Sebastian Vettel believes Ferrari has no plans to make big changes to its organisation following two frustrating Formula 1 weekends, despite its president Sergio Marchionne hinting that could be the case.
Vettel and teammate Kimi Raikkonen were wiped out on the first lap of the Singapore Grand Prix, while in Malaysia an engine problem stopped Vettel completing a timed lap in qualifying and Raikkonen from taking the start in the race.
As a result, Vettel has fallen 34 points adrift of Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ standings, while Ferrari trails Mercedes by 118 in the constructors’ championship.
After Malaysia, Marchionne suggested there were plans for changes to the organisation but when those comments were put to Vettel, he said: “I heard that as well, not from him, but from the press so I’m not sure it’s put in the right context.
“But what happens on track, happens on track. The thing that happened in Singapore, I don’t think you can take much action.
“We had a problem in Malaysia that stopped myself and Kimi. So it is normal you try to understand things and its normal we have a shift in people. But knowing what is going on internally, there is no panic, no big plans as a reaction.
“Maybe it is more a coincidence of events with the interview, but as far as I know nothing big happens.”
“Good understanding” of engine problem
Ferrari believes the engine problem Vettel and Raikkonen suffered in Malaysia is similar and while it has found a way to manage it for Japan, investigations are continuing to get a better understanding of why it happened.
Vettel said: “We have a good understanding [of the problem] but it is still ongoing to try and understand the picture completely.
“It’s only been a couple of days, so parts went back to understand and get a full picture but I’m pretty sure here shouldn’t be an issue.”
Raikkonen added: “It’s been understood what failed, and obviously it’s been fixed.
“Nobody can promise that it won’t happen again, but I really doubt that it will happen again. You never know.”
Confident for Suzuka
Meanwhile, the Finn is confident that Ferrari has the potential to fight at the front of the field in Suzuka – but he concedes that the team has to get everything right.
Raikkonen believes that form will ebb and flow between the top three teams at the remaining races, and that details will make the difference.
“We improved the car, the speed, but then everybody will do that. It’s a matter of who does a little bit more than the others. Some circuits will be a bit better for one team than the other top teams,” he said.
“I think we’re quite confident that the car will be where we’ve been lately. Is that going to be enough to be first or second or fourth? Everybody’s pretty close with the top three teams.
“You need to get everything right to fight in the front. We can, at least in a way, feel happy to come here and start racing, knowing that if we make everything 100 percent right, we should have a good chance to fight at the front, and see we where we end up.
“Our car has been pretty strong everywhere.”