- The Inside Line
Arrivabene welcomeKate Walker February 21, 2015
Ferrari has been through a number of changes of late. Last year was not the most consistent when it came to personnel changes, and this season sees a new man in one cockpit and a new man at the helm of the team. Between them, Maurizio Arrivabene and Sebastian Vettel will be hoping that their arrivals herald a new era of success for the Scuderia.
While success is yet to be proven - winter testing is hardly indicative of anything, given that teams could power their cars with rocket fuel if they so chose - what Ferrari demonstrated on Friday in Barcelona was that the team is embarking on a new era of openness.
In an hour-long press conference, Arrivabene - who insisted that the attendant media call him Maurizio, and not Mr Arrivabene - waxed lyrical in disarmingly anecdotal style about the changes he has seen at Ferrari since taking over the role of team principal from Marco Mattiacci after last year's Abu Dhabi season finale.
Speaking in a mixture of Italian and English, the former sponsor turned team boss charmed all and sundry as he spoke of a winter at Maranello in which the sound of the on-going work on the F1 power unit replaced the sound of Christmas carols - even on Christmas Eve. The reinvigorated Scuderia has seen a shift in morale over the off-season, Arrivabene said, with even the typically taciturn Kimi Raikkonen both smiling and garrulous.
While the mood at Maranello may be marvellous, Arrivabene was cautious when making predictions of the year ahead. Ferrari certainly seem to have made a great leap forward over the winter, but as the team boss put it, "I don't believe in the winter championships".
Ferrari has often made the mistake of making big promises it later proved unable to keep. In that it is far from alone - it is typical of the competitive spirit. But Arrivabene's approach on Friday was to promote positivity without giving the press (and tifosi) any sense of false hope. Good results in Jerez and Barcelona have not led to pledges that the Scuderia will be on the top step of every podium - expectations were managed at every step.
It is a difficult dance to do, balancing enthusiasm and practicality, but Arrivabene managed it adroitly. If Ferrari's testing promise proves to be pace that endures throughout the season, the new team principal - who spoke only of the team effort involved, taking no individual credit for anything the Scuderia have accomplished over the winter - will be feted, celebrated for the team's achievements, yet if the early promise leads to little in performance terms, he has removed himself from the role of scapegoat.
For the key message in Arrivabene's hour-long press conference was that Ferrari has once again become a coherent team, a unified force seeking success and not a group of fractured departments bogged down in internal fighting and blame games. The 2015 Scuderia Ferrari wins together and loses together.
At least, that's how it stands right now, when no one is doing any winning or losing at all...