Posted on January 12, 2011
Domenicali: “We need to be perfect, right from the start” | James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali spoke today at the Wroom event in Madonna di Campiglio about the season ahead; his expectations of his drivers, his new engineering structure and other wider topics.

Against the backdrop of the snow covered Dolomite mountains, the 45 year old looked relaxed and positive after a very difficult end to the 2010 season. He said that after a lot of soul searching after the Abu Dhabi strategy disaster, he and the team had picked themselves up and were now 100% focussed on 2011.


He made a great deal of the idea that the team needs to be “perfect” right from the start of the year, with the car and drivers being competitive.

Alonso, he said had been “extraordinary” in the second half of 2010 and he expected him to start at that level, “Certainly Fernando starts from an extraordinary baseline after a second half of the season which was almost perfect.”

One of the Spanish journalists suggested that Alonso had needed half a season to adapt to life in a new team and that his form in the second half of the year was more representative of what he can do. Domenicali agreed and clearly they expect the Spaniard to be at that same level from Bahrain onwards.

There was a lot of discussion about the other driver, Felipe Massa, who has a lot of pressure on him this year. I’ll do a separate post on Massa, but Domenicali said that he expects Massa to be able to pull himself together and put in a competitive season. I asked how that would be measured by Massa getting 60-70% of Alonso’s points for example, but if he has such a figure in mind, which would be the normal way to measure performance, Domenicali isn’t sharing it publicly,

“I’m expecting, because Felipe is very strong, for him to be closer to Fernando, or even better, ” he said. “I’m sure that the technical problems Felipe suffered last year will be solved. I saw him already in the first day of the Pirelli test with a different face. He knows that he has the full support of the team.”

Domenicali said over and again that a perfect start to the season is essential, not just from the drivers but also from the car. This is a logical way to approach the season, after what happened last year and it gets everyone focussed on maximising those early races, but it also puts pressure on and begs the question, what happens if they have a less than perfect first few races? That is for another day.

“What we have to avoid this season is failing to pick up the important points in the first half of the season, as we did last year. The reason why we lost the championship, leaving aside Abu Dhabi, was the important points we failed to pick up in the forst half of the season,” he said.

He’s “absolutely convinced” that the new engineering structure which sees ex McLaren designer Pat Fry in a role across all areas of the technical side including heading up operations at the race track, will bring more consistent results from drawing office, to wind tunnel to race track. Ferrari is putting a huge amount of confidence in Fry.

Fry, together with his boss Aldo Costa, has brought a new structure and “work flow” to the technical process at Ferrari and it is clearly in the linking up of all the technical areas that Domenicali feels Ferrari has made its biggest improvement over the off season.
“The (new engineering) group will also take care of improving the tools for the better integration of the activity on the simulator and will broaden the activity alongside all the other key areas like aerodynamics,” he said.

It was confirmed that the launch of the new car will be 28 January in Maranello, allowing the team to do a 100km promotional filming session as it has a new livery and new logo.

He spoke about the adjustable rear wing, saying that it is still not clear exactly where the loops will be placed by the FIA around the circuit to define the overtaking zone, the loops will trigger the activation of the system. The driver defending his position will not be allowed to use his adjustable wing in the defined area, so there will be overtaking no doubt. This together with the softer Pirelli tyres, which will require at least two pit stops every race, means that qualifying is not so critical as it was in 2010 when, barring safety cars, if you qualified at the front you finished at the front.

But there are some doubts about this significant change to the racing,
“The driver running behind another one will be able to activate it (rear wing) to get in the slipstream only in determined points of the track, and only if the gap between himself and his rival is very tight. It will be up to race direction so signal the possibility with a light on the cockpit.
“However, I wonder: besides helping overtaking, will this system make the duels more spectacular or too predictable? At the moment I’m a bit sceptical, but I hope to be wrong. I also hope that the TVs find a way to make people understand on screen who has activated the mechanism and who hasn’t, otherwise you won’t understand a thing anymore.”

I’ll do more analysis on this particular point separately.

Other notes from the hour long press conference were that discussions over the new Concorde Agreement for 2013 onwards would hit their stride in the early summer. Experience tells me that this means F1 is likely to get quite political again over the summer. I think breakaway threats are on the back burner but if things go badly we could start to hear that kind of talk again as we did in 2009.

Domenicali also reitereated Ferrari’s position that 20 races a year is the right number and that it is not appropriate for a country to host two races. Ferrari supports the Italian Grand Prix at Monza and does not seem to be in favour of the Grand Prix in Rome.

Domenicali: “We need to be perfect, right from the start”
117 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: henry
        Date: January 12th, 2011 @ 1:21 pm 

    I have heard comments that Ferrari are anti the 4-pot, 1.6 litre engines for 2013? I am not sure how true that is. It does make sense that 1.6L engines dont really fit with Ferrari’s image.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Stefano said today that Ferrari is not in favour but has gone along with it because it is what the majority want.

