Ross Brawn feels for Ferrari amid Formula One title 'nightmare'

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Formula One managing director and ex-Ferrari technical chief Ross Brawn says he understands the team's pain after a "nightmare" period that has all-but ended its 2017 championship hopes.

The Scuderia has endured a disastrous run over the past three flyaway races, scoring just 22 points since its home grand prix in Italy. Ferrari is realistically out of contention for the constructors' championship -- which Mercedes could wrap up as early as the United States Grand Prix -- while Sebastian Vettel's title hopes have also derailed.

Vettel led the championship by seven points just six weeks ago in Belgium, but a collision at the start in Singapore involving teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull's Max Verstappen, coupled with engine trouble in Malaysia and a spark plug failure in Japan, has left him trailing Lewis Hamilton by 59 points.

Brawn, who helped mastermind Ferrari's dominance during the Michael Schumacher era, believes now is the time for the Italian outfit to regroup and remain calm heading into the final four rounds of the season.

"This Asian leg of the season has been a real nightmare for Ferrari," Brawn said in an official F1 media release. "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."

Ferrari has enjoyed a resurgence in the sport in 2017, recording four race wins and becoming the first team to seriously challenge Mercedes in the championship since F1's switch to V6 hybrid engines in 2014. Brawn reckons Ferrari should still feel satisfied by its achievements this year, even if it fails to win a championship.

"However the season ends, Ferrari should be pleased with what it's achieved in 2017. 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."