HOCKENHEIM, Germany (Reuters) - Four-times champion Sebastian Vettel feels the sudden departure of technical director James Allison will not have a major impact on his Ferrari team in the immediate future.
“Obviously there will be a difference but in the short term it doesn’t change that much,” Vettel told reporters at the Hockenheim circuit on Thursday.
Ferrari announced Allison’s departure on Wednesday, saying the Maranello-based squad and the Briton had mutually agreed to part ways, in a move that could deal a big blow to its title ambitions.
The highly regarded Allison was seen as the man to spearhead a turnaround in the fortunes of the sport’s most successful team.
His departure leaves Ferrari lacking crucial technical leadership, especially with Formula One set for sweeping rule changes next year.
But Vettel threw his weight behind chairman and chief executive Sergio Marchionne and team principal Maurizio Arrivabene when quizzed about their Formula One expertise.
He also expressed confidence in Mattia Binotto, the team’s new chief technical officer who has been with Ferrari since 1995.
“I think we have the right people on board,” Vettel said. “Obviously it’s a big change now which doesn’t impact on tomorrow’s work but obviously for the future, no doubt about it, but I think things are headed in the right direction.”
Vettel’s team mate Kimi Raikkonen refused to be drawn on Allison’s departure.
“I’m here as a driver and to be honest I don’t want to get involved,” said the former champion, who also worked with the 48-year-old during his stint with Lotus.
“Obviously I have a lot of respect for him and also that’s the reason why I don’t want to get involved with the whole thing. That’s about it.”
Ferrari returned to the top of the podium with three wins last year after enduring their first season without a victory in over two decades in 2014.
But the team has struggled to match that form this year. They are second in the standings, without a win, and in danger of being overhauled by rivals Red Bull, who are one point behind.
Editing by Ken Ferris