Vettel: The Italian press is our biggest opponent
After a weekend in Canada where Ferrari turned victory into defeat, Sebastian Vettel has gone to great lengths to not blame anyone within the team but instead has accused Italian media of being the Maranello team’s Achilles’ heal.
Speaking in the aftermath of the Canadian Grand Prix, Vettel said, “We were closer than ever. I think sometimes it’s a bit surreal. We are an Italian team. I think Ferrari stands for great passion and a lot of values in Italy and sometimes it seems like the Italian press is our biggest opponent.”
During the post race press conference he urged an Italian journalist to “write something nice, which would be a nice message for all the people in Maranello that are really working their arse off day in, day out to make a strong Ferrari car.”
The comment by the four times world champion can be interpreted as a call to Italian media to ease up on Ferrari. Daily reports and headlines about the team are frequent in Italy and of late there has been a great deal of negativity surrounding the Italian team, not helped by their below par start to the season relative to Mercedes.
Kimi Raikkonen is constantly in the firing line regarding his future with the team. Some questionable performances, with Canada being a case in point, make him an easy and frequent target.
Speculation about the future of current team principal Maurizio Arrivabene is also a regular topic of late, while destabilising reports of James Allison leaving Ferrari emerged this weekend in the Montreal paddock.
The Allison speculation prompted Arrivabene to comment, “A couple of days ago I read what was written about [James] and, in my opinion, to me it is a matter of disrespect.”
After the race in Montreal there were more negative headlines as the team botched their race strategy, which in the end probably cost them their first victory of the season.
In the race Vettel led early on after a great start from the second row on the grid which catapulted him ahead of the Mercedes duo, before Turn 1, and put him in control of proceedings.
However a virtual safety car period less than a dozen laps into the race prompted a call from the Ferrari pit wall for Vettel to come in for a tyre change, upon which he relinquished the lead and in retrospect, at that point, lost the race due to another dubious strategy call by his team.
Immediately afterwards Arrivabene admitted, “We overestimated the degradation of the tyres. That’s the reason we brought [Vettel] in and it’s the wrong decision.”
Despite the disappointment and opportunity lost, Vettel was not pointing fingers and rallied behind his team, “The degradation wasn’t maybe as high as we expected. That’s maybe where we lost the race. But I want to make one thing clear: I’m not a big fan of blaming anyone or anything.”
“I think it was a great weekend for Ferrari. We’ve had a difficult start to the season because we were never really able to show the true performance of the car and this was maybe the first clean weekend if you look at Saturday and Sunday. And actually I enjoyed the race a lot.”
“Didn’t get the result I was hoping for, especially after the start, but I was enjoying it a lot. The last 30 laps I was just flat out – maybe pushing a little bit too hard at times. It just felt great. That’s what racing should be about.”
“I ask you to be a bit patient, a bit more patient. The team is on a great path, things are improving and I think we’re seeing results quicker than anyone else so far in the history of F1.”
“I think we’re on the right track, it’s a great team and I’m enjoying it a lot,” added Vettel – sending a clear message to the Italian press: lay off and let the team get on with it.