Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene has urged his team to rediscover a habit of winning and stop choking when it is close to its goal.
The Italian team missed out on another drivers’ title at the Mexican Grand Prix two weeks ago, meaning it has now gone 11 years without winning the championship. The result came after a series of errors by both Sebastian Vettel and the team over the course of the year, and despite Ferrari having a car capable of beating rivals Mercedes for the majority of that time.
“There are areas where we are superior, others where they [Mercedes] are, but I think we still lack the habit of winning,” Autosport reported Arrivabene as saying. “For them to have a 1-2 is almost ordinary. For us it is still an exceptional event.
“We must be more aware of our means, and not be afraid of winning. In tennis they call it ‘il braccino’: the fear of winning that comes when you are close to the goal. We must trust ourselves, and make winning a good habit.”
Vettel was involved in costly collisions at the French, German, Italian, Japanese and U.S. Grands Prix this year and has not won a race since the Belgian Grand Prix in August.
Ferrari was very competitive in the middle part of the season, but Vettel’s errors meant it failed to capitalise on its superior performance over Mercedes. From the Singapore Grand Prix onwards, the team started to struggle for performance and in Japan made a major error when it sent its cars out on intermediate tyres on a dry track in qualifying.
It was only when Ferrari arrived in the U.S. last month and rolled back a series of upgrades that it rediscovered its competitiveness, but Arrivabene said there was no point in trying to apportion blame.
“There was a moment [in 2018] when we were a phenomena, then a phase in which the finger was pointed at the driver, and finally followed by a period where the car was the target,” Arrivabene said. “In the end we understood even more that we win and we lose all together.
“There were mistakes from Vettel and to a lesser extent from the team, but the lesson we have understood is that you do not need to point the finger at someone.
“There is a manager of the racing team and it’s me. I got angry once [at Suzuka], but I think that once in three and a half years we can accept.
“When things go wrong I’m here, and I’ve always said it. But when it’s all right, my satisfaction is to go under the podium, sing the anthem, and applaud.”