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Ferrari delayed work on its 2016 F1 car for 2015 push

Ferrari delayed work on its 2016 Formula 1 car to allow it to fully develop the race-winning SF15-T last season

The Italian team bounced back from a winless 2014 campaign to emerge as Mercedes' closest challenger and finish second in the constructors' championship, with Sebastian Vettel taking three wins.

Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne is confident the delay will not have an impact on it providing a stern challenge to world champion team Mercedes next term.

"Maurizio [Arrivabene, team principal] will tell you we delayed some things to allow for the 2015 car to be finished," said Marchionne.

"Hopefully he will not bitch about this. We pushed the start of some of the work on the '16 cars on the chassis, delayed it a bit.

"But we have had adequate time and adequate financial resources to do the right thing given the rules.

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"So I'm confident we will give Mercedes a run for their money.

"We approached the 16 car with a very clear idea and very clear interpretation.

"It is incredibly unlikely that the car will not offer Mercedes a proper challenge.

"For me to determine whether it will win or not would be very gutsy.

"I have no excuses to give you this year, in the sense that we started developing the car at the proper time."

Mercedes won 16 of the 19 races in 2015 as it won the constructors' championship with four races to spare, while Hamilton defended his title with three races left.

Marchionne concedes Mercedes is still a team to be "afraid of" but he believes the outfit has developed a greater respect for Ferrari following its challenge in 2015.

"They are competitors to be afraid of because Mercedes is a company which the suitable financial resources to properly manage the races of 2016," he said.

"They have a high level of know-how so they are not to be underestimated.

"They made huge progress in 2015, so I'm certain their car will be enormously improved for 2016.

"We respect them, they are competitors, but we are not afraid of the battle on the race track.

"I remember at the start with [Mercedes boss Dieter] Zetsche, in spite the fact we are friends, he had a bit of arrogance about Ferrari.

"They lost a bit of that but not too much because they won the championship.

"If you talk to him now, I think he now respects Ferrari a little bit more

"The only way to get respect is to gain it on the track with results."

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