Marchionne says Ferrari doesn't need Lowe

Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne insists the Italian marque's F1 outfit is not interested in recruiting Mercedes tech chief Paddy Lowe.

Marchionne says Ferrari doesn't need Lowe
Press Conference: Sergio Marchionne, President Ferrari
Maurizio Arrivabene, Ferrari Team Principal on the pit gantry
Paddy Lowe, Mercedes AMG F1 Technical F1 Executive Director
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF16-H, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF16-H
James Allison, Ferrari Chassis Technical Director
Mattia Binotto, Ferrari Chief Technical Officer
Sergio Marchionne,, Ferrari President and CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari; Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF16-H
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF16-H

For much of the 2016 season's run-in, paddock speculation had linked Lowe - whose contract extension talks with Mercedes were postponed until after the campaign's end - with a possible switch to Ferrari.

But while Lowe is now indeed expected to be leaving Mercedes, he is set to switch to Williams instead of Ferrari.

It is believed that Ferrari never made a bid for Lowe's services, and at the Christmas media event in Fiorano president Marchionne explained why the tech chief didn't feature in the Italian marque's plans.

"Paddy Lowe is a brilliant engineer," Marchionne said. "And he has plenty of friends in Formula 1.

"We have simply said that we were adequately covered, because with the technical experience that we have at Maranello, we have no need to take Paddy Lowe."

Ferrari F1 team's tech department went through a major overhaul in the middle of a difficult 2016 campaign, with the manufacturer letting go of James Allison and insisting it will now look to promote from within instead of luring over big-name tech chiefs.

"In the course of the season our car did not improve, while our rivals succeeded – just look at what Red Bull was able to do between the first and second half of the year," continued Marchionne.

"Our working methods changed last August, when we promoted [Mattia] Binotto – a decision taken also to give us calm and an awareness of spending money and resources on the right things.

"My objective is to create the conditions to invest in this team that has remained true all these years and give space to these people. I am sure that this policy will lead us towards important goals.

"If next year the results aren’t right, it will be my fault. There will be no problem of going to look for scapegoats."

2018 line-up "a work in progress"

Ferrari's current drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen are both signed on until the end of 2017, and Marchionne confirmed the Italian manufacturer is in the process of weighing up its options beyond that.

"It’s a work in progress," he said of Ferrari's 2018 line-up. "The contracts of both expire at the end of 2017. At the moment we have done nothing, but we are observing the availability of others to understand what we can do.

"Sebastian has had a difficult year, because the car did not meet his expectations. His performance hasn’t reflected his qualities as a driver, but I hope that in 2017 we will succeed in resolving all the issues.

"Kimi, on the other hand, has had his best season since he returned to Ferrari, so I am happy with what he has done. He’s had a great attitude, especially in a difficult moment like ours."

Additional reporting by Roberto Chinchero

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