Ferrari has appointed a Spanish woman to help "fix" car reliability problems that have marred the team's push for the 2017 title. In the Sepang-Suzuka double header, Sebastian Vettel suffered car problems that now strand him a whopping 59 points behind Lewis Hamilton with four races go go.
"We need to renew our commitment to the quality of the components we use for F1," Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne said afterwards. "On at least three occasions it has had a devastating impact on the Scuderia's performance. We will fix it," he promised.
La Repubblica newspaper is now reporting what that "fix" is. Her name is Maria Mendoza, who has been promoted by Marchionne from elsewhere in the Fiat Chrysler parent company. The Italian newspaper said Spaniard Mendoza has been in charge of a 25-person quality control group at Fiat for the past five years.
Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda said Ferrari's troubles in Malaysia and Japan were "unbelievable". "(At Suzuka) we had the same problem in the morning and with the permission of the FIA we changed the spark plug," he revealed to Auto Motor und Sport. "But I think with Vettel it was more than just a spark plug."
Indeed, Ferrari's technical boss Mattia Binotto admits the Maranello team has been struggling with "some quality issues with parts" recently. (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing