Formula 1 director of motorsports Ross Brawn has told Ferrari not to ‘panic’ despite the disappointment of losing out in this year’s battle for the world championship.
Ferrari had looked to level-pegging or better with Mercedes for much of the early part of the season. However their campaign unravelled over the summer when a series of updates to the car failed to deliver the expected results.
The team was also rocked by the sudden death of its popular president Sergio Marchionne, and subsequent reports of political in-fighting between senior management.
Sebastian Vettel was never able to recover the lost ground, and Lewis Hamilton was duly crowned champion for the fifth time after Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix.
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Vettel himself described the outcome as a “horrible moment”, but Brawn advised the team not to overreact to what had happened.
“Ferrari and Vettel now have to start anew,” he said according to Speed Week. “And they can only do that if they understand what went wrong.
“They must then improve in those areas without panic or knee-jerk reactions.”
Brawn – who was technical director at Maranello in the 2000s – said it was too easy to lose sight of how much genuine progress Ferrari had made in recent times to put it in its current position.
“In just two seasons, Ferrari has once more become a contender for titles,” he pointed out.
“[That was] something that seemed difficult to imagine at the start of this hybrid era, given Mercedes undoubted power advantage.
“Now Ferrari has to move forward, without throwing any babies out with the bathwater.”
Brawn said he understood why Vettel had appeared so dejected in Sunday’s post-race press conference in Mexico City.
“When the goal you have been chasing all season is definitively put out of reach, there’s a lot to regret,” he acknowledged.
“One looks back on previous races, what might have been, and what could have been improved on.
“These are situations I know well. I’ve experienced them at first hand – in the same team!”
Hamilton himself also expressed sympathy for his rival’s situation after clinching the title, insisting that they had great mutual respect for one another.
“He fought hard this year,” Hamilton told Auto Motor und Sport. “There were some tough times for him.
“The pressure must have been immense after so many years of Ferrari not winning the title.”
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