Vettel backs Ferrari boss Arrivabene: "He's a very strong leader"

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Sebastian Vettel has backed Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene and praised his leadership qualities following reports the Italian team was considering replacing him at the end of the season.

The collapse of the Scuderia's championship challenge due to engine problems in Japan and Malaysia led to changes within the Maranello outfit with company Chairman Sergio Marchionne claiming failures in ensuring the quality of parts had led to the power unit issues.

Speculation began that Arrivabene was to be held responsible for those shortcomings and that current Chief Technical Officer Mattia Binotto would be drafted in, claims Marchionne would later squash.

"I don't think we need to overhaul the team. Both Mattia and Maurizio have been involved in this process," he said. "Picking one or the other is a bit idiotic. They were both at the table when the operation was going on and technically I'm involved too, I was the chairman. But that's not going to solve the issue.

"We need to win, that's the more important thing. I don't think it's attributable to a single guy. Processes may not have helped and those things are being addressed."

Ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix, Vettel also threw his full support behind his team boss and declared him one of the figureheads of Ferrari's recent turnaround.

"Absolutely," he said when asked if he had confidence in Arrivabene. "Look at the results. Look at where Ferrari was after 2014, how competitive Ferrari was in 2014 and the, I'm sorry to say, miserable shape it was [in].

"The spirit was down, I think he's the key person responsible for bringing most of that back, and to make the team grow, to open things up, to change things that have been set like that for, I don't know, 20 years before that, just because they used to be like that.

"I think he has a very innovative and creative way of thinking, so I think he's the right man. He's a very strong leader, he's well respected, I know he's well respected by all the people, no matter which level of the company, so absolutely I'm a fan."

Though the once very real aspirations of Vettel adding a fifth title and Ferrari claiming their first since 2007 have faded, with Mercedes already Constructors' Champions and Lewis Hamilton nine points away from securing the Drivers' crown, the German remains adamant his team is on their way to recapturing past glories.

"If you look at the results, it's coming," he said. "Obviously this year I would like it to be a bit different, especially towards the end, but these things happen.

"We're still growing, and we set ourselves the target at the very beginning, to grow and to do something new, something different – we're still on that journey. Expectation is always high; if you finish second in the championship, the year after you want to win, and you don't manage [to do it]...

"But I think where we've gone from 2015 to 2016, especially through 2016 and then for 2017, things are heading the right way."