Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne told his top driver Sebastian Vettel that it is “down to him” to win the championship title next year.
Vettel had to compete hard with Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas by the end of the season to make sure he got the second place in the drivers’ standings. Although the German had a strong chance of winning the title by the summer break, he lost the opportunity when he didn’t win at the Singapore, Malaysian and Japanese Grands Prix weekends.
Vettel also lost some points at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix where his actions led to a five second ‘stop and go’ penalty for colliding with Lewis Hamilton’s car. Marchionne reminded everyone of this incident when talking about his expectations for 2018 racing season.
“Sebastian Vettel is a guy who studies a lot, studies himself and is committed, therefore, I think that we will see less of his emotive side,” he said. “I think he has learned enough. Plus, there were plenty of opportunities for him to get annoyed, as he’s had a couple of rather difficult seasons, this year and the previous one.
“I continue to maintain we have an obligation towards these drivers, to give them a car with which they can race the others. I think we gave them a great car in 2017 and so, from now on, it’s down to him.”
Marchionne called Kimi Räikkönen “a bit of a laggard” early this year and expects to see better performance from the Finnish driver in the next season.
“As for Kimi Räikkönen, I believe he is really great, truly talented and I have never doubted his abilities. I tell you, he’s a really top guy, otherwise he wouldn’t have taken pole at a track like Monaco. I think Maurizio has done a great job with the drivers and that’s not an easy task.”