For Ferrari, last season was another to add to the growing list of those to forget. Having began the season promising so much, finishing the year without a single win was catastrophic. A lack of stability within the team must have affected their development through the season, and they finished up a distant third in the standings.
I cannot see the possibility of much change in circumstance for Ferrari heading into 2017. The team’s management is made up of the same individuals, I imagine the same problems will continue to stifle any progress. So it seems highly likely that any hope of a result is going to come from the drivers.
On Track Threatrics
This is where I think Ferrari will have another problem. Sebastian Vettel. Now, I am basing this on his performances last year, but I think he caused the team a lot of trouble with his attitude both in and out of the car. Clearly he is a man who wants to win every race, he is deeply passionate about his job. I understand and respect that, but he is no different from the other 21 drivers out there. He has been lucky enough to spend the majority of his career in a class leading car, yet he feels justified in hurling abuse at his contemporaries whenever he feels like it.
I feel his theatrics on the track last season definitely had an adverse affect on his driving. He wasn’t able to find the speed with which he breezed to four World Titles. He is going to need to sort his head out and rediscover that form. If he doesn’t, he is in real danger of being beaten by fellow World Champion Kimi Raikkonen.
Kimi’s hit form
The dynamic between these two has been of huge interest to me. Raikkonen was considered past his best in the early part of 2016, but arguably performed as well as anyone in the latter rounds of the championship. I will expect Kimi to continue on that run of form when the new season kicks off in March.
Raikkonen clearly still has the pace when he feels comfortable in the car. He certainly has had problems with the handling of his Ferrari since he returned to the team. Vettel is still one of the quickest guys on the grid. But Sebastian hit the self destruct button at certain points last year, and that had a hugely detrimental effect on his season. Kimi will surely feel confidence from his recent form. I think he will fancy a go at taking control of this Ferrari team battle battle.
Whether the car will be capable of fighting for victories remains to be seen. If Kimi is able to start the season strongly, Vettel may well begin to show some frustration. Kimi still has the ability to win races. His successes at Lotus proved that, so I have no doubts these two will be fighting each other all through the season.