Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene says the Maranello team will tackle the remaining Grands Prix with “even more determination” after its latest setback in Japan last weekend. Ferrari trailed Mercedes by just 39 points heading into the summer break, with Sebastian Vettel holding a 14-point advantage in the Drivers’ standings, having led a 1-2 in Hungary.
However, the Italian side has not triumphed since, and suffered a spate of incidents and reliability issues across the trio of Asian flyaway events. A first-lap collision accounted for both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen in Singapore, while in Malaysia Sebastian Vettel was unable to qualify, and the Finnish driver unable to race, due to turbo problems.
The four-time Formula One world champion started from second position in Japan but a faulty spark plug robbed his SF70-H of power, and he tumbled down the order, before retiring after a handful of laps. Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, took a low-key fifth, having been compromised by a so-so Q3 lap and a five-place grid penalty, sustained when his car required a new gearbox after he crashed in practice. As a result, Sebastian Vettel is now 59 points behind Lewis Hamilton, with Scuderia Ferrari 145 points adrift of Mercedes, its hopes in both championships now severely diminished.
Maurizio Arrivabene, though, insists that Scuderia Ferrari’s resilience has been increased in the wake of the setbacks: “Once again, despite our car clearly having great potential, things did not go to plan. We spotted that something was not right [with Vettel’s car] on the lap to the grid and we tried our best to fix the problem. Seb got a great start, but shortly afterwards we had to call him back to the garage prior to retiring the car. As I have said before, we know that the car, the drivers and the team are all on the pace. That is why we will tackle the coming races with great effort and even more determination, right up to the last corner of the last Grand Prix.”
Ferrari has never triumphed at the Circuit of the Americas, the current iteration of the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez or the Yas Marina Circuit, the venues for three of the last four rounds of the 2017 Formula One championship.