The amount of change that has gone on at Ferrari has been almost dizzying to behold.
Sebastian Vettel has come in to replace Fernando Alonso (now at McLaren) as Kimi Raikkonen’s teammate, while Maurizio Arrivabene has become team principal following the exits of both Stefano Domenicali and Marco Mattiacci.
There are the additions of Esteban Gutierrez as reserve driver and Jean-Eric Vergne as test driver (plus the impending arrival of engineer Jock Clear), as well as the departures of Pat Fry (technical director), Nikolas Tombazis (chief designer), and Hirohide Hamashima (tire specialist).
And let’s not forget the top job of chairman, which has now been taken by Sergio Marchionne after the resignation of Luca di Montezemolo.
The big question is if all of that will lead to Ferrari closing the gap to front-runners Mercedes. Marchionne is hopeful, but figures that pulling even with the Silver Arrows will only happen after some time – and not next season.
“I think 2015 is going to be a reconstitution year,” Marchionne said Monday to reporters before the team’s annual Christmas lunch in Maranello. “It will be Maurizio’s first full year with the team. I think hopefully within the next 12 months, we will remove all the baggage of uncertainty that is going to plague at least the initial phase of 2015.
“Not to underestimate the significance or the magnitude of the task, I think Ferrari can probably get to the same place [as Mercedes] by the end of 2015. Some of the work has already started. We need to be able to emulate their success.”
Arrivabene was also present at today’s conference, and said that Ferrari’s 2015 machine had already passed its FIA crash tests. He also set a minimum goal of two Grand Prix victories for the team.
“If we win two [races] it will be a success, with three it would be a triumph,” he said of his hopes for 2015. “If we win four, we go to heaven.”
He added: “I can guarantee the team is putting in a phenomenal effort. We have people here who are giving their absolute best and they have my full support. The important thing for us now is to give them courage and all the resources necessary to move forward and make the Scuderia grow.”