    [Reply]

    kowalsky Reply:

    why don’t you make a poll to see what the fans want?

    [Reply]

    F430-FOX Reply:

    It’s a bit late for this now … and wouldn’t change a thing

    Henry Reply:

    Thanks for that. Ultimately its relevant to them if they want manufacturer’s names in the sport, which they do, so it would be quite odd to really challenge it. But interesting that they have publicly been against it. Maybe they always have, and I have just not read about it!

    [Reply]

    Rich C Reply:

    Yes, 3-car Monte said recently there would never be a 4 cyl Ferrari road car so they were not in favor of it but were outvoted.

    [Reply]


  2.   2. Posted By: AlexD
        Date: January 12th, 2011 @ 1:32 pm 

    Life will tell. SD did not say anything new. The typical Ferrari speech. We all know that you need to be perfect from race 1 – it is the same for every team.

    I will not write a long post, I will check after 3-5 races where the team is going to be.

    Time to deliver.

    [Reply]


  3.   3. Posted By: Richard hawley
        Date: January 12th, 2011 @ 1:38 pm 

    As long as the car is up to speed I think Alfonso will unstoppable this year, which as far as I’m concerned isn’t great. Not only am I anti Ferrari after countless rule breakings and over stretching over many years but the fact we have a fantastic Spanish driver in a Ferrari makes tripping off for the Barcelona tests unbearable. This year will be the first I’ve missed in 7 years. Bet there will be 40k there with it being over the weekend. Very sad outlook for next year too!

    [Reply]


  4.   4. Posted By: Tim
        Date: January 12th, 2011 @ 1:59 pm 

    James, i personally think the whole rear wing thing is overly complicated and i’m also worried that with 20+ cars over 20 races we are going to see a mechanical failure and a driver will go in to a corner much faster and with much less rear grip that they expect.

    also i think the restriction on the KERS is pointless because there is no obvious advantage to it (barring over complicated rules). i feel it would be better if the KERS was unrestricted forcing teams to optimize the unit making it’s road going application more profound.

    one final and slightly out-there idea:
    if the FIA insisted that from, say, 2020, that all motor sports under the FIA banner would have to be run on hyrdogen fuel (i believe Honda are doing well in this area), then again the road going applications would be more relevant.
    the problem at the moment is that there is little demand and little investment in hydrogen tech despite it being viable. if all FIA motor sports were to run on hydrogen then it would reduce the production costs of hydrogen fuel and make it more viable for the road. there would also be greater competition among manufacturers and we could bin a few of these stupid restrictions…. perhaps.

    thought?

    any thoughts?

    [Reply]

    Born 1950 Reply:

    The flap ‘fails to safe’ — a bit like air or vacuum brakes on a lorry or train. The electronics will only allow them to be operated at predetermined points each circuit when the car is travelling in a straight line; and they automatically revert to normal if the brakes are touched.

    One never knows of course but I’ll be astonished if we ever see a failure.

    [Reply]

    Luca Reply:

    i’m waiting for there to be a failure of the car receiving the ‘message’ from race control that its good to use the flap… then roll on the media backlash…. esp if its against a Ferrari

    also, SD raises a good point of how we the viewers will know who/when people are using the flaps.

    [Reply]

    jls Reply:

    well we seldom knew when the front flaps were used, dont see this as much diffrent

    Born 1950 Reply:

    Ah! That sort of ‘failure’ is a political issue! I agree, it could create the sort of backlash that is just totally unfathomable to the viewer.

    Jim Reply:

    Thoughts: hydrogen is expensive to make, hard to transport and hard to contain. You need lots of electricity to make it, so why not just charge batteries?

    http://www.dotyenergy.com/Markets/Hydrogen.htm

    [Reply]

    devilsadvocate Reply:

    not to mention carrying a pressure vessel full of highly explosive gas under extreme pressur in a vehicle traveling at very high rates of speed with a higher than average propensity to crash… risk for explosions is one of the main reasons hydrogen hasnt really made it past prototype and show concepts in road cars, and your average traffic accident not as violent as a bad F1 crash. Imagine the Senna crash but with a 150lb tank of hydrogen being stuffed into the wall at 180K.

    BOOM!

    [Reply]

    tom Reply:

    and how is petrol any different?

    Tone Reply:

    Imagine the Hindenburg full of petrol rather than hydrogen. It would of been a mini A bomb. Half the passengers survived the Hindenburg disaster because hydrogen is less volatile than petrol. It burns rather than explode. It’s why car manufactures are seriously considering it as an alternative. The development costs haven’t helped however.

    devilsadvocate Reply:

    Hindenburg was such a disaster because the paint used on the skin forms a chemical reaction similar to Thermite (one of the hottest burning substances this side of the sun), hydrogen was merely an accelerant, do you folks not get Mythbusters in the UK? also, the hydrogen inside the Hindenburg was not under even remotely the same pressure as in an automotive fuel carrying pressure vessel (hint: imagine the entire volume of the hindenberg compressed into a scuba tank or 2)
    Furthermore auto industries are pursuing hydrogen in road cars because inside a motor it EXPLODES like gasoline allowing it to be used with almost no change, other than fuel to air ratio, to the average gasoline motor, but instead of CO2, NOX, and CO (bad) it only produces heat and H2O (good). Its also renewable which is a nice plus…
    other than those few discrepancies you are absolutely right, the hindenberg full of petrol would have gone off like an A-bomb, although it would have fallen like a rock long before it hit that antenna due to weighing about 8million tons (hint petrol weighs somewhere on the of 100x hydrogen, hence why the engineers used hydrogen instead, as with a molecular mass of .0000000000000000000000000016kg it is really good roughly 1/2 the weight of helium and 1/8-1/10 the weight of air makes it quite good at helping giant airships float instead of crash (until it catches on fire)

    oh yeah ferrari definitely needs to start out perfect to succeed this season… back on topic ;)

    Shane Pinnell Reply:

    Hydrocarbon based fuel is expensive to make, hard to transport and difficult to contain as well. The difference is we have invested so heavily in them that costs have been brought down due to the economies of scale.

    If you were doing a clean sheet development of the automobile today, I doubt you would choose a fuel source whose supply is limited, not readily accessible and so damaging to the environment.

    Honestly the same goes for batteries (with current technology). Expensive to make and environmentally damaging to be sure.

    Hydrogen seems like such a clear winner, barring current investments in other technologies. Water + Electricity = Hydrogen = Electricity + Water.

    [Reply]

    Jim Reply:

    Petroleum is a lot easier to transport and contain than hydrogen, either in pipelines or tankers. It doesn’t require special materials, high pressures or cryogenic temperatures. It does require careful handling, but so will anything which has a high enough energy density to power a car for any useful purpose (or F1 racing, just to bring things closer to the original topic ;-)

    Hydrogen is not a fuel supply, it is an energy transportation method, like a battery. You have to use energy to make hydrogen, and right now the energy is mainly made by burning hydrocarbon fuel, which is then used to make electricity to split water. Until electricity generation is cleaner, hydrogen will overall be dirtier than petroleum.

    Hydrogen is great in the engine, but getting it there is the problem. If the problems can be solved, great. But all-electric vehicles, biodiesel and probably many other things also appear to have great potential.

    Jack Reply:

    because the electricity to charge the batteries comes from huge power stations, which are less efficient than a modern petrol engine, so ‘electric’ cars are just as damaging to the environment than normal ones. The point of the hydrogen technology is to stop the use of fossil fuels, not to change where they’re burnt

    [Reply]


  5.   5. Posted By: Bill Johnson
        Date: January 12th, 2011 @ 2:06 pm 

    This movable wing thing is ludicrous. I predict it lasts only one season. Geez, Jim Hall did this 40 years ago – the F-duct – now there’s actual real technological innovation.

    But let’s have stupid, contrived zones where the fans throw dodgeballs at the leading driver, hey?
    Maybe a minefield section of the track?

    oooohhhh, let’s do figure-eight racing – with trailers!

    [Reply]

    PaulL Reply:

    Yep, pretty much!

    [Reply]

    Shane Pinnell Reply:

    Don’t forget the alternate track paths that you can use once or twice per race… I believe this was actually being considered by Bernie!

    [Reply]

    Andy C Reply:

    Known in the F1 racing community as the Sutil line.

    [Reply]

    Galapago555 Reply:

    LOL… remember that “sutil” in Spanish means “subtle”. Any hidden message?


  6.   6. Posted By: Nick L
        Date: January 12th, 2011 @ 2:06 pm 

    Regarding the adjustable rear wing rules, I understand that the driver in front can not use the system to defend a driver from behind. But, what if there are 3 (or more) cars running together and the driver at the back uses the system. If the driver in the midle is within 1 second of the leading driver can he then use the system too?

    [Reply]

    Galapago555 Reply:

    I understand that any driver running less than one second behind the one in front of him is allowed to use it – so if we have a line of three or four cars running close enough each other it will be funny.

    FIA 2011 Sporting Regulations:
    3.18.2 The adjustable bodywork may be activated (…)after the driver has completed a minimum of two laps after the race start or following a safety car period.
    (…)It will only be enabled if the driver is less than one second behind another at any of the pre-determined positions around each circuit. The system will be disabled by the control electronics the first time the driver uses the brakes after he has activated the system.
    (…)

    You can check the full text here:
    http://www.formula1.com/inside_f1/rules_and_regulations/sporting_regulations/8692/fia.html

    [Reply]

    Andy C Reply:

    I worry we’ll see such a large speed differential between the car in front and the car behind.

    If the Kers and wing are activated, and the one in front doesnt have Kers, surely the speed differential will be large.

    As second is not very far on the track.

    [Reply]

    Jack Reply:

    yes, any car within 1 second of the car in front. I think this means that there might be a few occasions with 3 cars going into a hairpin alongside eachother, which could be interesting. Although you can’t use it in the 1st 2 laps of a race, or 2 laps after a safety car period, because otherwise everyone would use it at once and it would be chaos. Shame this didn’t come in a few years ago, could have prevented the entire ‘Trulli Train’ thing!

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: JamesF1
        Date: January 12th, 2011 @ 2:28 pm 

    James, will drivers be able to use KERS to defend? I accept it won’t be as much of a boost as the rear wing, but haven’t seen it mentioned before.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Yes, you can use KERS to defend, of course.

    [Reply]

    Feynman Reply:

    Well kinda, but in real life I’d be surprised if it was an effective tactic.

    Each system operates in opposite parts of the track. KERS powering out of the medium corners, no longer traction-limited but where the little motor isn’t feeling the full brunt of aero drag yet; and the rear-wing flap only effective in the very fastest part of a long straight.

    So I dunno, I think it unlikely to have KERS being pushed to try and directly defend against someone with a folded-down wing – which I think was probably the original question.
    … head to head, the proportionately small extra grunt from KERS at near VMax, attempting to push even more air out the way, would get easily swamped by someone suddenly trimming down their rear-wing and grabbing a tow.

    The problems don’t end there, if you are now saving your KERS to inefficiently defend down the straight, the guy behind has already deployed his KERS in the “correct” location to get right on your tail … keep that up and you are probably going to be overtaken with or without any flaps being deployed.

    So, if you are compelled to use-up your KERS energy at the same locations as your rivals, then you are now left defenceless to the rear-wing flap.
    Which all means, no, you probably can’t defend yourself with KERS.

    All of this obviously depends on the FIA tuning … the loops and zones, if the flap is too restricted and hobbled, it’ll be a non-event, or if it’s too effective, it’ll be an inverse Hanford device fiasco, with cars swapping position back and forth every lap.

    Either way, can’t be too long till we have two-seater F1 cars; one for the driver, and one for the strategy technician with the timing screens, full radio comms back to Mission Control, the fuel-mix knob, infra-red cameras viewing the tyres, and a KERS button/rear-wing flap combo switch.
    … Of course seated tandem-style like an Apache helicopter, not side-by-side like a rally car.

    As for TV coverage, simples, rig the KERS button up to a big blue propane flame that comes out of the engine cover; and the rear wing button, when deployed, releases smoke-trails (in team colours) to show the vortices and aerodynamic effect of the wing switching on and off.
    Would all look fabulous under floodlights.

    [Reply]

    NamedMyKidAyrton Reply:

    Please don’t give Bernie any ideas!

    Ohm Reply:

    Blue flames and smoke trails..oh yeah! :D

    Or..maybe the camera case on top of the car can be lit up with bright LEDS. One side could be for the wing and the other could be for KERS.

    Jack Reply:

    i think what we’re all forgetting is just how fun these things will be when F1 2011 comes out!

    Born 1950 Reply:

    The rear wing flap is not so much as ‘a boost’ — more ‘less of a drag’!

    [Reply]


  8.   8. Posted By: PaulL
        Date: January 12th, 2011 @ 2:29 pm 

    Well, firsty I’m somewhat skeptical about softer Pirellis requiring two stops. On what data can we really base this on?
    Moreover, if the tyres are more on the limit how is that likely to help the racing? Are drivers going to be able to push harder? Well, I don’t imagine so if the tyres go off more easily. Does having two pitstops of theoretically equal length change anything about the racing between cars and drivers at all? I don’t see how myself.

    I think, and you can make your own judgments about whether this is a good or bad thing, but F1 2011 will be about the peripherals (weather, accidents, safety cars, mechanical problems) with the ‘spice’ of artifice if the rear wing trick works.

    Think about this, how do you answer your untrained friend when he/she asks “why can’t the driver in front adjust his rear wing when defending the car behind?”. Do you think “because we want the visual stimuli of one car overtaking another” is going to make them think F1 is a serious sport?

    [Reply]


  9.   9. Posted By: Toby
        Date: January 12th, 2011 @ 2:33 pm 

    “it also puts pressure on and begs the question, what happens if they have a less than perfect first few races?”

