Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene has hit back at criticism of the team with Mercedes closing in on another World Championship double.
Another error-riddled weekend in Japan led to reports that Ferrari are in ‘crisis’ mode but a defiant Arrivabene has questioned those critics and their motives.
“I had the impression that some people were waiting for this situation to criticise us,” Arrivabene told Autosport.
“Since I’ve been at Ferrari, in the role of team principal, I always put my face first, and I will continue to do so.
“After three and a half years it was always going to happen one day that the horse would bolt from the barn – as probably happened at Suzuka.
“This gave rise to those who had been waiting to create controversy from nothing.”
Arrivabene went onto describe the unsettling rumours as “unfounded” and reminded everyone that Mercedes’ improvement is also a key factor in this year’s title race and not just their high-profile errors.
“I do not mind discussions – it is the silences that bother me,” Arrivabene added.
“That said, it is clear that there is interest from some people to create confusion and a casino within our team.
“When you are leading the world championship, just half a smile can convey the feeling of a team with great harmony.
“But if you slip into second place, it is normal to smile less. Maybe we should learn to smile more – if this helps to stop unfounded rumours.
“We are a team that is battling against a great rival like Mercedes – and it is not something you can do with a team that is in disarray.
“In the last three races, we had a loss of form, we know that, but we have analysed the situation and hope to have solved the problems. We will have the proof here in Austin.
“But we must not forget that Mercedes has also grown [stronger] and the two things together have determined what we have seen in recent races.”