GIVE THEM TIME: Ferrari needs more time to be competitive again, says F1 legend Gerhard Berger. Image: AP / Luca Bruno
London - Formula 1 legend Gerhard Berger says Ferrari needs "time" to recapture its glory days.
The Italian press is currently characterising Ferrari as being in 'crisis', having failed to capitalise on its progress and being out-performed in recent races by Red Bull.
Technical director James Allison is said to be departing, Ross Brawn has denied rumours he will replace him and Red Bull's Christian Horner is predicting Sebastian Vettel will soon lose patience and switch to Mercedes.
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Time is needed
But Berger, who drove for the Maranello marque during two separate tenures in the 1980s and 1990s, told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera: "Ferrari is always in my heart. I spent the best years in Italy.
"They (Ferrari) need time.
"Last year was better than expected, but it made expectations grow too much. Everyone expected a comeback and instead the gap is even bigger," Berger added.
READ: Ferrari - We won't give up on 2016 championship challenge
Asked if Ferrari needs yet another transition year, he answered: "Arrivabene and his boys need to be left to work.
"Probably in 2017 they will be able to fight on par with Mercedes, but it will not happen in the next three or four races. The closer you get to the summit, the harder the climb becomes," he added.
Protection from politics
Earlier this month, Ferrari's former technical chief Ross Brawn said the great strength of the Michael Schumacher era was that president Luca di Montezemolo successfully shielded the team from the typical Ferrari turmoil.
When asked about Ferrari's current 'crisis', the now-departed Montezemolo told Tuttosport: "For people like me who deeply love Ferrari and spent the most important years there, sometimes the best way to demonstrate that love is to keep quiet.
"I have proposed for some time not to talk about F1, but I'll be very happy to do it again later, given the passion that I have."