Since the departure of Fernando Alonso and the arrival of Sebastian Vettel and the corresponding switch from Marco Mattiacci to Maurizio Arrivabene, we have been led to believe that all is sweetness and light in Maranello. The engine department personnel even danced with the aero engineers at the Christmas party, and the president of the company sings in harmony with the team principal of the Scuderia.
Yet for two seasons, Ferrari have been humiliated on track by Mercedes, which means 2016 is a ‘must win’ year for the red team. Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has already set out his stall, stating Ferrari must be the team to beat in Australia. “We have made all the necessary investments in order to bring the title back to Maranello,” claims Marchionne. “I am sure Maurizio Arrivabene and the entire team’s work in 2015 is an excellent base to build on in order to have a successful 2016 season.”
Whilst it would be wrong to suggest there is a schism opening up between Arrivabene and Marchionne, the Scuderia team principal’s response is at best compliant. “Marchionne is the president, so he must set goals,” said Arrivabene. “There is nothing wrong with that. What I do and what other people at Ferrari do – which perhaps receives less media coverage – is geared towards meeting these targets. There is nothing wrong with them. It is quite the contrary.”
However, behind the scenes it appears maybe some concerns have been expressed by Maurizio, but the Ferrari president has responded by again stating that his expectations must be met and that failure is not an option. “Maurizio [Arrivabene, the team principal] will tell you we delayed some things to allow for the 2015 car to be finished,” says Marchionne. “Hopefully he will not bitch about this. We pushed back the start of some of the work on the chassis for the ’16 cars, it was delayed it a little.
“But we still have had adequate time and adequate financial resources to do the right thing given the rules.
Sergio Marchionne has set new performance targets and is not a man to be trifled with. Of course relationships have improved in Maranello over the past season because finishing second was deemed the best that was achievable. Now the target is to beat Mercedes, Arrivabene has been warned not to ‘bitch’ – it appears the screws are beginning to tighten and the tension is once again rising in Ferrari-land.