Formula 1 Managing Director of Motorsports Ross Brawn has urged Ferrari to remain united through its current rough patch in the championship, part of which he has attributed to the death of "strong" leader Sergio Marchionne.
Ferrari had a strong chance of competing for both world titles this year, having led the way in the Constructors’ Championship, with Sebastian Vettel heading the Drivers’ standings at stages.
Vettel’s win in Belgium drew him to within 14 points of Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari locked out the front row of the grid for its home event in Italy.
But it allowed victory to slip through its fingers, with Hamilton snatching a win that proved to be the first of four on the bounce, a run that is still ongoing courtesy of his triumph in Japan.
Ferrari, meanwhile, has struggled to match Mercedes in recent Grands Prix, owing to a lack of pace and mistakes, and its chances in both championships are now slim.
“As was the case last year, in September and October Ferrari seems to have gone off the rails,” said Brawn.
“Up until Monza, the Scuderia had seemed capable of fighting for both titles all the way to the end, but the trips to Singapore, Russia and Japan put a stop to that, particularly in the Drivers’ classification.
“As an outsider it’s always difficult to give a correct assessment as to why this has happened.
“It’s obvious from even a brief analysis of the way the car behaves that Ferrari has a very strong technical package, thanks to the efforts of the past few years which has seen the team close a technical gap to Mercedes that had developed since the introduction of hybrid power units in 2014.
“Compared to last year, even Ferrari’s reliability has improved. So where’s the problem?
“There is no doubt the shock of the sudden death of its leader, Sergio Marchionne, who had been such a strong reference in the team, will have a major impact, and that is totally understandable.”
Brawn was part of Ferrari’s senior management through its dominant era in the early 2000s and feels that unity will be a strength moving forward.
“Having experienced many crises myself during my time with Ferrari, what I know is that this is the time to come together, stay united and look ahead, without resorting to recrimination and playing the blame game,” he said.
“Drivers, engineers and management all win and lose together, which is an unwritten rule in every sport, not just Formula 1. Everyone at Maranello knows that.
“Now is the time to try and turn things around and finish in style a season that has many positives.”