 2015 car SF15-T.
They bounced back from a win-less 2014 season to became Mercedes’ closest challenger with Sebastian Vettel taking three wins, but Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne is confident the delay will not have an impact on the 2016 car.
“Maurizio [Arrivabene, team principal] 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.”
While Mercedes is still the team to be ‘afraid of’ but Marchionne believes there has been a development of greater respect following Ferrari’s challenge in 2015.
“They are competitors to be afraid of because Mercedes is a company which the suitable financial resources to properly manage the races of 2016,” added Marchionne. “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.”