In the wake of the appeal court decision to confirm the findings of FIA’s Charlie Whiting and the stewards in Melbourne and Sepang that the double decker diffusers are legal, Ferrari team principal Stafano Domenicali has sent an email to every member of staff at the Gestione Sportiva, Ferrari’s race team. The message urges them to react to this latest set back in their toughest start to a season since 1992 “with pride”.
“This decision confirms the legality of solutions which we believe violate the spirit and the principles of the plans to reduce downforce. I know that we can count on your professionalism and your pride, let’s give everything, as usual.”
This Henry V style invocation to go ‘once more into the breach, dear friends”, shows Stefano leading and inspiring his troops, who must be feeling demoralised after scoring no points in the first two races and making such a hash of key racing decisions. Already Luca Baldisserri has lost his role as team manager and head of track operations, replaced by Chris Dyer.
Ferrari, like the other seven teams without DD diffusers, are now flat out on production to bring the new pieces to the car. Like many teams they will effectively have a B spec car in Barcelona at a cost of approximately £5 million, which was not in the original budget. In Ferrari’s case this is probably under 5% of the budget, but for most teams it is between 6 and 8% of budget overspend.
I was surprised to see quotes from Red Bull saying that Adrian Newey is skipping Shanghai to work on a new diffuser, as they have had one in development since three weeks before the Australian GP. But their car is the one which has the hardest job accommodating the diffuser concept.
Returning to the Ferrari email, the tone is in marked contrast to the tone of the official statement Domenicali made on Wednesday:
“We are waiting for the reasons the ICA rejected the appeal. Unfortunately this decision forces us to intervene on fundamental areas of the car’s design in order to to be able to compete on an equal footing with some of the teams from a point of view of the technical regulations and that will take time and money.”
We are still waiting for the ICA’s reasons, but I have a feeling we may be waiting until after Ron Dennis has made whatever announcement he’s planning to make today, to avoid a major news clash.