The Scuderia Ferrari team has so far trailed in the wake of main rivals Mercedes AMG PETRONAS this season, but from the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix onwards, Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne is confident they will start to make inroads on the German champions.
Reliability issues, as well as accidents and driver error have so far hindered the Maranello-based squad in their bid to catch the long-time front runners, and despite showing glimpses of potential, they have been unable to take advantage even when Mercedes have faced technical difficulties themselves.
Speaking to motorsport.com recently however, Marchionne commented that he felt all that was about to change, believing a large dose of bad luck to be the key factor in their failed attempts so far.
“I am confident, Sunday will be an important day. So far, much of it was down to bad luck, but the season has just begun. I expect us to win shortly, starting with Spain.
“I’m very satisfied with both Vettel and Raikkonen. The only thing that hasn’t worked well is luck.”
The Italian squad brought a major upgrade package to Russia for the last round of the F1 calendar, spending tokens to allow them to run an updated engine, however their challenge on Mercedes was thwarted when Sebastian Vettel was taken out of the race by Red Bull Racing’s Daniil Kvyat in the opening laps. Kimi Raikkonen was the sole Ferrari left running, but the Finn was unable to not only catch the lead Mercedes of Nico Rosberg, but also finished behind the German’s team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who had started from tenth on the grid.
As lead driver for the Scuderia it will be interesting to see if Vettel, without incident or technical problem, can take the fight to the Brackley-based squad where Raikkonen could not. The German has a good chance of doing that at the Circuit de Catalunya, a track that Ferrari have gone extremely well at in the past, having won at this particular venue on eight previous occasions, more than any other team.
From pre-season testing it was clear that the red team loved the Barcelona track, posting the fastest lap on three out of the four days of running. You do however have to note that Mercedes primarily ran the medium compound tyre, as opposed to the softest compound that the Maranello-based squad favoured for their programme prior to the start of the 2016 Formula One season.
Will Marchionne’s bold statement bear any fruit this weekend? It will certainly be a welcome change to see.