Marchionne: We have to catch Mercedes

Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne has told his Formula 1 team the “clock is on” in the race to beat runaway leaders Mercedes this season.

Despite making significant improvements over winter, Ferrari have thus far been unable to get the better of the German giants in any of the opening three qualifying sessions or races as of yet.

Also marred by reliability problems, Ferrari have every right to feel frustrated at how the commencing stages of the season have played out for them.

“What could have been is unfortunate because it didn’t happen – we didn’t win – so we need to fix this now,” he told Sky Sports F1.

“The team knows that the clock is on and we need to start winning some races and bringing them home.”

Ferrari’s opening to the season was perhaps personified by events which occurred in the opening lap of Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix, as teammates Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen collided in the early stages, resulting in each falling down race order.

Marchionne’s prediction that his team could potentially knock Mercedes off their pedestal this season certainly raised expectations for 2016, although early signs point towards another year of dominance for Toto Wolff and co.

“The team has developed a car at this point to the level we expected and I think we knew we weren’t going to be exactly on Mercedes at the beginning of the season,” he said.

“But the car will develop to the point where there is no distinguishable difference between us and them. That’s really important because it will let the drivers run.”

Without a Drivers’ World Championship since 2007, it has been a lean spell for the Scuderia in recent years, with Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and the aforementioned Raikkonen have all tried and failed to win a title, whilst the hope now lies in the hands of four-time World Champion Vettel to make a serious challenge in the not too distant future.

 
 

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