As the dust settles on the action packed conclusion to the 2016 Austrian GP, having arrived back safely in Maranello Maurizio Arrivabene is probably feeling like he’s dodged a media bullet.
Such was the focus on the Lewis/Nico last lap collision and the apoplectic Mercedes boss’ responses, that hardly a word was uttered about another F1 race weekend of Ferrari strategy woe. Mercedes found a way of moving their driver who started P6 up the grid to P1, by simply implementing an alternative tyre strategy to the others ahead.
Ferrari got trapped wide eyed in the headlights again, failing to take advantage of an evolving situation. In the end Arrivabene was fortunate to see Raikkonen make the podium, following the gift handed to him by Rosberg and Hamilton.
Ever the politician, Maurizio is keen to keep the attention on the Mercedes drivers’ ‘mistake’ and away from the strategists dressed in red.
When asked about the Merc on Merc incident, Arrivabene replied confidently, “I do not think it would come to such a situation with our cars.”
The Scuderia boss went on to make it clear, “I am very happy with Kimi and Seb,” which some have taken as an indication Arrivabene wishes to retain the ‘Ice Man’ for 2017 – one more year beyond the end of his current contract.
Rumours have persisted this year linking Ferrari with either Carlos Sainz Jnr or Daniel Ricciardo as replacements for Kimi for 2017. Ricciardo though has now announced a deal for next year with Red Bull Racing, which opens the door for the likes of Perez and Bottas again.
However, TJ13 sources suggest there is a general feeling of harmony at present in Maranello along with the thinking that changing the drivers will add little to Ferrari’s overall performance.
If this is the case, then stability in the face of media criticism is preferable to upsetting the apple cart for no good reason?
Then again – that just isn’t Sergio Marchionne’s style – now is it?