A Ferrari that doesn’t win in Formula One is not a real Ferrari, says incoming company chairman, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.
The Prancing Horse, without a championship win since 2008, has struggled markedly in recent years even as its road car arm continues to make better cars than ever and huge profits while doing so.
This embarrassing situation is a key reason why long-term and legendary chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo will leave the company this month.
Of course, the big news surrounding Scuderia Ferrari is the sensational appointment this week of reigning world champion Sebastien Vettel from Red Bull Racing and the expected defection of Fernando Alonso.
Speaking on Alonso last week before this news broke, Marchionne called the Spaniard “what I consider to be the world’s best driver” — a sentiment shared by a significant number of paddock observers.
Redressing the poor form it has shown over the past few years, notably this year where it has failed to match the leading Mercedes- and Renault-engined teams and sits fourth overall behind a rejuvenated Williams, is now priority number one for the brand.
“I keep on being reminded there are a number of factors that impact on performance and then I go to Monza and I see the first six cars on the grid not being Ferrari and not being powered by Ferrari engine and my blood pressure, as much as I keep it under control, regardless of blue pills or no blue pills, just popped and if it happens once and then happens twice, eventually you wake up and you say, well maybe there’s a better way to do this,” Marchionne said.
“I think Ferrari over the last, since 2008, which is the last time that it won a championship has been plagued with a number of mishaps. It almost won the championship twice, lost it in the last race.
“We have had phenomenal drivers and we continue to have what I consider to be the world’s best driver on our staff. Somehow the chemistry and the mixture of all this has not worked. That continues to be my main objective in terms of Ferrari going forward.
“A non-winning Ferrari on the Formula 1 track is not Ferrari. And so I can live with periods of bad luck and I’ve had them God knows, personally or otherwise. But it cannot become as a structural element of the brand.
“We’ve got to go kick some ass and we’ve got to do it quickly. So take what it takes. We may screw up but we have nothing to lose here, right? We’re not, we’re not in the top three so let’s go risk something.”
Season 2015 promises to be interesting indeed…