Symonds: China strategy proves Ferrari only backing Vettel

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Former Renault and Williams technical director Pat Symonds believes the strategy Ferrari used in China was proof their only focus is on Sebastian Vettel becoming champion.

The German would lose the lead to Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas during the pit-stop phase during the race in Shanghai with the Scuderia opting to effectively ruin teammate Kimi Raikkonen's race by leaving him out on used tyres to try and hold up his fellow countryman.

It proved ineffective, as Bottas passed around the outside at Turn 1, and though Raikkonen was later advantaged by the fresher tyres after the Safety Car, that couldn't have been known when the decision was made to use him as an attempted roadblock.

“I think they need to decide how they’re going to go racing,” Symonds was quoted by PlanetF1.

“The way they used Raikkonen in China was unfortunate – leaving him out for so long and trying to slow down other cars. And to be honest, it didn’t really work.

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“I don’t think that’s the way to get a Constructors’ Championship," the current technical director at the Formula One Group added.

“They obviously feel that the Drivers’ Championship is more important, and they’ve made their decision as to where that will go (ie. Vettel).”

Symonds also commented on the recent difficulties at Mercedes, which has seen the recent dominant force in F1 fail to win any of the first three races.

Problems optimising the tyres are believed to be the main reason but the Briton rightly points out that is not a new dilemma for the team.

“If you look back at the recent history of Mercedes, one thing that they've never quite got on top of is tyre management,” he said Symonds via Motorsport Week.

“We saw it a lot in the pre-hybrid era when they didn't have the engine advantage they enjoy now.

“Then, if they didn't get their tyre quite right, they didn't have great races. I think things were masked from 2014 to 2016, simply because they had this big power advantage."