Brawn feels for Ferrari amid title 'nightmare'
Formula 1 sporting boss and ex-Ferrari technical chief Ross Brawn says he has sympathy for Ferrari as it comes away from a "nightmare" period that has derailed its 2017 title hopes.
Ferrari's world championship hopes appear to be over after a disastrous run of three races where accidents and reliability gremlins have allowed Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes to capitalise on Ferrari's misfortune in Singapore, Malaysia and Japan to close in on the drivers' and constructors' titles.
In Singapore, Sebastian Vettel got involved in a startline crash that helped put him out on the first lap, before he suffered an engine problem in qualifying in Malaysia and then a spark plug failure in the Japanese GP, leaving him 59 points behind Hamilton.
Brawn, who was one of the architects of Ferrari's dominance during the Michael Schumacher era, believes now is the time for it to remain calm rather than engage in a push to find scapegoats for what has gone wrong.
"This Asian leg of the season has been a real nightmare for Ferrari," he said in an official F1 newsletter issued on Monday.
"Having experienced reliability woe of this kind at first hand with various teams, I know how painful it can be to see the hard work of so many people undone in a moment.
"I have some sympathy for Ferrari at this difficult time. The team comes under incredible pressure, especially at home, and it's easy for heads to drop.
"But the key is to stay calm and focus on immediate goals."
Brawn believes that even if Ferrari fails in its championship ambitions, it should still feel hugely encouraged by how it as performed this year, as it is the first time that Mercedes has been put under proper pressure for the championship since it became F1's dominant force in 2014.
"However the season ends, Ferrari should be pleased with what it's achieved in 2017," added Brawn.
"For the first time in the hybrid era, Mercedes has come up against a rival capable of fighting for the title.
"It's been a long time since Ferrari have been as competitive and the problems of recent weeks haven't erased that fact."