Arrivabene says Ferrari must target Mercedes now

Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene says the Italian squad must now focus on closing the gap to Mercedes after emerging as the closest challenger in the Australian Grand Prix.

Arrivabene says Ferrari must target Mercedes now
Maurizio Arrivabene, Ferrari Team Principal
(L to R): Maurizio Arrivabene, Ferrari Team Principal with Guenther Steiner, Haas F1 Team Principal
Maurizio Arrivabene, Ferrari Team Principal
Arnold Schwarzenegger, on the podium with third place Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari celebrates his third position on the podium
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF15-T
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF15-T
(L to R): Kimi Raikkonen, Scuderia Ferrari with Sebastian Vettel, Scuderia Ferrari
(L to R): Kimi Raikkonen, Scuderia Ferrari with Sebastian Vettel, Scuderia Ferrari

The Maranello team endured a poor 2014 season, during which president Luca di Montezemolo, team boss Stefano Domenicali, and star driver Fernando Alonso all left.

But the team has managed to change its fortunes around, and it proved to be the quickest car behind Mercedes in Melbourne.

Arrivabene says that, with the goal of matching Williams and Red Bull now achieved, Ferrari has to set its targets on Mercedes.

"As I said before our goal was we were looking forward to Williams and Red Bull at the beginning, now we need to start to be a bit more convinced about ourselves and reduce the gap to the Mercedes guys," said Arrivabene.

"It's just a question to continue like this with the right methodology, working and respecting the programme without panicking, keeping up the spirit of the team.

"You know for example today we were working without the engineer in charge of strategy. Yesterday we had a problem in qualifying, because it's like when you are sailing very, very fast in a fog!

"All the engineers they were reading th data, but not having the guy who's an expert we were struggling a bit, and in fact we fucked up, as simple as it is! It could happen. Today we were quite convinced that we were quite strong."

Half happy

As for his own reaction to the race, he said: "About the team I was happy. As a tifoso I was happy too, but as a team principal I'm half happy, because I mean one car was stopped on the track and the other car was on the podium, so for me we have done half of the job."

Sebastian Vettel finished in third place in Australia, while teammate Kimi Raikkonen was forced to retire with a wheel problem.

Arrivabene made it clear that on a day when Vettel scored a top three finish he as concerned with reassuring Raikkonen as he was with celebrating with the German.

"Seb of course was happy because his dream comes true, to get a podium with Ferrari is something really special for an F1 driver," said Arrivabene.

"Concerning Kimi, I was going straight away to talk to him. You know, what you need to do with a driver, you need to understand, and you need to keep him up. Otherwise if you want to celebrate with one and ignore the other, it doesn't work.

"The two guys are working very well together, and my job is to keep the right balance, and to make Kimi confident. I was repeating to him many, many times, look Kimi, you are like a hammer, you are pushing like hell and your timing was super good.

"This is what I am convinced about, that we two drivers for the constructors', not one, and Kimi I think he can do his job properly."

He also explained what he was doing when he went to see the mechanics on the troublesome left rear corner of Raikkonen's car, a moment captured by the TV cameras.

"I went down into the box first of all to calm down them because I don't want them to panic. Second I was asking to the mechanic what's happened?

"He explained it to me and I said to him, Listen, calm down, be focused, don't worry. Things like this happen."

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