At the Malaysian GP, Sebastian Vettel had to start last after engine problems affected his Saturday. 24 hours later, Kimi Raikkonen was unable to take up his second place on the grid due to similar issues. As one could imagine, the top brass at Ferrari were furious at the reliability issues. Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne believed that a “young team” in the engine department was the root cause, and that action was being taken.
The Ferrari boss said “Yesterday both Ferraris could have won the race. That’s a fact. It could have also been the same at Singapore, that’s another fact. It’s also a fact that we’ve got some issues with our power units because we have a young team, but also because the quality of the components is not at the right level for a race car.”
He said that the Maranello squad were working on the issue and it was fortunate that the issue hadn’t happened earlier. The Italian said that they are working on the quality department and making some organisational changes. He admitted that this kind of problem during the race is disappointing. If this kind of issue appears in our factory, it wasn’t such a big deal. But it gets really ugly when one of the drivers’ is in second place on the grid and is unable to start the race.
Silver Lining for Sergio Marchionne
The only positive that Ferrari took away was Vettel’s fourth place in the race. Unfortunately, with Lewis Hamilton finishing second, the gap between the two drivers in the world championship is up to 34 points.
With five grands prix remaining Ferrari trails Mercedes by 118 points in the Constructors Championship. So there are 125 points up for grabs in the Driver’s Championship. Meanwhile, there are 215 points in the Constructor’s Championship, assuming Ferrari can score 1-2 finishes in the remaining races. With Bottas clearly struggling for pace and Red Bull looking threatening, Ferrari have a real chance to catch Mercedes.