Ferrari might be wise to write off 2016 and focus all of its efforts on beating Mercedes next year.
That is the view of one section of the Italian press, even though team president Sergio Marchionne said in Baku that the fight for the 2016 crown is still on.
But Tuttosport, an Italian sports daily, urged Ferrari to consider that switching focus to the sweeping new technical rules for 2017 might make more sense.
“Mercedes is too strong this season,” it declared.
“Although occasionally they show some weakness, it is normal that teams like Red Bull and McLaren prefer to start working early on the project for next year.”
Former Renault boss and Italian Flavio Briatore, however, urged Ferrari to take a more fundamental approach to returning to title glory.
He told Italian radio Gr Parlamento Rai that Marchionne, having only taken office at Maranello just over a year ago, made rookie errors by setting grand targets for 2016.
“Championships are not won by proclamation but by working as Mercedes did,” he said.
“Mercedes’ advantage is huge, and Ferrari is lucky Hamilton had problems with his switches (in Baku) otherwise he would have been second without problems. And I don’t think Rosberg was flat out.
“Ferrari must be careful now not to lose second place as well, as in Baku (Sergio) Perez was very fast, as is Red Bull.
“Nothing has changed since last year, with more than a second between Mercedes and Ferrari.”
Rumours in Italy suggest Maurizio Arrivabene’s job may be on the line, but Briatore said that is no the answer.
“Instead, they should internationalise,” he said. “Maranello is not a place that someone from England dreams of living in, so I would suggest they open up a technology department there.
“I know that in formula one things do not happen by miracle. In England, there are 10 teams within 60 kilometres — even Mercedes, who are German, are there, because if you want to make champagne, you’re better off in France.”
Finally, Briatore commented on the health condition of his former charge, Michael Schumacher.
“I know nothing as there is an impenetrable cordon around him,” the 66-year-old said.
“You could only hear from Massa or Jean Todt, who see him from time to time. From what I know you can only pray, as he has many doctors around him.”