Former Scuderia Ferrari chief technology officer Ross Brawn, currently the Formula One Managing Director of Motorsports and technical director, comments on the Maranello team’s performance in the first half of the 2018 Formula 1 season: “Last year, Ferrari said goodbye to the summer break with a great one-two, Sebastian Vettel leading the championship with 14 points ahead of Lewis Hamilton. One year later, the roles are reversed , because now it is Vettel, who is behind and has to catch up 24 points on Hamilton. In addition, Ferrari was quite aware last year that their package was generally inferior compared to the Mercedes. This year, I would estimate that for the first time since 2008, Ferrari has again the fastest car capable of winning pole position and victory on every type of track.” – he said.
This time last year, Hamilton is trailed 14 points behind Sebastian Vettel, who took the chequered flag at the Hungaroring – a fourth victory of the season at the time. At that point, Vettel had lead the championship battle all season. Hamilton had also won four times – in China, Spain, Canada and at Silverstone – but those victories had been surrounded by a number of inconsistent displays of performance. Furthermore, Hamilton allowed team mate Bottas to repass at the end of the previous Grand Prix in Hungary just before the summer break, gifting more points to Sebastian Vettel.
This year, Ross Brawn appraises the points situation in a similar vein saying: “It’s a mix of mistakes, crashes and missed opportunities that have led to the current situation for Ferrari. There are still nine races left, because Ferrari has enough time to close the gap, after all, the SF71-H is currently the best car in the field.” – he added.
Ross Brawn is perhaps the best for gauging such a situation between 2 teams, with his remarkable past achievements from a technical standpoint. Indeed it was he who setup the Mercedes dominance that began in 2014, the year he quit Formula 1. Ferrari had opted for the most drastic change of philosophy among the big three Formula 1 teams with its 2018 car compared to its ’17 challenger. Adopting a longer wheelbase concept – similar to the one employed by Mercedes in 2017 – and the high-rake approach traditionally used by Red Bull over the years, and now McLaren, the 2018 SF171H has taken the best aspects of the competition to improve it’s car.
But in a broader sense, Ross Brawn recognises just how much the recently passed Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne had contributed to Ferrari’s philosophy since his take over from Luca di Montezemolo in September 2014.
The Former Scuderia Ferrari chief technology officer concludes that the Maranello team having the “fastest car” in 2018, is “solid proof that the efforts on the technology front, initiated by Sergio Marchionne, are now worthwhile.”