Japanese Grand Prix – Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel says that, contrary to media reports, the team spirit at the team remains unbroken.
Much has been made of the relationship between Sebastian Vettel and the Ferrari team in recent weeks, particularly in the wake of the signing of Charles Leclerc; this being seen as a hedging of bets due to Vettel’s errors in 2018.
With Ferrari’s title campaign since falling apart and disharmony supposedly within the ranks, Sebastian Vettel says that everything is fine within the garage despite another catastrophic race that saw him only finish in P6 after an early race spin while battling Red Bulls’ Max Verstappen: “The collision with Max, I was obviously pushing to pass, I knew he had a penalty, but I also felt that we were fast. I could see that his battery was clipping, while I had saved some energy from mine. I saw a gap and went for it on the inside, he obviously tried to defend and I couldn’t go anywhere, so we touched. However, this is part of racing.”
”Today, I found it quite inspirational walking through the garage and watching the guys work! All the team is fired up and that certainly helps, as the last couple of weeks haven’t been that easy. The spirit is unbroken despite everything. Races like this are a bit of a hand-over and we know it is difficult from where we are in the point standings, but we don’t have much to lose. We have given everything so far and I believe there’s still something we can learn and understand from the car.”
“So we keep fighting and resisting and we’ll see what the other races bring.”
Maurizio Arrivabene is also apparently under pressure, as his position as Team Principal is tenuous. This is due to the presence of Mattia Binotto, the man who the late Sergio Marchionne supposedly had lined up to become team boss before Marchionne’s tragic death during the summer. Arrivabene had been linked with a move to the Juventus football team, a deal he has refuted over the Japanese weekend. Speaking after the disastrous race for Ferrari, he said: ”After what happened in qualifying, today the team and the drivers fought back well. The podium could have been within our grasp, but unfortunately, damage on both cars, as a result of collisions in the race, affected the final result. Regardless of what is now a very difficult situation in terms of the championship, we will tackle the coming races giving them our best shot, maintaining concentration and determination.”