A crisis at Ferrari?

MCLS

Anti F1 fan
Valued Member
Once again there are negative signs coming out of Ferrari, I think this is now the 4th year in a row that Ferrari have had a poor pre season and it seems like once again that they'll be entering the first race of the season not in a condition to fight for the win (apart from 2010 but that was only because Vettel hit problems and then they fell away until mid season) So what on earth is going on at Ferrari that means they can't seem to create a car that has pace to compete with McLaren and Red Bull unless they are really sandbagging but I would be very surprised if this was the case.

Many people said that the 2011 car was too conservative which was the case and Ferrari have responded by going down an opposite route with a radical aggressive car featuring a completely different suspension system to most of the teams on the grid, but is this part of the problem? Have Ferrari gone too aggressive in designing their car and they are struggling to get the pace from it and how to figure out how to improve the car. McLaren had this problem last year and had to make a very hasty redesign for Melbourne which proved to be successful and Hamilton finished second in Melbourne. But this could be something Ferrari need to do quick or else they'll be left behind and I don't think Alonso will tolerate another season of fighting over 3rd/4th in the championship for much longer in a car that should be fighting at the top.

Are we seeing a legacy of all the constant hiring and firing at Maranello like what we saw after losing the title at the last race in Abu Dhabi when everyone thought that Alonso was nailed on for the title but encountered a stubborn Renault and Vettel ended up winning the title. As the say, continuity and stability can provide results (just look at Red Bull), and maybe the disjointed nature of all the new personnel has worked itself into the car which is being shown through the poor (for their standards) results since 2008, it's certainly an interesting question and something that might link back to a gradual decline since the departure of Todd, Byrne and Brawn?
 

Slyboogy

World Champion
Contributor
I have made this point a few times, Red Bull got the jump on everyone with the new rules since 2009, Brawn's (Mercedes) advantage was negated by the double diffuser ban, which has led to Red Bull being quite a bit ahead of the rest of the teams come every season.

There's no in-season testing (well there is now, but limited) the top teams have either had to go conservative or radical, Ferrari out of all the top teams since 2009 are the ones who have always been behind in every season, so that's going to effect them season after season.

Add to the fact that the team is in a sort of transition like Mercedes are (were, which ever you prefer), it's going to affect them.

Is Ferrari in a crisis? Well if they are, then so are McLaren, who like Ferrari have not done much since 2009, neither teams have competed for both of the championships properly since 2008, 2010 was a bit of a long shot, but the right team and driver won after all the problems.

Building a radical car is going to be harder to get used to rather than what McLaren and Red Bull have done, it might look bad now, but once they get used to it, it could pay dividends.

EDIT: Forgot to add, I don't really see Domenicalli as a true leader, in my opinion, I think they are missing Todt, who did things his way, rather than Montzemelo's way, you could add Brawn and Byrne, but I think Todt is the main key out of those three.
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
Continuity and stability are great if you've got the right people in post, otherwise what you can get is stagnation. I'm afraid I take the view that Costa in particular failed to produce the quality of designs that Ferrari could reasonably expect, and matters seemed to get worse as Rory Byrne became less and less involved.

An evolution of the 2011 car never looked likely to trouble Red Bull with comparative stability in regulations - particularly when the car had a specific tyre warmup problem that has afflicted Ferraris for some seasons now. They may (or may not) be struggling with the new car now, but it may also have more untapped potential yet to be discovered.

As for the specific issue of the front suspension, the learned opinion seems to be that it will hardly make any difference either way.
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
It appears that Fazzazz may be falling back into the Latin semi-chaos for which they were famous prior to the arrival of MS, Todt and Brawn. Hopefully that is not the case and they will mount a challenge right from the off this season.In any event, they DO have Alonso whom I feel confident will always bring them the maximum points possible from each race.
 

Kewee

Race Winner
Once again there are negative signs coming out of Ferrari, I think this is now the 4th year in a row that Ferrari have had a poor pre season and it seems like once again that they'll be entering the first race of the season not in a condition to fight for the win (apart from 2010 but that was only because Vettel hit problems and then they fell away until mid season) So what on earth is going on at Ferrari that means they can't seem to create a car that has pace to compete with McLaren and Red Bull unless they are really sandbagging but I would be very surprised if this was the case.

Many people said that the 2011 car was too conservative which was the case and Ferrari have responded by going down an opposite route with a radical aggressive car featuring a completely different suspension system to most of the teams on the grid, but is this part of the problem? Have Ferrari gone too aggressive in designing their car and they are struggling to get the pace from it and how to figure out how to improve the car. McLaren had this problem last year and had to make a very hasty redesign for Melbourne which proved to be successful and Hamilton finished second in Melbourne. But this could be something Ferrari need to do quick or else they'll be left behind and I don't think Alonso will tolerate another season of fighting over 3rd/4th in the championship for much longer in a car that should be fighting at the top.