    I imagine in that case we will be reminded that the championship isn’t won over one or two races etc etc!

    [Reply]


  10.   10. Posted By: Abhi
        Date: January 12th, 2011 @ 2:33 pm 

    James, I realize you will be putting up a detailed piece on the adjustable rears and overtaking in the corners with these new 2011 rules. But as a measure of possibly what may come by as FAQs by most of us here (maybe you already have this addressed), what happens if there’s a barrage of cars or even 3 cars for that matter, nip close and ready to barge ahead of the guy in front at a hairpin. Who’s cockpit will signal the availability of the adjustable rears (considering that all of them are inside the predefined ‘loop/zone’). Seems a little tricky for the guy(s) in between, perhaps even mildly chaotic.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Yes, good point. I will do a piece on this

    [Reply]

    Born 1950 Reply:

    There are only pre-determined parts of the track where the flap will be primed for action and the light shows on the driver’s dash.

    I would guess that race control will also be able to override the electronic instruction if it’s deemed unsafe to let it happen.

    [Reply]

    devilsadvocate Reply:

    more probably the predetermined zones of allowed usage will end some safe margin away from corner entry

    [Reply]

    nick Reply:

    I know Domenicali mentions race control, but I’m sceptical that they would actually have any control over the system during the race. I would have thought it would all be set up to trigger automatically by some electronics inside the cars.

    As to the three cars at a hairpin scenario, I’m not sure that is relevant. The advantage of the adjustable wing is in reducing drag on high speed straights to allow overtaking. Coming into a hairpin the last thing you want is to reduce drag – surely you want as much drag and grip as possible so you can brake as late as possible.

    [Reply]

    Stephen Hughes Reply:

    Daft question, but will the driver being overtaken be able to enable his rear wing once the other driver is past, and similarly will the overtakers wing be disabled once past? And if so, how do you define when past – fully past or just ahead slightly?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Yes, the following lap at the same point as he was passed… I know it doesn’t sound good, does it?

    Stephen Reply:

    Depends how much effect changing the wing has but it sounds like the last place you want to be is in front coming in to the last long straight on the last lap.

    Is there anything in the rules to stop drivers slowing drastically to avoid overtaking?

    If there was at least some way to defend such as the wing being disabled once along-side or the leading drivers wing being enabled once the overtaker was along-side then there may be some merit to it. Sounds as if it’s just going to be what the ‘merkins call a slam-dunk…


  11.   11. Posted By: Terry Shepherd
        Date: January 12th, 2011 @ 2:46 pm 

    One wonders who gets what permission if Vettel, Alonso & Hamilton are battling for position? How unfair is this when two or more drivers are equally fast? Do we see them taking turns to activate their wings on succeeding laps so they can leapfrog over each other ad infinitum?

    [Reply]

    Shane Pinnell Reply:

    That scenario is called NASCAR in the United States of America, and it is extremely uninteresting.

    [Reply]

    Rich C Reply:

    Yes, you’re going to get a lot of nascar-style group-drafting passes wherein the leader gets passed by a dozen cars as they all pull out and draft past together, leaving him to try to find a gap to pull into or just trying to grab onto the back of the pack.
    But ofc we *know F1 is the pinnacle, so no one will ever mention the similarity.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Temptation to weave to break the tow will be very strong

    Nadeem Reply:

    Nascar is no F1 but drafting in Talladega is something to witness, very unquie and I love to watching it. I describe it has a moving car park, very different style of racing though

    [Reply]

    Shane Pinnell Reply:

    I agree that it is unique, but the individual efforts are not memorable. A procession of cars passing each other throughout a race is simply uninteresting to me. I know that in the rotating pack their are individual stories to be told, but those get lost in the shuffle.

    Overtaking in F1 is difficult, it is special. I can pass people all day long on my way to work, doesn’t make it worth televising.

    Mario Reply:

    After the last tyre changes we should be able to calculate who is to win the race by figuring out whose turn to overtake is due on the last lap.

    Speculating is fun.

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: Born 1950
        Date: January 12th, 2011 @ 3:07 pm 

    Seems to me that very few team principals will actually be saying, “…the team doesn’t need to be “perfect” right from the start of the year.”

    Regarding the rear wing flap operation: it seems to me that Domenicali is spot on — the TV viewer has to know when it’s being used or it will be very confusing. I also suspect that if we have two closely-matched cars running close together we might find them repeatedly swapping places, lap after lap, in a totally artificial way.

    Still, that’s what the fans want!

    [Reply]

    NamedMyKidAyrton Reply:

    Is it really?

    I believe the surveys showed fans want overtaking, excitement, driving talent and technological innovation. And in some cases, a bit more environmental responsibility.

