Italian billionaire businessman Piero Lardi Ferrari, the second and only living son of Enzo Ferrari, and a 10% owner of the Ferrari automotive company of which he is the vice chairman, thinks that the Maranello team has a winning car for 2018. German driver Sebastian Vettel made full use of the virtual safety car to sneak in front of Lewis Hamilton and hold off the frustrated champion to win Formula One’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Mercedes engine’s infamous ‘party mode’ that delivered Lewis Hamilton a blistering pole lap on Saturday could do little once Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel nosed ahead when re-entering from pit-lane midway through the race at Albert Park, yet the majority of opinion was that Mercedes had the better pace, which means that the Maranello team still has a lot of work to do in order to be able to challenge for the title.
Ferrari official Piero Ferrari, the son of founder Enzo, told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “I expect a victorious Ferrari. Our engineers assert that we have a good car and have made good progress. So even if Mercedes is not waiting for us, I expect results,” he explained, as reported by the Italian media. Ferrari said the results in Australia cannot be taken too seriously in the context of the long 21 race calendar: “The first race is not always meaningful. But it’s like the first day of school — the other students notice immediately who has studied more during the holidays.”
There is much talk in Melbourne about ‘party mode’ button on the Mercedes steering wheel, but Nico Rosberg said the real ‘party mode’ is Lewis Hamilton himself. So with the Briton out of contract, might Ferrari consider luring him to Maranello for 2019? Piero Ferrari answered: “He has bought various cars from us. I don’t know how many exactly, but the number is at least three. He comes to the factory, picks up his car and leaves. What does he have that others do not have? Instinct. Of course you need the right team and a good car to become world champion, but a true champion brings his own qualities. And Lewis obviously has a lot of them. From the outside Hamilton looks extravagant, but in truth he is not. It was similar with Michael Schumacher. He always seemed so closed, but in private at dinner, he was very sympathetic.” – Piero Lardi Ferrari concluded.