Is history repeating itself in Maranello?

F1 Shift.net

Points Scorer
Ferrari has not won a championship of any kind since 2008, when Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa secured the constructor’s title and nearly the driver’s title in a rain soaked Brazilian Grand Prix. Now, Raikkonen is gone from Ferrari, moving from F1 to WRC to NASCAR Trucks and back into F1 with his #1 seat being replaced by a current great, Fernando Alonso. While 2008 was only 5 seasons ago, to the Tifosi and Ferrari staff, this is a lifetime. But fear not Ferrari backers, history has an eery way of repeating itself.

Turn back the page to 1996. Ferrari has not won a championship of any kind since 1983 when Patrick Tambay and Rene Arnoux grabbed the Constructor’s Title (Nelson Piquet won the Driver’s at Brabham). You would have to go all the way back to 1979 to find the last Ferrari Driver’s Champion with Jody Scheckter. So it’s 1996, and a two-time World Champion, 27-year-old Michael Schumacher, joins the team. With handpicked technical directors and designers Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne, all flourish under the leadership of Jean Todt. Todt, who had been with Ferrari since 1993, essentially gives Schumacher free reign to build his team. Ferrari, although with a competitive car in that period, had to wait until 1999, 3 long seasons, to win a single championship (Constructor’s) while they chased the Adrian Newey designed McLarens. Then in 2000, it all clicked. Ferrari was dominant. Unstoppable. Michael Schumacher could not lose, and when he did, it was to teammate and perennial whipping boy, Rubens Barrichello.

Flip forward to 2010. The early 2000s are over, the team is dismantled and although they recently won the 2007 Driver’s Title and 2008 Constructor’s Title, there is something off in Maranello. Another two-time World Champion, 29-year-old Fernando Alonso, joins The Scuderia. For three seasons Fernando has a fairly competitive car and with just pure will and skill is able to challenge for, although never secure, a World Championship for Ferrari. Now into his 4th season with the team, the F138 car looks great, like a real title contender, but again find themselves chasing another Newey-penned car, this time at Red Bull Racing. Fernando, however, is a title favorite by many experts and with good results from his teammate, replacement whipping boy Felipe Massa, the team could sneak in the Driver’s and/or Constructor’s Titles, setting themselves up for another dominant run with the new 2014 engine regulations.

Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari’s team principal, has failed to deliver under his reign and could very easily be out after season’s end, especially if another let down occurs for the Italian marque. Strange strategy calls from the pit wall have become common place, and this was again on display at the Malaysian Grand Prix after Fernando Alonso broke his front wing and the team elected for him to stay out, with this call quickly back firing, putting Alonso out of the race. (Do I even need to remind any of the Tifosi of the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix pit strategy call?) So if Domenicali, who’s been in the hot seat for some time, is ousted, who is his replacement? Well, a very familiar face to the Ferrari garage, Ross Brawn, who is supposedly out from his team principal role at Mercedes at season’s end to make room for the incoming Paddy Lowe.

Ferrari has the new Schumacher, the new Rubens and could again have Brawn. What are they missing? Oh yeah, the guy who is already designing their 2014 challenger, Rory Byrne. Sound familiar? It won’t take much to reunite the super team.
 

rufus_mcdufus

Champion Elect
Good article! Not totally beyond the realms of possibility. I think Merc would be mad to get rid of Brawn, even though the team is yet to deliver the goods.
I always felt Ferrari's key reason for success in their winning years (in addition to having a clear #1 & #2 driver policy of course) was their reliability. The early 2000s stank in terms of reliability with high-revving short-lifespan engines not exactly adding to the spectacle. It always rankled with me that Ferrari were able to capitalise on that because watching a team win every race because their car was not failing didn't make for good viewing. The amount of time the (ironically) Newey-designed McLarens would shoot off into the distance, only to be found a smoking wreck by the side of the road really used to irritate me. Maybe I'm still just a bitter McLaren fan.
 

