BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Sebastian Vettel says an immediate return to racing is exactly what Ferrari needed after the death of former chairman Sergio Marchionne this week.
On Wednesday it was confirmed Marchionne, who stepped down from his role last weekend due to ill health, had passed away aged 66. This week Ferrari has its hospitality flags draped at half-mast, with all team members wearing commemorative armbands. It has also placed a black stripe along the top of the cockpit.
The team had cancelled all its media commitments up until the end of Friday practice, where its drivers appeared in the Hungaroring TV pen. Vettel said the imminent challenge of the Hungarian Grand Prix, where he is looking to get his title challenge back on track after crashing out of the lead in Germany last week, was a much-needed distraction for the team.
"I think it is probably best to get in the car because everybody knows what to do, obviously it was not easy but I think today the work has been okay," Vettel said "Having a lot of work in front of you is probably the best thing to get your head away and focus on the job we have to do here.
"It is probably quite good to have a race straight away to get your head away and focus on the next thing to do."
Teammate Kimi Raikkonen said: "There's not really any difference. Obviously it's not the greatest of times for us, but that's how it is. For sure we'll try to do, as normal, our best, to get the best results that we can."
Marchionne, who was also the Chairman and CEO of FCA, had been running Ferrari since taking over from Luca di Montezemolo in 2014. He was instrumental in returning Ferrari to top level success in Formula One in recent years, appointing current team principal Maurizio Arrivabene in 2014 and overseeing a change in the structure of the team's technical department in 2016.
He was also a vocal and influential figure in F1 politics and was set to stay on at Ferrari after his planned FCA retirement next year. He was a key player in negotiations over F1's 2021 rule changes and had warned the sport against dumbing down its engine regulations. When new owners Liberty Media tabled its first engine regulation proposal in 2017, Marchionne threatened to walk away from the sport if they were not changed.