Current team principal of the Scuderia Ferrari Formula One team Maurizio Arrivabene insists that no one at the Maranello team was at fault for Sebastian Vettel’s early demise from the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday. Panic erupted in the Italian camp yesterday when the German driver’s car was diagnosed with an engine issue on the starting grid, just a few minutes before the start of the race at the Suzuka circuit. Ultimately, the four-time Formula One world champion was forced to retire after a handful of laps, a misfortunate which dealt another massive blow to his championship chances following Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton’s win at Suzuka.
Sebastian Vettel’s power unit trouble was traced to a faulty spark plug, the replacement of which was not possible with the short period of time available on the grid. Ironically, NGK, the supplier of the spark plugs used by Scuderia Ferrari is located just an hour from Suzuka. The setback has some speculating that the Scuderia’s disastrous performance in the last three races could lead to team boss Maurizio Arrivabene losing his job, as Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne is known for not being the most patient and understanding person.
But the Italian manager insisted that nobody was at fault at the Maranello team for the events which took place at the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix last weekend: “Everybody saw what happened.” – Maurizio Arrivabene told Sky Italia – “Do you see any mistake by the team? The car is good beyond the components that cost us. But we have to turn the page, keep motivated, do the analysis of what happened, and go to Austin, even if the points (deficit) to Mercedes is a lot.” – Scuderia Ferrari’s team principal explained, as reported by Sky Italia.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff felt sympathetic towards his rivals, and walked over to the Ferrari pitwall after the race to offer a few words of compassion to Maurizio Arrivabene: “I get on very well with Maurizio and they must all feel awful. Maybe it is the development slope of the team. They made a huge step forward from 2016 to 2017. Their car is super-fast, it just lacks reliability and that is the next step.” – Toto Wolff concluded.