After president Sergio Marchionne admitted his bold proclamations of a year ago made him look “silly”, Ferrari has taken a notably starkly contrasting quiet approach to its 2017 preparations.
But now, while the new Ferrari came out of the blocks with a reliable, technically courageous and apparently fast car in Barcelona, Sebastian Vettel was banned from talking to the media on Monday.
“Ferrari do not speak,” insider Leo Turrini said. “But they are happy with the outcome of the first day of testing.”
But the blackout has not been as warmly met by other Italian media insiders.
“Low profile is acceptable,” said La Gazzetta dello Sport’s Luigi Perna, “but not complete silence.
“Journalists are like engineers,” he told the Finnish newspaper Iltalehti. “We should be able to give feedback to the fans, who have the right to hear the drivers.”
Turrini said the decision was made by president Marchionne himself, triggering a furious reaction from the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
“Starting the season with a news blackout is absurd,” the report declared.
“After the sad living nativity scene of the car launch comes this meaningless news blackout. A low profile asked by Marchionne is one thing, but this carelessness is quite another.”
So for now, any commentary made about Ferrari is being left to others, like Red Bull’s Adrian Newey.
He said on Monday: “The Mercedes looks very sophisticated. As for Ferrari, I do not quite understand the area of the sidepods, which look very complicated to me.”
Toro Rosso technical boss James Key agrees: “The Ferrari looks really interesting — it is not like the other cars.”
And former F1 driver Marc Surer said in Barcelona: “The Ferrari makes a good impression on me. You can see they’ve done a good job in the winter.
“From the (engine) sound, the Ferrari is in no way inferior to Mercedes,” the pundit told Bild newspaper. “Now we’ll have to see if that is synonymous with performance.”