2016 FORMULA 1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
PUT IT ALL ON RED?
After spending the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship
sweeping up Mercedes’ crumbs, Ferrari has set itself some
lofty goals for the new season. But are they realistic?
he only question that really matters
heading into the 2016 Formula 1 season
is, can Ferrari take on Mercedes?
Yes, the Scuderia will be the Three-Pointed Star’s nearest challenger, just as
it was in 2015, but the balance of power
between them will define the season. All
the pressure is on Ferrari’s shoulders, and
ambitions are sky-high at Maranello. Ferrari
chairman Sergio Marchionne expects
Ferrari to win “right away” and team
principal Maurizio Arrivabene’s objective is
at least to stay in title contention until the
end of the season. Those goals are subtly
different, but to all intents and purposes
add up to the same thing: Ferrari needs to
be a title contender this year.
“We’ve done our absolute best to try to
make this car a step up, to make this
one a bold step forward to give it the
competitiveness it will need to be a proper
winning car,” said technical director James
Allison of the Ferrari SF16-H at the car’s
launch. “But we’ll only know for sure once
we start racing it.”
The word “proper” is key here. Ferrari
delivered beautifully last year, winning
three times after a desultory 2014. But
that was only a level of success acceptable
transiently because of the starting point
the year before. Taking the odd win or
three when Mercedes makes mistakes or
struggles won’t make Ferrari a title threat.
Encouragingly, there are signs of what
would pass for a “bold” step in the context
of maturing technical regulations that
WORDS Edd Straw MAIN IMAGE Alastair Staley/LAT
Based on early testing, Sebastian Vettel
(pictured) and Kimi Raikkonen are optimistic
that Ferrari has improved over the winter. The
obvious concern is that Mercedes has, too...