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Ferrari president: Bahrain F1 win proves Melbourne wasn’t a one-off

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Ferrari president and CEO Sergio Marchionne has paid tribute to the Italian marque’s Formula 1 team after Sebastian Vettel took his second win of the season in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

Vettel charged from third on the grid to beat the Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, moving back into the lead of the drivers’ championship in the process.

Ferrari also now sits atop the constructors’ standings, three points clear of Mercedes, much to Marchionne’s delight, who also believes the result proves that the win in Australia was no fluke.

“It is, of course, hugely satisfying to be back on the top step of the podium with Seb. More importantly, however, we are now completely confident that our victory in Melbourne wasn’t just a one-off and that we will be at the forefront of this world championship until the last,” Marchionne said.

“We finally have a competitive car to count on and it is important to recognize the speed with which we implemented the developments demanded for each new race.

“All this is the fruit of superb work at the track and in Maranello, so my compliments not just to Seb for his achievements in Bahrain, but also to the whole team. Congratulations to Kimi [Raikkonen] too on a good race.

“That said, we are well aware we have a long road ahead and know that if we want to get to the most important finish-line of all, we cannot stint on our commitment and focus for a second.”

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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