Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne says Ferrari must improve its aerodynamic department, particuarly the speed in which it brings developments to its car, after falling back during the latter stages of the season.
Ferrari began the year with a chance of victory in Australia, but a strategic error during a red flag put Sebastian Vettel out of contention. The team continued to show good form during the opening races, but quickly fell behind Red Bull and eventually finished 70 points adrift in third place.
Marchionne believes their rate of development is a key weakness that must be addressed over the winter if they’re to challenge Mercedes and Red Bull in 2017.
“The most important recognition that the team has made during this season is a clear identification of the gaps we have in terms of two things: one is honestly performance on track, but, more importantly, I think about the rate of change of the other teams,” he is quoted as saying by Motorsport.
“I think we have seen a Red Bull at the start of the 2016 season that did not have, at least on paper, the attributes to try to take on Ferrari. And by the end of the season, Red Bull did effectively become a viable competitor.
“It was not due to the power unit side, it was down to the work that was done on both aero and chassis. And it’s pointed out probably one of the most significant holes in the strategic development of Ferrari in the last few years. We will try to remedy that problem.”
Marchionne is also aware that the team must improve its engine, not just the chassis, if it’s to mount a championship challenge, particuarly as the token system has now been scrapped, allowing Renault and Honda to catch up more quickly.
“That’s not to say we don’t consider the power unit to be crucial, work continues on both fronts,” he added. “But I think the biggest issue is that we need to recognise from the 2016 findings is the gap that exists on aero development and I think we are trying to close it as quickly as we can.”