Formula One’s Managing Director of Motorsports and former Scuderia Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn admitted that the Maranello team currently has the “best technical package” in 2018, and the squad can be lifted by the consistency of its SF71-H. The Italian side has not managed to win a title since 2008 but began this year with back-to-back wins, and has taken three successive pole positions, all courtesy of German driver Sebastian Vettel.
The four-time Formula One world champion also led in China, before being undercut by Valtteri Bottas and later spun by Max Verstappen, while he also controlled the Azerbaijan Grand Prix until the late Safety Car period. Kimi Raikkonen has also displayed improved form, taking three straight front-row starts and a trio of podiums, contributing to Ferrari’s position atop the Constructors’ Championship.
“As Formula 1 prepares to tackle the first two races in Europe, one thing is clear, and that’s the fact that Ferrari currently has the best technical package.” – explained Ross Brawn, who was part of Ferrari’s technical team from 1997 to 2006, in his post-Azerbaijan reflection – “From the heat of Bahrain to the cool weather in China and in windy Baku, the SF71-H has [been] competitive throughout. That’s the case in qualifying, as well as in the race, even if Vettel and Raikkonen haven’t picked up as many points as they should have done. And that’s what the Scuderia should reflect on. For whatever reason – bad luck, individual errors made – the points haul should have been bigger and that explains why Sebastian now trails Hamilton, and the team only has a slim four-point advantage over Mercedes. However, they can still be pleased with the fact that this is their best start to a season in many a year. Last year we saw that Ferrari was able to match its rivals when it came to in-season development and so there’s no reason why it can’t be in the fight all the way to the finish. As long as it doesn’t squander any opportunities that come its way.” – he added, as reported by Motorsportweek.
Ross Brawn nonetheless is well aware of the fact that Scuderia Ferrari’s main rival Mercedes is “more than capable” of winning both titles for a fifth successive season – but warns they cannot afford to slip up: “The truth is, in both Shanghai and Baku, fate, in the form of the Safety Car, played a decisive part: once in favour of team and once going against them.” – said Ross Brawn, Mercedes’ boss from 2010 to 2013 – “However, this is the first time since the start of the hybrid era that Mercedes has not had a technical edge over its rivals, and they are probably the second team in the pecking order at the moment. Yet the team headed up by Toto Wolff is strong and more than capable of hanging on to both titles for the fifth consecutive time. There is virtually no margin for error, though.” – he concluded.