The death of Sergio Marchionne has been ‘a major impact’ on Ferrari’s 2018 Formula 1 world title charge according to Ross Brawn following the potentially-decisive results at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Brawn, former Ferrari technical director, feels Ferrari’s key problems can be narrowed down to the sudden passing of former President Marchionne who died in late July following a short illness.
Marchionne was credited with turning around Ferrari’s fortunes both from a business and sporting perspective, including the Scuderia’s resurgence in the F1 world title fight against Mercedes, and with the Italian chief passing away Brawn believes it had ‘totally understandable’ effect on the team.
“It’s obvious from even a brief analysis of the way the car behaves that Ferrari has a very strong technical package, thanks to the efforts of the past few years which has seen the team close a technical gap to Mercedes,” Brawn said in a post-Japanese GP release.
“Compared to last year, even Ferrari’s reliability has improved. So where’s the problem? There is no doubt the shock of the sudden death of its leader, Sergio Marchionne, who had been such a strong reference in the team, will have a major impact, and that is totally understandable.
“Having experienced many crises myself during my time with Ferrari, what I know is that this is the time to come together, stay united and look ahead, without resorting to recrimination and playing the blame game.”
Marchionne underwent shoulder surgery in mid-July in Zurich but due to medical complications the FCA Group announced the 66-year-old had stood down as CEO and Chairman at Ferrari. Louis C. Camilleri was named as CEO with previous vice-chairman John Elkann stepping up as chairman at the iconic Italian brand.
Marchionne died on July 25, two days after the German Grand Prix, with Ferrari running tributes to the Italian at the Hungarian Grand Prix the weekend after.
After victory at the British Grand Prix, Vettel has seen an eight-point lead in the F1 world drivers’ standings swing to a 67-point deficit to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton after the Brit’s victory in Japan coupled with the German finishing down in sixth place.