[F1 2018 NEWS] SCUDERIA FERRARI: DELIVERING ON EXPECTATIONS

2018 is a big year for Scuderia Ferrari. One in which it needs to completely break the cycle of Mercedes domination, in effect since the start of F1’s turbo-hybrid era… and all of the ingredients are there, ahead of pre-season testing.

Stable technical regulations will ensure it can build on the strengths of last year’s car, which took five wins and five poles… 

… its SF70H a high-downforce beast – more nimble and reportedly lighter than the Mercedes, enabling the team to use ballast to help tune the car at various tracks. New technical director Mattia Binotto quietly proving his worth with big results.

SOUNDBITE: (English) SERGIO MARCHIONNE, 
CHAIRMAN, FERRARI:
“I think we've demonstrated that the technical know how, which has been part of our history now for several years, is alive and well inside Ferrari. I think what we showed in the first half of the [2017] season is an ability to compete.”

Along with more performance, Ferrari will also need better reliability given the technical issues that blighted its season last year. 

Malaysia was the low-point – Sebastian Vettel starting from the back, after a turbo issue in qualifying, while his teammate Kimi Räikkönen didn’t even start the race due to a loss of power.

Vettel’s campaign finally came undone in Japan, with a spark plug failure – but he knows it wasn’t something he could have controlled.

SOUNDBITE (English) SEBASTIAN VETTEL,
4-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“Sometimes things are not in your hands, so you have to move forward. I think you struggle generally in life a lot more with things that you messed up rather than got messed up for you.”

But Vettel made some costly mistakes, too – in Azerbaijan, where he bumped wheels with race leader Lewis Hamilton, who he thought had brake tested him under the safety car, and the Singapore startline crash – all of which contributed to the likely loss of both championships.

SOUNDBITE: (English) SERGIO MARCHIONNE, 
CHAIRMAN, FERRARI:
“I think there was a very strong likelihood that if we had continued on the path we had started in Australia then we would have probably ended up winning the championship, both on the constructors and the pilots. A set of events prevented us from doing that.”

Ferrari also needs a stronger Räikkönen, the Finn 112 points adrift of his teammate at the end of 2017 – and was the only full-time F1 driver not to make up a place on any opening lap, despite being the last Ferrari driver to win the world championship, in 2007.

…a stat Vettel is desperate to overturn – in replicating his childhood idol Michael Schumacher’s achievements at Maranello.

SOUNDBITE (English) MARIO ANDRETTI,
1978 F1 WORLD CHAMPION: 
“I would love to see Vettel win a championship with Ferrari because I think he really wants to be there. He’s there because it's been his dream I think Michael [Schumacher] was his hero.”

All this… amid Ferrari’s battle to retain its rights and financial advantages into F1’s post-2020 era, though Marchionne’s recent quit threats are seen as hollow, with few viable alternatives for the brand.

For Ferrari, on and off-track - there’s a lot to get right this year – and, once things get underway, very little time to achieve it.

SOUNDBITE: (English) KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN,
2007 F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
"Once you start the season it goes very quickly. And then you're suddenly at the end of the season. So it goes fast.”