Maurizio Arrivabene agrees with Niki Lauda’s view that his Ferrari Formula 1 team’s latest specification of engine has matched its Mercedes rival for power and efficiency.
Mercedes non-executive chairman Lauda said lin an interview with Italian magazine Autosprint that the 20bhp advantage his team enjoyed had now gone following the upgrade Ferrari introduced at Monza.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who has won three races this season, believed Lauda was overplaying the Scuderia’s gains. But following the team’s strong performance in Brazil, where Vettel was buoyed by the 14-second gap to race winner Nico Rosberg, Ferrari chief Arrivabene believes Lauda has a point.
“If Niki said so, I’m quite suspicious, to be honest but looking at the data, yeah, we are there, because our engine department has done a great job,” he said. “I want to take this occasion to thank all of them, because for us the engine is the core of the car.
“I know we have other parts of the car where we have to work and this year it was not possible to make some huge changes, but we look forward for next year.”
Ferrari was fourth in the 2014 constructors’ championship after a difficult season but made huge gains over the winter and now has the second quickest car.
When asked if he felt Ferrari could fight Mercedes on pure pace and challenge for the world title, Arrivabene said: “If you want my honest expectation, it’s not to be closer to them, but to be in front of them.
“I tell you with humility, but being closer [can’t be the target]. We are closer again now, we must be in front next year.”