Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen have backed team principal Maurizio Arrivabene amid paddock speculation that he could be replaced in the near future.
Arrivabene joined Ferrari as team principal at the beginning of the 2015 season, helping to turn its fortunes around and become a race-winning operation once again.
However, with Mercedes enjoying a strong start to the season and Ferrari looking incapable of mounting a serious challenge in 2016, there have been doubts about Arrivabene’s future, with technical director James Allison linked with the team principal role.
Speaking on Friday in Barcelona, both Vettel and Raikkonen heaped praise upon their team boss, believing him to be the best man for the job.
“I know there have been some rumours and some bulls**t lately, but we are very happy that he is with us and not with somebody else,” Vettel said.
“He is reachable, accessible for all the people. He spends a lot of time with the team, not just here but also in Maranello.”
Raikkonen even went as far as calling Arrivabene the best boss he has ever had in F1.
“He is the best team boss I have ever had,” Raikkonen said.
“I think he is exactly the right guy for this job and he does a good job.
“We are good together and we will get where we want to go, but it is not always easy to go.”
As the event elevates its stature, the course gets tougher. The jumps get higher and the competition stouter. This year’s course took inspiration from a skatepark, honoring other adrenaline-laced pastimes and competitions.
“There’s a ton of inspiration from other action sports,” Bereman told Red Bull writer Eric Shirk as he geared up for the event.
Bereman was the leading force in the creation of this event and the winner of its inaugural running. In 2022, Bereman had to settle for second with Axell Hodges claiming victory on the largest freeride course created uniquely for the Red Bull Imagination.
Unlike other courses, Bereman gave designer Jason Baker the liberty to create obstacles and jumps as he went. And this was one of the components that helped the course imitate art.
Baker’s background in track design comes from Supercross. In that sport, he had to follow strict guidelines and build the course to a specific length and distance. From the building of the course through the final event, Bereman’s philosophy was to give every person involved, from creators to riders, fans and beyond, the chance to express themselves.
He wanted the sport to bridge the valley between racing and art.
Hodges scored a 98 on the course and edged Bereman by two points. Both riders used the vast variety of jumps to spend a maximum amount of time airborne. Hodges’s first run included nearly every available obstacle including a 180-foot jump before backflipping over the main road.
The riders were able to secure high point totals on their first runs. Then, the wind picked up ahead of Round 2. Christian Dresser and Guillem Navas were able to improve their scores on the second run by creating new lines on the course and displaying tricks that did not need the amount of hangtime as earlier runs. They were the only riders to improve from run one to run two.
With first and second secured with their early runs, Hodge and Bereman teamed up to use their time jointly to race parallel lines and create tandem hits. The two competitors met at the center of the course atop the Fasthouse feature and revved their engines in an embrace.
Julien Vanstippen rounded out the podium with a final score of 92; his run included a landing of a 130-foot super flip.