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What Ferrari's reshuffle will mean
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What Ferrari's reshuffle will mean
Posted By:   |  14 Apr 2009   |  7:39 am GMT  |  0 comments

Ferrari F1 team boss Stefano Domenicali said after Malaysia that its worst start to a championship since 1992 was ‘not acceptable’ and now we have the repercussions.

The senior management has been restructured and the key move features Luca Baldisserri, who took over the track operations and strategic part of Ross Brawn’s role, when Ross left the team at the end of 2006. He loses that responsibility to Chris Dyer, formerly Michael Schumacher’s race engineer.

Baldisseri meanwhile moves to a factory-based role in a new ‘working party’, headed by technical chief Aldo Costa, which has been established to improve the link between design, production and track operation. It should speed up the development programme and make sure that developments coming out of the factory have the desired effect when put on the track.

This is especially important this season as track testing is banned, so teams have to be even more sure they are on the right path with each development programme. Results will come only from the virtual world of wind-tunnels and CFD computers, without the tick in the box of a successful track test before a new part goes to a Grand Prix. Teams cannot afford to bring parts to race weekends which do not add the expected performance.

This ‘working party’ will also be critical if the appeal court decision on diffusers goes against Ferrari and the other protesting teams today, as it will launch a mad rush to production.

Ferrari has two problems; the car is the first, it is neither 100% reliable nor fast enough. It does not produce enough downforce.

The other big problem is that they have made some big mistakes at trackside, with strategy and tactics. In Australia they went the wrong way on tyre choice at the start of the race and then compounded that error by switching Massa onto the wrong strategy. In Sepang they sent Kimi Raikkonen out on full wet tyres on a dry track.

Those big calls will be Dyer’s from now on.

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  1. Colin S says:

    Big responsibility for Dyer. Is Ferrari hoping that a non Italian will bring back some of the magic of the Dream Team?

    I think it’s a mistake to start down the road of blame culture. they would be better of keeping things as they were and learning from the mistakes, not moving around those who learned the lessons.

  2. mfelat says:

    These big mistakes that Ferrari did in the last two races were unacceptable and I think the decision makers had to pay the price. It is just not about a wrong strategy call, it is also about Ferrari’s image. Think about a team which has 16 constructor championships lapping with extreme wet tires in bone dry conditions. Whatever you think, it’s just ridiculous.

  3. Fastmikey says:

    I disagree its a mistake to shuffle. Ferrari’s strategy calls have been suspect over the last few seasons – sooner or later you realise that with the same set of varibles you get the same results.

    Strategy used to be the strong suit under Brawn and I hope that Chris Dyer has the big set for the big calls!

  4. Geoff says:

    As long as there is still someone there to tell Felipe baby to keep cool it should be ok.

  5. I’ve read some press coverage which has pointed the finger at Michael Schumacher making the strategy calls during the Malaysian Grand Prix.

    Does anyone know if there is any weight behind these reports?

  6. Broer Sammy says:

    I though this is the right move to replace Stefano Domenicali, remember the mistake he made on 2008, and hold Massa in 1st qualification in Sepang?

  7. alistairblevins says:

    Does anyone know if there is any weight behind the stories that Michael Schumacher was responsible for some of the strategic calls made by Ferrari at the Malaysian Grand Prix?

  8. Alex says:

    James, have you not got any info on this Button vs Branson incident. Is this true or just tabloid nonsense?

  9. Peter says:

    Will this solve their strategic troubles? Is a race engineer able to calculate all the strategy options and run the race team from technical point of view at the same time? I think they would need to hire a real strategy specialist, a scientist who can simply calculate all kind of possible scenario with given data. I think they have lost more point on strategy than technical side in 2008.

  10. Nash says:

    James,
    what is your opinion on Gerhard Berger at the helm of Ferrari? Would he want to do it in the first place? He did a great job with STR.

  11. History shows that F1 has only ever had 1-3 top teams in any given year, and sadly for Ferrari and McLaren this year there just not amongst them.

  12. Luke Robbins says:

    What exactly is Schumacher’s role in the team? He’s a clever guy, who knows exactly what it’s like out there on the track and what is needed to get results.

    I personally think they should give him a bit more responsibility, especially in terms of strategy calls. It is well documented that when he worked with Brawn they made the calls together, which leads me to suspect that he was probably pretty good at it.

  13. Obvious... says:

    WHO CARES ABOUT FERRARI… NEXT PLEASE!!!!!

  14. Umer H says:

    Its clear that lessons haven’t been learnt. Poor strategy for the past 2 years has been covered up for by an amazing car. Now everyone is on a par; strategy is king – and whoever is making the decisions is making the wrong one.

    Unless they have some kind of charismatic driver/leader like Schumacher to rally around I don’t see Ferrari building another dream team.

  15. Uppili says:

    Obviously i am speculating now, but is it possible that Luca Baldiserri was the person who chose to put wet weather tyres to Kimi’s car in Sepang? I find it hard to believe that Ferrari will graciously pardon whoever made such a disastrous call. Everyone from Felipe to Kimi to Stefano said they knew who made the call on Kimi’s tyres but wont say who…..

  16. Michel says:

    Ferrari supposedly already has a double-diffuser ready for this Sunday, though I suppose its design would be suboptimal right now.

  17. Arnet says:

    If I recall correctly, it was Luca Di who decided a couple of years ago that the post-Schumi era would mark a return to an “Italian” Ferrari. I think we’re seeing that history repeats itself.

  18. john g says:

    ferrari had a reshuffle not that long ago, i’m sure i remember reading at the time that one of the HR guys(!) was taking a head position – could that have been baldiserri?

  19. Uppili says:

    @John g

    That i think was Mario Almondo

  20. AMS says:

    Well Done Dyer!

    I recall a conversation I had with a friend of mine back in 1992 … when I asked my friend, a reputable F1 journalist in my country of origin, how can Ferrari challenge the title again… and my friend suggested that it will only happen when Ferrari will “think” like a British team.

    I asked him, what does he mean by that and he replied: “To be led by a non-Italian, thus to “think” like a British team”.

    So, here we go now… Ferrari had Todt but he left. Then he put Baldisserri in charge. They won three titles but without dominating. In fact McLaren lost those titles… Now it is up to Chris Dyer. Again Ferrari have a Briton in the lead… Brawn, Williams… be afraid!

  21. M__E says:

    Few things….

    I mentioned in another ‘post’? james about the fact I questioned whether Ferrari’s strategical decisions were made by Baldeseremmi….i by phone away from trackside back at ‘base’ although Id like to be right, I almost cant believe that it was actually the case! – with him being removed from that position – but like I said before, the rate Ferrari made their in race decisions was about equal to the length and confusion of a phonecall/video conference….Or was he at the track afterall?

    2) do drivers not choose their own tyres in races? if not this seems kinda ludicrus to me!…afterall they are driving and know the best tyres for that moment/future?

    3) As for banning testing and going solely on Virtual data in Windtunnels? – well I have one arguement for that ..HONDA! – Bad data in bad data out (rolleyes)

    It was Honda that made that FU with the wind tunnel calibration wasn’t it ;-)

  22. Dr.J says:

    Now it is up to Chris Dyer. Again Ferrari have a Briton in the lead… Brawn, Williams… be afraid!

    Nice theory, except that Dyer is Australian.

  23. Jojo says:

    Learn from mistakes? how much time do they need to learn? Eventhough they’ve 2007, they still made a lot of terrible mistkes..and the same for 2008. They were lucky McLaren were also making mistakes.

  24. James Allen says:

    He’s a consultant and he has his say, but I think his role today is sometimes overstated in the media. He has helped Massa a lot with his approach and discipline, Raikkonen does not listen to him. He’s there to wear the shirt and be a symbol and reminder of Ferrari success as much as anything else.

  25. James Allen says:

    Unlikely, I think Nash. Domenicali is the right man for the job and he has the confidence of Montezemolo at the moment. I don’t think Gerhard would be able to come in and do a better job. However if Martin Whitmarsh were to leave his role at McLaren after the FIA hearing on the 29th, it would be interesting to see who they went for.

  26. James Allen says:

    They have plenty of those already. Have a look at the race strategy feature elsewhere on this site.

  27. James Allen says:

    No insights, I’m afraid. It’s a classic News of the World-type tale and there’s always room for this kind of story in F1, even if I don’t go in for it here!

  28. Lephturn says:

    I’m sure all the big teams will have new-type diffusers ready to go on the cars. However; the advantage will still be much greater for those who designed their cars around this system.

  29. James Allen says:

    NO he’s always been an engineer. He was Irvine’s engineer and also Schuey’s for a while.

  30. Colin S says:

    You missed the point.

    It’s as much about creating a culture of blame as much as anything else. You do not encourage people to make risky but good decisions if you punish them for risky but bad.

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