    I don’t recall a single report saying fans want artificial, gimmicky or orchestrated racing.

    I realize that, for fairness’ sake, we should try to withhold judgment until we see the new regulations in practice; but I can’t help feeling some trepidation. The moment the combination of a pair of lucky gambles on the new Pirellis and the lights/bells/whistles/flaps/kers/one-second gap alarms result in a Virgin flying by a McLaren, I’ll throw my remote at the TV.

    [Reply]

    Stephen Hughes Reply:

    That could be the problem, you want overtaking to be more possible but you don’t want something which would prevent a driver defending and having some chance of retaining his position.

    Otherwise, barring accidents and mechanical problems you’ll get the team with the fastest car finishing 1-2, the next fastest 3-4 etc.

    Strikes me that this is a pointless gimmick put in to try and keep interest before the more sensible rules proposed for the future (smaller wings, more body aero) can be brought in.

    [Reply]

    Robert N Reply:

    Somehow, I don’t think this will happen. It seems to be more likely that once the slightly faster car is ahead, it will manage to build a gap of more than 1 second and maintain that advantage.

    In the past we often saw a faster car catching up with a (slightly) slower car, and then being stuck behind it until the next pitstop or the end of the race. This should no longer happen.

    Of course, if you have two very closely matched teammates, and the team allows them to race, then repeated overtakes could happen. But I still think this will be rare.

    [Reply]


  13.   13. Posted By: Wrexter
        Date: January 12th, 2011 @ 3:13 pm 

    James I am really annoyed by the introduction of the adjustable rear wing.

    How can these rule makers introduce such a system. It will take the excitement out of an overtake. It will also become confusing as to what is happening.

    I believe the ban on double diffusers was the right step to aiding overtaking, perhaps even fatter front tires would of been good too.

    There was no need for adjustable wings especially with the re-introduction of KERS.

    [Reply]


  14.   14. Posted By: Arri
        Date: January 12th, 2011 @ 3:14 pm 

    Any word from them on what’s happening with Chris Dyer?

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: AnotherToby
        Date: January 12th, 2011 @ 3:24 pm 

    “It was confirmed that the launch of the new car will be 28 January in Maranello, allowing the team to do a 100km promotional filming session as it has a new livery and new logo.”

    This isn’t one of the official testing sessions so are they allowed to run it in full race spec.?

    [Reply]


  16.   16. Posted By: Sven
        Date: January 12th, 2011 @ 3:28 pm 

    The whole concept with the movable rear wing and its use according to the race director, position on track and behind a competitior is just to complicated.
    Instead I would like to see KERS powered 4 wheel drive with the KERS system powering one electric motor in each front wheel. This would make the KERS system much more relevant in race situations since the extra power would be used together with the extra traction from the front wheels. The extra possibilities for overtaking with the KERS system would then not only be limited to the long straights where everyone uses it at the same time anyway, but would give an advantage just about at any place on the track and especially out of tight corners which would allow the car behind to get
    close to the car in front all ready at the beginning of a straight.
    Porsche has just presented a car with such a system and they can even adjust the power individually to each front wheel which helps cornering as well, giving an even greater benefit in a race situation.
    Electric motors in F1 would also be most relevant the the new car technology now developing fast in road cars. And as a last point. Keep the V8 engines as used now. Neither
    Ferrari nor Mercedes wants the 4 pot turbos and they supply 6 teams with engines, that is half the grid!

    [Reply]

    Rich C Reply:

    Porsche has been racing that car for about a year already.

    [Reply]

    devilsadvocate Reply:

    “Ferrari nor Mercedes wants the 4 pot turbos and they supply 6 teams with engines, that is half the grid!”

    Both Renault and Cosworth support the 4 pot turbos and they supply 6 teams with engines…. thats half the grid!!!

    [Reply]


  17.   17. Posted By: Galapago555
        Date: January 12th, 2011 @ 3:34 pm 

    An off topic comment, James.

    I can’t see the links with previous post that used to appear on the lower right side of the home page, split by month/year. They were useful for the readers IMO, as you could read again things that happend months ago.

    Have that links been simply deleted or is it something wrong with the site and you will make them available again?

    [Reply]

    Galapago555 Reply:

    Ok, the links to older archives are back where they used to be. Happy to stand corrected. :-)

    [Reply]


  18.   18. Posted By: jmv
        Date: January 12th, 2011 @ 3:35 pm 

    A bit off topic.. I can’t help to feel that the 100 million punishment for McLaren in the Spygate… was.. totally out of proportion.. a 100.000 fine would have been more appropriate.

    Seeing Pat Fry coming from McLaren taking with him all secrets, workflows, methodologies etc etc.. either in his head or in his notebooks (or in a usb stick..)

