Skip to content

Ferrari searching for answers to disappointing Spanish GP

Team boss Maurizio Arrivabene not satisfied with just continuing podium run; Ferrari to use Barcelona test to analyse why upgrade package didn't deliver as hoped

Sebastian Vettel
Image: Sebastian Vettel: Maintained Ferrari's 100% podium-finishing start to 2015

Ferrari chief Maurizio Arrivabene says closing the gap to Mercedes, rather than simply racking up podium finishes, is his priority as the team look for answers as to why they slipped further behind the world champions at the Spanish GP.

The SF15-T was equipped with what Sky Sports F1 understands were 16 new parts for the opening round of the European season but Ferrari, the surprise package of the opening flyaway events, endured a relatively disappointing weekend with the team unable to challenge Mercedes in either qualifying or the race.

Having won in Malaysia and then split Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in Bahrain, third-placed Ferrari’s trailed in 45 seconds behind the Silver Arrows on Sunday despite Sebastian Vettel having run ahead of the Briton for much of the race.

Although Arrivabene has always played down Ferrari’s chances of mounting a season-long title challenge, he did set the target of multiple race victories during pre-season and now says that the Scuderia, despite having already more than doubled their podium tally from 2014, need to ramp their efforts if they’re to remain on course for more wins.

“Being in the fight for the championship, I think it is a bit too much. I never said so,” the Italian told reporters.

“I didn’t say two races [to win], actually to be honest I said three races. I still believe that this is achievable but there is nothing in life you can achieve without working hard and this is work we have to do.

“I don’t really care about being on the podium. If you look at the situation that we had last year, now every weekend we are on the podium. But what I care [about] is the gap because if we want to win two or three races we have to be able to be there. At the moment we are not.”

More from Spanish Gp 2015

Given Ferrari were thought to have brought an even bigger package of aerodynamic upgrades to Barcelona than Mercedes, the size of their race-day defeat – the largest of the season – was all the more surprising.

Sebastian Vettel climbs into his Ferrari SF15-T
Image: Vettel climbs into his Ferrari SF15-T ahead of the Barcelona race

Only Vettel ran the full suite of development parts on his car from qualifying onwards after team-mate Kimi Raikkonen reverted to some older ones after a difficult Friday practice.

According to Arrivabene, the fact that Vettel finished two places and 15 seconds ahead of his team-mate proved that the new package was a step forward – however the Italian said Ferrari’s engineers had to get to the bottom of why it didn’t close the gap to Mercedes.

“The comparison between the two cars is clearly there. The car of Sebastian has been going well and we need to improve versus the one of Kimi,” the Ferrari team principal insisted.

“We need to improve the new solution. Here in Barcelona it’s not an easy track, but to be honest it was not easy for the other teams. The gap to Mercedes is there and now we need to analyse all the data that we collected to understand [why]. What is clear, because we are not blind, is the fact that in the last sector we were losing half a second. I’m not escaping from the reality – it’s there.

“So we need to understand and find out how to improve the new package. But definitely, the new package is better than the last one.”

Ferrari have an immediate chance to try and analyse what went wrong during the two-day test at the Circuit de Catalunya, which begins on Tuesday.

“It’s a big gap and now we need to understand if it’s related to this track or if it’s related to us. This is good to know in the next few days when we have the chance to do tests on Tuesday and Wednesday and finalise the comparison," Arrivabene said.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Ted Kravitz brings you all the latest news following the Spanish Grand Prix.

“If something was wrong – I’m not criticising anybody, I’m taking my responsibility because I’m here to talk in the name in the team – we have to step back and with humility say we made a mistake. At the moment, the number that we have in terms of comparison are telling us that the solution is good. But the reality is telling us that it’s not good enough. So we have to work.”

Should it prove that the upgrade simply undelivered, Arrivabene, who vowed to end a culture of blame at Maranello after being installed as team principal in wake of the Scuderia’s worst season for two decades, made clear he wouldn’t be looking for a scapegoat.

“I said at the beginning of the year, I don’t want to point the finger on aero, engine, otherwise we are creating the usual mess where everybody is freaking out left, right, up, down,” he added.

“We need to calm down, look at the numbers, and to take a decision. I promise you that if we made a mistake, we’re going to tell you.”

Around Sky