Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has said it will be a “tragedy” if his team’s Formula One title drought extends to 10 years.
Kimi Raikkonen was the last driver to win the championship as a Ferrari driver after he outscored the then McLaren duo of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso at the concluding race in Brazil in 2007.
Felipe Massa and Alonso both finished as a runner-up in ensuing seasons while competing for Ferrari, while the Italian team were last crowned constructors’ champions in 2008.
Sebastian Vettel’s arrival from Red Bull has sparked something of a resurgence at Ferrari, but Marchionne fears a decade without winning motor racing’s biggest series would be damaging for the sport’s most famous team.
“If we were to string together victories in F1 then it would improve our brand,” Marchionne is quoted in Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I was speaking with one of our car dealerships and we agreed that the results of 2015 helped bring back credibility to the brand. If we were to somehow fail to win a title over a 10-year span it would be a tragedy.”
Marchionne replaced Luca di Montezemolo after the conclusion of the 2014 season in which Ferrari failed to win a race for the first time in more than two decades.
Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene and Vettel were subsequently hired with the German winning three races in an impressive debut year for the Italian marque.
Marchionne added: “The first month when I went to see where we stood in the overall scheme of F1 I realised that we weren’t competitive.
“We cleared our ranks and we won because we brought focus back to the team and began to do the things that are really important. Maurizio Arrivabene’s arrival helped a lot.”
Vettel, the four-time champion, will hope to take the challenge to the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg when the campaign gets under way next month in Melbourne.