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.