KekeTheKing

Banned
Supporter
"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." (Shout-out to Mark Twain for that one)

I'm not convinced that Ferrari is primed for a major resurgence. Alonso had an absolute dream season last year with unmatched reliability. He was playing with house money the whole time and he never missed an opportunity to say what a miracle it was that he was even fighting for the championship. This year is gonna be a different story. Massa looks to be back on 2008 form, and will undoubtedly prove to be more of an impediment for Nando this season. Alonso is likely to encounter some (any) reliability issues this year, as he hasn't had a mechanical failure since Malaysia 2010, a run of 57 races which the odds say is likely to end soon.

I see a 1985 redux for Ferrari.

Wishful thinking? :shocked:
 

Fenderman

Rooters Reporter
With the ever vigilant FIA now closing loopholes almost as quickly as they appear :)whistle:) , one wonders if one constructor will remain dominant, or re-emerge to dominate, for very long. The top teams are so closely matched these days that, apart from McLaren and the backmarkers, I'm not sure any of them have got more than a second's worth of development left in this year's cars. It's going to be down to team strategy, driver skill, those bloomin' dodgy boots and the weather. Thank the stars we still have those variables.

History repeating itself is a bit like the concept of the Wheel of Fortune or fate. So, yes Ferrari has as good a chance as any to make a come back. However, Williams has been in the doldrums for what seems like and age and Mercedes has been creeping back having been out of it for decades. Ih and Lotus is coming back even if in name only. If history is to repeat itself, whose comeback will it be with the rule changes from 2014 onwards?

Having said all that has the Scuderia repeated its all time lows yet?
 

F1 Shift.net

Points Scorer
"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." (Shout-out to Mark Twain for that one)

I'm not convinced that Ferrari is primed for a major resurgence. Alonso had an absolute dream season last year with unmatched reliability. He was playing with house money the whole time and he never missed an opportunity to say what a miracle it was that he was even fighting for the championship. This year is gonna be a different story. Massa looks to be back on 2008 form, and will undoubtedly prove to be more of an impediment for Nando this season. Alonso is likely to encounter some (any) reliability issues this year, as he hasn't had a mechanical failure since Malaysia 2010, a run of 57 races which the odds say is likely to end soon.

I see a 1985 redux for Ferrari.

Wishful thinking? :shocked:

I'm not sure history will actually repeat itself, but the similarities between when Schumacher joined the team and Alonso joined the team are pretty interesting. Both 2 time champs, both chasing Newey cars, both in their 4th season before a championship is won (if Ferrari can claim either title this year), both joined the team in their late 20s, and both could be under the same staffs. As Ferrari/Alonso fan, I would love to see it happen, but like what Fenderman said, the chances of a team staying dominant for very long in today's F1 seems slim. Most of all though, I just don't want to see that team that sells cans on top again.
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
I am not sure Ross BRawn would return to Ferrari... because he took a sabbatical back after 2006 before coming back into F1 to join Honda

He knew Luca was slowly wanting to replace Schumacher with Kimi and wanted control back. It seems that Luca did not like the way Todt was running Ferrari as more of an international team rather than having more Italians in key positions

Ross knew then he was not going to be promoted to team principal as well with Todt backing him

I knew Ferrari have got ROry Byrne back to help but I don;t think Ross likes reporting to Luca

I will not repeat myself again about Ferrari's dominance is down to a lot of factors that made it so
 

Mephistopheles

Banned
Contributor
All the long term top team ebb and flow rise and slump it is the nature of things Ferrari's last slump IMO was because they held on to the V12 engine for too long (Even if it did sound awesome.) when everyone else were running and developing V10's.

A good article and enjoyable read..
 

Mezzer

A fine chap if ever there was one.
Contributor
My opinion on Ferrari is that whenever they've run as an Italian closed shop they've produced pretty, fast, yet often fragile cars, which can win or break in either measure. Part of my feelings on their success in the Schu era (notwithstanding the blatant special treatment) was their diversification and focus on talent rather than nationality, starting first with Todt. Again IMO, they appear to have stepped back a bit from that and things haven't gone as well as perhaps they could. :thinking:
 

rufus_mcdufus

Champion Elect
I seem to remember two or three years ago that Ferrari were said to be making their team more 'Italian' again, and thought at the time that might not be such a good move (no disrepect to Italians but it seems silly to reduce the available talent pool just because of nationality).
 

