Ferrari F1 Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene agrees with Niki Lauda’s assessment who believes latest Ferrari specification has matched Mercedes in terms of power unit performance and fully expects a stronger challenge from the Italian squad in 2016 F1.
Mercedes non-executive chairman Lauda said in an interview with Italian magazine Autosprint that the 20bhp gain his team enjoyed had now gone following the upgrade Ferrari introduced in Italian Grand Prix.
Following three grand’s prix victory in 2015, Arrivabene sincerely believes his team now has a platform from which it can leapfrog the world champions.
“If Niki said so, I’m quite suspicious, to be honest but looking at the data, yeah, we are there, because our engine department has done a great job,” Arrivabene said.
“I want to take this occasion to thank all of them, because for us the engine is the core of the car.
“I know we have other parts of the car where we have to work and this year it was not possible to make some huge changes, but we look forward for next year.”
When asked if he felt Ferrari could battle Mercedes on pure speed and challenge for the world title, Arrivabene said: “If you want my honest expectation, it’s not to be closer to them, but to be in front of them.
“I tell you with humility, but being closer [can’t be the target]. We are closer again now, we must be in front next year.”