Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn says Ferrari has a “long road ahead” to return to competitiveness after its disappointing start to the season continued at the Styrian Grand Prix. 

Ferrari appears to have fallen into the midfield after designing a car that seems to be around one second slower than the Mercedes. 

The Italian squad has struggled for pace in both qualifying and on race-day and fast-tracked an upgrade package originally intended for the third round in Hungary to Austria in a bid to improve its fortunes. 

But the revised package did not deliver the results Ferrari hoped for and the team was robbed of valuable data from the race after its drivers Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel took each other out. 

"They aren't going to turn it around overnight,” Brawn, who worked as the Scuderia's technical director when the team dominated the early 2000s with Michael Schumacher, wrote in his post-race column for F1. 

"There's a long road ahead of them. They need to find out if there is a fundamental problem with the car - and they need to find out fast - because clearly they are some way off the pace.

"The management have to cope with it and make sure the staff maintain the faith and stay focused on what needs to be done.

"One of the biggest problems for Ferrari is that, of all the teams on the grid, they come under the closest scrutiny from the media, particularly in Italy.

"I know from my own experience that the media pressure in Italy can be incredibly intense, and you have to make sure it doesn't get to your people.”

Leclerc accepted full blame for the collision after launching a reckless move at Turn 3 at the opening lap. 

"I am disappointed in myself. I'm sorry but being sorry is not enough,” he said. 

"I've let the team down after them working a whole week to bring the updates early. Too eager to gain those places in the first lap. I will learn from it.”

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto said the clash was “the worst conclusion of a bad weekend for us”. 

“It is painful, very painful, to see both our cars back in the garage after just a couple of laps,” he added. 

“Incidents like this can always happen when you start in the middle of the pack and it’s pointless to apportion blame.

“However, now is not the time for accusations. Instead, we must just get on with our work. Difficult moments can bring out the best in people and I’m sure that will be the case now.”

Ferrari heads to next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix sitting fifth in the constructors’ championship after managing just 19 points from the opening two races. 

 

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