Ferrari can fight for the 2016 Formula 1 titles - Maurizio Arrivabene

By Andrew Benson & James AllenChief F1 writer & 5 live correspondent
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel has won three races for Ferrari this year
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Ferrari believe they can take the step forward necessary to fight Mercedes for next year's world championship, team boss Maurizio Arrivabene says.

The Italian team have bounced back from their worst season in two decades in 2014 to win three races this year.

Arrivabene said: "We are happy with this year but we need to keep our feet on the ground looking at the results.

"We want to be competitive next year and that means being able to fight hopefully head to head with Mercedes."

Kimi Raikkonen in action for Ferrari in 2008
Ferrari's last constructors' world championship came in 2008

Arrivabene was drafted in for this season following the sacking of the last team principal Marco Mattiacci after only seven months in charge.

Mattiacci himself had replaced the previous incumbent Stefano Domenicali, who resigned when it became clear just how far off the pace Ferrari had fallen in the early races of 2014.

The turnaround is largely due to a significant step forward in performance from the engine, which is now virtually a match for Mercedes after struggling last year.

But Ferrari's chassis is still some way off the best in F1.

Arrivabene - speaking in an exclusive interview with BBC Sport - praised the role played by new signing Sebastian Vettel, who replaced Fernando Alonso this season after the Spaniard left because he had lost faith Ferrari would be able to give him a title-winning car before the end of 2016.

Ferrari graphic

Arrivabene said the key to Ferrari's progress was working together as a team, rather than as separate departments.

"Sebastian has the enthusiasm," he said. "With the results he was able to get together with the team he had even more a kind of commitment.

"Then in my role I need to make the right balance, not only in between the drivers, but also in between the team because all the components of the team are doing their job.

"We need to prevent the creation of any kind of silos and we must be focused on what we are doing and on working together. Of course the driver is the main actor of the show but when the driver has a good car and can extrapolate the best then the whole orchestra sounds good."

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Arrivabene said the reasons behind retaining Kimi Raikkonen for 2016 despite a lacklustre season were to do with not upsetting the balance within the team.

"First, he is the last world champion of Ferrari," Arrivabene said, making a reference to the Finn's title in his first period with the team in 2007. "Then, when the team is quite new, you need to keep the stability.

"A new driver who comes in like a rocket in a completely new situation needs to adapt and we have no time for adaptation, we have to be focused on what we are doing without distraction."

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