Ferrari must fill "significant hole" in aero development

Ferrari has made it a priority to fill the "significant hole" it has in its Formula 1 aero development capabilities, after losing out in the update war to Red Bull this season.

Ferrari must fill "significant hole" in aero development
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF16-H
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF16-H
Press Conference: Sergio Marchionne, President Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF16-H
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF16-H
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF16-H
Sergio Marchionne,, Ferrari President and CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

The Maranello-based outfit went into 2016 determined to fight for the title and win races from the off, but a mixture of strategy calls, poor reliability and lack of update progress hurt its chances against Mercedes.

In the end, as Red Bull hit peak form towards the end of the campaign, Ferrari even slipped to third place in the constructors' championship, exactly 70 points behind its Milton Keynes-based rival.

Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has singled out its lack of development during the season as its biggest fault this year, and says the matter must be addressed for 2017 if the outfit is going to achieve its target.

Speaking at the Ferrari Mondiali 2016 races in Daytona, Marchionne was pretty clear about the weaknesses his team had to sort.

"The most important recognition that the team has made during this season is a clear identification of the gaps we have in terms of two things: one is honestly performance on track, but, more importantly, I think about the rate of change of the other teams," he explained.

"I think we have seen a Red Bull at the start of the 2016 season that did not have, at least on paper, the attributes to try to take on Ferrari. And by the end of the season, Red Bull did effectively become a viable competitor.

"And it was not due to the power unit side, it was down to the work that was done on both aero and chassis.

"And it's pointed out probably one of the most significant holes in the strategic development of Ferrari in the last few years.

"We will try to remedy that problem. That's not to say we don't consider the power unit to be crucial, work continues on both fronts. But I think the biggest issue is that we need to recognise from the '16 findings is the gap that exists on aero development and I think we are trying to close it as quickly as we can."

It is Red Bull rather than Ferrari that is being tipped by many to be Mercedes' main threat for the championship in 2017, and Marchionne thinks it impossible to be too confident about how his team will go next season.

"I think it is impossible to make any prognostication for the 2017 season," he said. "The only thing I can guarantee you is that we are leaving no stones unturned.

"And we're also preparing for in-season development of the car, which is crucial to maintain the competitiveness of whatever goes on to the track in Australia in March."

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