Ferrari is, no doubt, reeling from the loss of both world championships, but now the real work begins, in preparing for its return to the grid next year to mount an even stronger campaign at the front.
A goal that could be assisted by what its competitors see as the continued erosion of Mercedes’ dominance.
SOUNDBITE (English) CHRISTIAN HORNER,
TEAM PRINCIPAL, RED BULL RACING:
“You just get the feeling with, especially the last few races, that change is coming. And our car has been working extremely well, the Ferrari has been competitive and it's really exciting to think that maybe there are six or seven drivers that might be going into a Grand Prix next year with the chance of winning."
The key to Ferrari seeing off Red Bull Racing’s challenge to be F1’s next top dog will be in ensuring stability into next season.
SOUNDBITE: (English) MARK PRESTON,
F1 TECHNICAL DIRECTOR, 2006-2008:
“I think stability, even though maybe it sounds boring, but stability, specialization, all those things that are, the top teams have, is why they’re strong.”
The Scuderia retains largely the same structure for 2018, including its world champion driver line-up of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen.
SOUNDBITE (English) KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN,
2007 F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
"To be honest it's a lot of the same people still, although some people are gone, some new people have come in, but it hasn't changed a lot. The atmosphere is still the same, they are very passionate about Ferrari and racing."
On the technical front the new Ferrari should be an evolution of this year’s quick SF70H, a car that was only off the front row at four of 20 races…
Its natural speed that the Prancing Horse will be desperate to re-harness, given the stability of the regulations, and Mattia Binotto retained as technical director – the former power unit chief having proved a real asset.
To make that step forward, though, Ferrari must do two things.
One is to improve its reliability - with power units further restricted to three complete sets in 2018. And Vettel’s spark plug failure in Japan this year a key blow to his title aspirations.
It also needs to reduce mistakes – like the German’s Azerbaijan meltdown, where he deliberately bumped race leader Lewis Hamilton under the safety car after he thought the Brit had brake tested him.
Along with the startline smash in Singapore, where both Ferraris crashed out at a first corner for the first time in F1 history.
SOUNDBITE (English) SEBASTIAN VETTEL,
4-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“I think timing is crucial, to get everything together in the right moment. Obviously in Formula 1, where it really matters, every split second matters a lot to us to be in front of your competitors.”
Next year brings fresh challenges in pursuit of the prize, but if Ferrari can double-down and learn from its issues – the first non-Mercedes world title since 2013 could finally be within reach.