    I also wonder how McLaren so easily let him go to Ferrari.. often there is a 1 year period of not working for the competition..

    But interesting to read how Ferrari is seemingly is improving its simulation capacity.

    [Reply]

    Pally Reply:

    There were reports at the the time which allegedley said Pat Fry lost his phone, someone (journo?) found it and when looking at the texts there was references to calling Hamilton a “nigger”.

    A few sites picked up on it, think McLaren kept it hush hush and just booted Fry out instead by giving him the sack. Hence probably why he was able to join Ferrari so quickly.

    [Reply]

    Born 1950 Reply:

    James: unless you know for certain that what Pally says is true, do you not think it might be wise to delete that comment?

    [Reply]

    Rich C Reply:

    There are also reports of flying saucers being seen in the vicinity of Maranello. The obvious conclusion: Ferrari is using alien technology. It will all come out when 3-Car Monte is elected.

    [Reply]

    Galapago555 Reply:

    I bet in fact Luca is from Saturn!!

    NamedMyKidAyrton Reply:

    That’s a pretty serious accusation. Do you have any evidence to back it up?

    [Reply]

    Feynman Reply:

    For a guy, right in the middle of designing your next car, and right in the middle of his contract, to be let go, and show up a coupla weeks later working elsewhere, means someone probably got fired.

    Teams can really only enforce gardening leave for someone still under contract.

    So something reasonably serious must have transpired to allow him to walk to the next pit-garage with a head full of your 2011 ideas, and a car left half-designed.

    The story about a text message left on a borrowed Vodafone phone, which was discovered by a mechanic who used it next, appeared as a blind item a month or two after Fry left the team, with no payout, no compensation, and no gardening leave.
    Haven’t seen a denial, or even a non-denial denial, not sure if the question has even been asked, but you’re right, you’d definitely want some proper sources on the record before you tried, in public, to connect both parts of the above story together.

    Arri Reply:

    The rumors were there but it wasn’t Fry’s phone that was found , it belonged to someone else who’s name I will not as this was only a rumor and not fact. I also feel that the above post should be removed. Thanks

    [Reply]

    FemiA Reply:

    I believe Ferrari would have paid an acceptable price to Mclaren for letting Pat Fry leave at the time he left. I also don’t think this move happened overnight hence I believe Mclaren would have been very busy covering quite a number of bases before the actual departure of P. Fry for Ferrari.

    Taking info about Mclaren’s internal processes to Ferrari isn’t such a big deal. Ferrari are going to need more than that. They are going to need a change of mind set among the staff and that isn’t going to be that easy.

    [Reply]

    JF Reply:

    What a lot of McLaren fan seem to forget about the 100 million fine is that Max Mosley had a grudge against Ron Dennis and he did everything he could to hurt him. Now that he is gone, the FIA seem like its more about the rules and common sense instead of focussing on his president personnal vendetta.

    The 100000$ fine was base on a written rule of the FIA. It was not possible to fine them more. Futhermore, the charges againt McLaren (espionnage)and Ferrari(Team Order) are not even close in term of gravity. Swaping your drivers during a race and using an opponents data to gain an advantage is quite different. I think both teams use team orders and both teams gets data from the other team.

    It’s fine as long as you dont get cut ;-)

    [Reply]


  19.   19. Posted By: Lilla My
        Date: January 12th, 2011 @ 5:19 pm 

    I thought that starting well and picking as many points as possible from the very beginning was important for all teams… but then Ferrari seems a bit mistake-prone, so maybe they really need that more than anybody else. However, I’m absolutely sure, that if they lose some points in the early stages of the season, we’ll hear that the season consists of 20 races and ” for sure anything can still happen”, which of course is also true.

    “I’m sure that the technical problems Felipe suffered last year will be solved.” – I remember Domenicali saying that the tyres weren’t the only reason of Massa’s problems somewhere in the season… well, whatever his real problem is, I hope he’ll come to terms with it. I’m sure Ferrari wants two strong drivers if they want to get any of the championships. And I can only be happy expecting Alonso to start the season (and continue it till the end) on the level he was in the second part of 2010. If the team principal believes he can perform like that from the very begining then I can only be optimistic.

    Re rear wings – I was first happy with this solution, thinking that it will make racing more spectacular (more overtaking), but after considering it for a while I’m starting to wonder whether this will not diminish the defending skills and won’t make the battles too predictable and too one-sided. After all, it’s not the overtaking that it’s really interesting to watch but a close battle, which doesn’t have to end with a finished move (from the top of my head, I remember e.g. the closing stages of Imola 2005, which was so entertaining, even though no move was made in the end). So I only hope that the rear wing won’t finish in the driver in front being doomed from the begining ;-) . I guess we’ll have to wait for the first race to see how it really works.
    However, if understanding what is going on and which driver activated the new system depends on the TV coverage, then I’m starting to be really worried that I won’t know what’s going on on the track…

    It also suprises me that Pat Fry was able to join Ferrari so quickly. I’ve thought engineers would have much longer periods of not working for the competition determined in their contracts.

