34 SPRING 2017
hile the fortunes of Mercedes and Red
Bull can be predicted with a certain degree
of confidence, Ferrari offers an altogether
different prospect. The iconic team is just
as likely to produce a car that struggles to
make Q3 as it is to challenge for victories,
such is the Scuderia’s recent record with
And getting it right this time around is
more important than ever.
The worry for Ferrari is that it went
backward in 2016. An encouraging start
to the Sebastian Vettel era at Maranello
– those three wins in 2015 – gave way
to a frustrating season of missed
opportunities and inconsistent
performances in ’ 16. That Kimi Raikkonen
was retained said almost as much about
the bigger problems facing Ferrari as it
did about the Finn’s solid displays.
Development of the 2017 car has
continued without the guiding hand of
James Allison for the past six months, the
highly-regarded technical director having
left at the end of July last year. Mattia
Binotto provides consistency, but is
unproven in the role, and has the task of
trying to match Mercedes and Red Bull at
capitalizing on new regulations. Continuity
in personnel is one thing, but evolution of
the car is not really possible this year.
Where the stakes are raised further is with
the drivers. Vettel is out of contract at the
end of the year, and last season his
frustrations become more palpable. His
dream is to emulate Michael Schumacher
and win with Ferrari, but he has become so
used to success elsewhere that the fairytale
is certainly not destined for a happy ending.
WILL WE GET?
There was a time late last century
when Ferrari was thrillingly, frustratingly
erratic. Unfortunately for the Scuderia,
those days seem to have returned.
Vettel joined Ferrari
with the hopes of
but the German’s
patience is wearing
thin at the team’s
lack of progress.