Are we seeing a legacy of all the constant hiring and firing at Maranello like what we saw after losing the title at the last race in Abu Dhabi when everyone thought that Alonso was nailed on for the title but encountered a stubborn Renault and Vettel ended up winning the title. As the say, continuity and stability can provide results (just look at Red Bull), and maybe the disjointed nature of all the new personnel has worked itself into the car which is being shown through the poor (for their standards) results since 2008, it's certainly an interesting question and something that might link back to a gradual decline since the departure of Todd, Byrne and Brawn?
Ferrari, more so than the other leading teams is very much a work in progress, due to the fact theirs is a completely new car. From where I'm sitting I believe they're staring to develop a much better understanding of their new car. Massa was on top of the time sheets for a large part of testing yesterday and considering Alonso is almost always 3 to 4 tenths quicker than Felipe he may well have set a time that wouldn't have been bettered had he been driving. My bet is he will get down to the 1.21's today and will be competing for pole in a fortnight. Due to this car being so new, there's every reason to believe the gains they make as they continue their development program, are likely to be greater than the competition. Everyones given far to much heed to Pat Frys comment that he wasn't happy with where they were after the first test at Jerez. Of course he wasn't happy, why would he be until they developed a better understanding of their new car. My moneys on Alonso for the title this year regardless of how their season begins. I also think Button will have a great year. Nothing I've seen so far points to Red Bull being dominant, in fact I can see at least two other teams coming into the mix to challenge the big three.
It's interesting to read the impressions journalists try to create. Maybe its not even intentional. Yesterday at one point during testing Button was described as being only 9 tenths off the best time. At the end of testing the same journalist described Massa as being 4 tenths off the pace.
Laughable. Made it sound like Massa was struggling even though he was 5 tenths quicker than Jenson at the time.
 

Abnash24

Points Scorer
I think that Ferrari just have a completely screwed up approach when designing their cars, one year its too conservative next year its too radical for them too even comprehend, what is going on? Their just critics, you do make your car incomprehensible to everyone, including yourselves, just to shut some critics up. What they need is evolution of their cars, McLaren and Red Bull both currently have that going and they're gap to Ferrari has been growing since 2010. What Ferrari needs to do is settle down, stop firing and hiring people, get everything under control, focus, get to know the car and return to the early 2000's state. Sure they may lose maybe 1 or 2 seasons worth of wins and titles but F1 is about winning and making sure that your car is good today and tomorrow
 

Kewee

Race Winner
I think that Ferrari just have a completely screwed up approach when designing their cars, one year its too conservative next year its too radical for them too even comprehend, what is going on? Their just critics, you do make your car incomprehensible to everyone, including yourselves, just to shut some critics up. What they need is evolution of their cars, McLaren and Red Bull both currently have that going and they're gap to Ferrari has been growing since 2010. What Ferrari needs to do is settle down, stop firing and hiring people, get everything under control, focus, get to know the car and return to the early 2000's state. Sure they may lose maybe 1 or 2 seasons worth of wins and titles but F1 is about winning and making sure that your car is good today and tomorrow
Are you seriously suggesting Ferrari don't know how to win. Your last sentence appears to hint at that. You do realize that the last constructors championship that McLaren won was 1998-99 and they've only had the one drivers championship since then also. All teams go through barren periods as this proves. I wouldn't count Ferrari out this year and when the rules change to V6's they'll be in their element. A V6 is half a V12 after all, the very configuration that made Ferrari famous. Going back to this season, by the half way point of this year they just might be the team everyones trying to beat. :snigger:
 
I agree with all the OP, Ferrari seem to still be a little all at sea and haven't settled on a robust design philosophy yet. This year seems another stab in the dark to get back on track and like McLaren last year might have to redesign more radical aspects on the fly as it where

Don't think they had too much to lose by trying a new approach instead of evolving the 2011 car which was unlikely to catch up with RB car even with some luck wrt this years tyres from the italian tyre company

even though they thankfully abandonned the politically inspired mandate of hiring Italians only, they are still far from the approach that brought them success with Todt and his staff

There is a way out, target the next era when the new engine regs change things, start planning and building a stable team for then. In the meantime why not gamble with radical designs, at least Alonso should extract more than they would expect if they get it wrong as it appears they have done. The only problem is if they have got it so wrong that they slip behind Force India, Sauber or at an extreme Caterham
 

Kewee

Race Winner
I agree with all the OP, Ferrari seem to still be a little all at sea and haven't settled on a robust design philosophy yet. This year seems another stab in the dark to get back on track and like McLaren last year might have to redesign more radical aspects on the fly as it where