Andrea_Moda_Rules

Podium Finisher
Il_leone

That's interesting, I'm pretty sure I remember Brawn being touted by the media as an absolute certainty for the Jean Todt role after Brawns sabbatical.In fact after reading the end of F1 Shifts post, that would make perfect sense to me if the position came up and Brawn was dropped my Mercedes.

Who knows what is going to happen, It could easily be another 21 years from 2008 till Ferrari wins there next title. Now where did I eave my crystal ball? These things, I feel, tend to go through cycles, whatever factors come into play, Staff changes, Rules changes, Engine supplies and It all affects how attractive the team looks to other people and can extend or shorten a period of success or failure.

McLaren dominated the 80's, looked invincible at one point. it took them 8 years 3 engine suppliers and 6 different drivers until they won the Drivers title again in 98. They still only won the constructors once in the 22 years since 1991.
You could use Benetton/and Renault 95 to 05, and Brabham 67 to 81 as examples of the cycles too, albeit with ownership changes within the team.
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
Andrea_Moda_Rules

With Todt stepping down you would have thought Brawn was a candidate for the team principal job but Luca gave it to Domenicali who reports to him . Even though Luca hired Todt.. I think the successes Todt had with Schumacher meant he was probably gaining more political favouritism at Maranello than Luca and all the political warfare was kept under wraps

It took Schumacher 5 years before he landed the title at Ferrari ... I am sure there would have been some recriminations if Schumacher failed to deliver the title in 2000 given they had been close 1997, 1998, 1999 for Todt and BRawn

The period of domination is Ferrari's most successful and it is no secret it is partly down to doing things "Not the Italian way"
 

Mansell4Ever

Test Driver
Personally I don't see much repetition. The only thing is Alonso is a two-times world champions and reached the year when Schumacher finnaly won. 20 years without winning is not the same as 5. One one hand Ferrari were not completely desperate when they hired Alonso, on the other hand they had hired and lost before with talented drivers like Porst or Mansell behind the wheel when they went for Schumi. Kimi won and Massa came close in 2008 just two years before hiring Alonso. In 1996, when they brough Schumi in I think the last shot they had at the title had been 1990 when Prost came second by a very large margin, and before that God only knows, 1985 with Alboreto? If you think he ever had a chance.

This supposed repetition is basically a comparison between the two where Alonso can draw at best. But even that would be too simplistic.

Yet it reminded me of Marx (not Groucho) saying that History repeats itself first as Tragedy...then as Farce.
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
now I think people need to look at where Ferrari seriously went wrong and waited 20 years for the title

1980 - the car was absolute dog
1981 - same as 1980 but Villeneuve still scored two brilliant wins
1982 - they had the best car but Pironi's double cross led to the demise of Villeneuve. Then Pironi was comfortably leading until his accident

1983 - the team won the constructors title and Arnoux fought until the last race to be in with a shout

1984 - 1 win but not a match for Mclarens

1985 - Alboreto lead but a disastrous run of 5 dnfs cost him the championship

1986-1988 not a match for HOnda powered turbo cars despite high expectations

1989 - Best of the rest but poor reliability let the team down

1990 - One reason - Senna

1991 - the infighting got to Prost

1992-1993 - transition

1994-1995 Using V12 Ferrari powerful but not as consistent but should have won more races

1996- transitional year
1997- 1998 - Schumacher was close every time but bottled it . I wonder how many would forgive Schumacher for what he did in 1997 if he did not finally deliver in 2000

1999 - they could have won it but they did not want to back the No 2 driver

So really Ferrari went through a bad patch in early 80s and had the car but could not quite deliver

their real bad period it has to be said was from 1984 to 1988 were their turbos was not as good as Honda's

Then the death of Enzo and the political infighting at Ferrari was more prominent that not even Prost could save them
 
Top Bottom