Marchionne optimistic of Ferrari challenge

Sergio Marchionne thinks Ferrari can learn from this season and mount another Formula One title challenge.

Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has no doubts that his team will be 'competitive' next season.   -  Getty Images

Sergio Marchionne thinks Ferrari made "great strides" this year and expects the team to be a force in 2018 after a "character building" second half of the recently-concluded season.

Sebastian Vettel took a 14-point lead into the mid-season break courtesy of a fourth win of the season in Hungary, but Lewis Hamilton won five of the next six races for Mercedes before going on to win his fourth world title.

It is a decade since a Scuderia driver was crowned world champion and nine years since the iconic Italian outfit won the constructors' championship, but president Marchionne is optimistic it can mount a challenge next year.

Read: 5 things to watch out for in 2018

He said: "Given where we started from last year, this season we have taken giant strides forward. Having said that, the second half of 2017 was…character building. We learned a lot over the past six months, trying to move forward and that's the most important thing.

"From back in August of last year, when we overhauled the organisation, I totally believed that these guys, with Maurizio Arrivabene as team principal and Mattia Binotto heading up the technical side, would be capable of doing something amazing.

"We really believed we could do much more: but in 2017, we were unable to reach our objectives. That has also resulted in some changes to the organisation of the Gestione Sportiva.

"We can already see significant signs of change when it comes to the team's production capacity. The important thing is to start 2018 with all this expertise and experience and to manage this organisation. I have no doubt that we will be competitive."

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