Don't think they had too much to lose by trying a new approach instead of evolving the 2011 car which was unlikely to catch up with RB car even with some luck wrt this years tyres from the italian tyre company

even though they thankfully abandonned the politically inspired mandate of hiring Italians only, they are still far from the approach that brought them success with Todt and his staff

There is a way out, target the next era when the new engine regs change things, start planning and building a stable team for then. In the meantime why not gamble with radical designs, at least Alonso should extract more than they would expect if they get it wrong as it appears they have done. The only problem is if they have got it so wrong that they slip behind Force India, Sauber or at an extreme Caterham
They can never return to their Todt days, no team can. They were times of unlimited spending and a period when they enjoyed an intimate relationship with Bridgestone which gave them a huge advantage.
I'm still totally bewildered why so many are righting them off before the season has even begun. Their times during this latter period of testing are very good. This is a new car, it's performance window will open up significantly as they learn more about its behavior. Quite normal for there to be a learning curve with a brand new car. If this turns into a season of two halves as is often the case, the second half of the year could belong to Ferrari.
 

Abnash24

Points Scorer
Are you seriously suggesting Ferrari don't know how to win. Your last sentence appears to hint at that. You do realize that the last constructors championship that McLaren won was 1998-99 and they've only had the one drivers championship since then also. All teams go through barren periods as this proves.
Sorry if i misled you, what i mean is that ferrari in the past couple of years aren't seemingly evolving their cars well and havent settled down. While yes McLaren have not won a WCC and barely any WDC recently, they have been consistently been at the top except the 1st half of 2009 and do look a lot more comfortable than ferrari at testing
 

Kewee

Race Winner
Sorry if i misled you, what i mean is that ferrari in the past couple of years aren't seemingly evolving their cars well and havent settled down. While yes McLaren have not won a WCC and barely any WDC recently, they have been consistently been at the top except the 1st half of 2009 and do look a lot more comfortable than ferrari at testing
Ferrari have had their problems which is why they decided not to continue to evolve last years car. Their biggest issue last year was failing to get heat into their tyres on short qualifying runs. They paid a heavy price for that all year. They've at least solved that issue with the new car. Everyones second guessing how competitive they'll be over race distance. I think they'll be fine and will improve significantly as the season progresses. It's way to soon to suggest they're not going to be in the fight, especially with Alonso's contribution.
 

MCLS

Anti F1 fan
Valued Member
Well there is only one way to find out how competitive the car really is, but surely you'd expect a team the size of Ferrari to be able to make a competitive car out of the box and have a good solid pre season?
 

Kewee

Race Winner
Well there is only one way to find out how competitive the car really is, but surely you'd expect a team the size of Ferrari to be able to make a competitive car out of the box and have a good solid pre season?
Your absolutely right, but even a good car straight out of the box requires a significant amount of on track development, which is precisely what Ferrari are doing in the lead up to Australia, and if you analyze their testing times over short and long runs they're making a fairly decent job of turning the 2012 into a very competitive car. :whistle: You have noticed their current times haven't you?
 

MCLS

Anti F1 fan
Valued Member
Indeed I have, it makes for interesting reading but I'd still like to see where they stack up in the grand scheme of things which is something we probably won't know until Melbourne, after all I think pretty much all of the teams (apart from Caterham) have been at the top at some point or another
 

Kewee

Race Winner
Indeed I have, it makes for interesting reading but I'd still like to see where they stack up in the grand scheme of things which is something we probably won't know until Melbourne, after all I think pretty much all of the teams (apart from Caterham) have been at the top at some point or another
The one thing I can't work out is Red Bull. A car with so many upgrades yet they've only done 15 laps and Vettels best time is over 1.3 sec's behind Alonso. You would assume they would need to get lots of track time testing all these new upgrades. Very odd. I really don't think they're sandbagging, in fact I'm starting to wonder if they've got some serious issues. Webber wasn't that quick yesterday either. :thinking:
 

Slyboogy

World Champion
Contributor
Sandbagging to the next level I presume, seems as if they have stole that title off of McLaren.
 

Viscount

Pole Sitter
Contributor
Considering that yesterday Ferrari banned their drivers from talking to the media for the rest of testing, I don't think all is well within the team.
 

tooncheese

Hans Heyer
Contributor
The one thing I can't work out is Red Bull. A car with so many upgrades yet they've only done 15 laps and Vettels best time is over 1.3 sec's behind Alonso. You would assume they would need to get lots of track time testing all these new upgrades. Very odd. I really don't think they're sandbagging, in fact I'm starting to wonder if they've got some serious issues. Webber wasn't that quick yesterday either. :thinking:
Vettel Broke the Front Wing, then the gearbox went faulty shortly beore they were going to send him back out. I wouldn't pay any attention to headline laptimes.
 
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