Do the contrasting reactions of Sebastian Vettel and Maurizio Arrivabene to Ferrari’s defeat in Canada point to a potential division within the team?
In the immediate aftermath of a race that saw Ferrari throw away a potential victory, Vettel was entertainingly ranting about seagulls, while his team boss Arrivabene was openly criticizing the team.
Arrivabene admitted the team had made the “wrong decision” in choosing a two-stop strategy during Sunday’s race. This led to a second win in a row for Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes went for a one-stop approach.
But unlike his boss, Vettel refused to blame the team and maintained they are “Seeing results quicker than anyone else in the history og F1.”
Sky Sports Marc Priestly suggested the contrast reveals a lot about a potential power struggle within Ferrari.
“I think what’s most interesting was the difference between the two,” said Priestly. “Arrivabene’s actually come out this week and apologized to his team for criticizing them so strongly, so you look at that and you think who’s running this team?
“Is it Sebastian Vettel, who’s gathering the team around him, or is it Arrivabene, who’s now having to backtrack and apologies for his comments?”
Ferrari have been under enormous pressure from chairman Sergio Marchionne, who ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix in April warned the team, that the “clock is on” and stressed they must start beating Mercedes. Two months later, and that first win of the season is yet to be realized.
Former Williams Chief Operations Engineer Mark Gillan, thinks it is only a matter of time before the Scuderia start to regularly win races.
“I think ultimately Ferrari are doing a very good job compared to where they were. They’ve definitely improved and they’re continuously improving, which is all you can ask,” said Gillan.
“With the likes of James Allison at the helm as Technical Director, plus the team with him and good drivers, I think they should be winning at the end of the season or towards the middle.”
So what need to change at Ferrari? Well, Priestly doesn’t think changes at the top would help.
“There’s a lot of pressure on Arrivabene right now – and you can understand that. But I’m more of the belief that you need to build a team over time.
“I don’t like how football managers change every five minutes. I know it sometimes gives a team a short-term boost when a new manager comes in, but they’ve got to build something longer term.”
Priestly also noted the importance of Allison: “He is a great guy to have in your team. There are lots of rumors at the moment that he may even return to the UK, potentially joining Renault… If that happens, that’ll be a really big upset again, so they’ve got to steady the ship.”