    [Reply]

    Mario Reply:

    Domenicali knows he cannot afford another season like 2010 or it will be arrivederci. He’s got little choice but to put everything on red.

    [Reply]

    TheLegend Reply:

    I really think Stefano and Luca know Fernando is their man, and Felipe can only help to win WCC if the car is very fast, but they also know that if they win only one championship, that will be WDC with Fernando, they will only get WCC if the year is perfect (like having a reliable RED Bull).

    [Reply]


  20.   20. Posted By: Andy C
        Date: January 12th, 2011 @ 6:14 pm 

    I was interested to read some comments from Stefano about its not the case that Ferrari spend loads more than everyone else do these days.

    Was that a misquote James (as you’ve been there), or has the altitude gotten to him? :-)

    Pretty asure the last estimates on budget I saw, had Ferrari spending somewhere in the region of £400m per season, whereas the next biggest spending was just over £200M?

    [Reply]

    Hisham Akhtar Reply:

    Umm…no. I think you’re confusing pounds with dollars there mate

    [Reply]

    Andy C Reply:

    I wondered whether my currency was right when I typed it :-)

    Still 200m should be enough to cobble together a few race cars ;-)

    [Reply]

    Hisham Akhtar Reply:

    I’d say Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes have a very similar budget with Red Bull and Renault a little bit behind. I don’t think Ferrari’s budget is that much higher (if at all) than their competition.

    SHIPARCH Reply:

    Recently it was released who the bigger spenders were with Red Bull on top, and apparently they (Red Bull) went over the budget limit agreed to by FOTA. If this is true or not, I don’t know.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    There is quite a bit going on behind scenes here, any overspend from 2010 is deducted from 2011, but they are also increasing the RRA amount and there are some vagaries..FOTA has a mechanism for investigating, in any case.

    [Reply]

    TheLegend Reply:

    300M Ferrari
    270M Mercedes
    250M McLaren
    240M Red Bull

    If I remember correctly…

    [Reply]


  21.   21. Posted By: Shane Pinnell
        Date: January 12th, 2011 @ 7:15 pm 

    This adjustable rear wing and the whole focus on improving overtaking is a bit silly. In my opinion when two cars are racing each other in what should be the pinnacle of motorsport, overtaking should be ridiculously difficult. It should be something that is celebrated when it happens, as it is now. Perhaps a decrease in the downforce is in order, I am all for that, but contrived contraptions to promote overtaking for overtaking’s stake will only work to decrease the exposure of a driver’s skill and the engineers brainpower.

    Nobody remembers who passes who in the middle of a NASCAR race, but everyone remembers Kobayashi’s sublime passes in Japan this year even though he is in a mid-field car.

    [Reply]


  22.   22. Posted By: Hisham Akhtar
        Date: January 12th, 2011 @ 9:27 pm 

    Also, James I always have problems posting on this site

    Only about 1 in 10 comments are actually published

    Any help?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    This one got through!

    [Reply]

    Hisham Akhtar Reply:

    Haha yeah today is a good day but its extremely frustrating not being able to comment as this (and the Facebook Formula 1 group) are the main sources I like commenting on.

    [Reply]

    AlexD Reply:

    I had the same thing before and it was very frustrating…couldn’t post for several months. It looks like now is OK, but if I am not alone, it means there is a problem and there might be people who cannot post and we do not know that it is the case because THEY CANNOT post.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Yes, we think we know why and plan an upgrade in the next few weeks to fix it. Thanks for your patience

    [Reply]

    Hisham Akhtar Reply:

    Thanks a lot for the upgrade

    Good site, with a knowledgeable fan following


  23.   23. Posted By: Mario
        Date: January 13th, 2011 @ 12:36 am 

    I’ve got mixed feelings about them movable wings, seems like I am not the only one.

    Let’s hope the funny racing this idea may potentially create will be fun to watch at least.

    [Reply]


  24.   24. Posted By: Al
        Date: January 13th, 2011 @ 2:28 am 

    I find this whole ordeal about adjustable rear wings very off putting. Do we really need a system that disadvantages one driver over another to create an artificial overtake? Do we even want this?

    For me it’s another case of the powers that be creating slapdash short term fixes. I want to see two drivers racing each other using skill not gadgets, why do they have to unbalance the sport like this? I feel like some of the beauty and simplicity has gone.

    [Reply]

    Warren Groenewald Reply:

    Don’t you think the driver behind is more at a disadvantage for much of the lap than the driver in front? It may seem artificial, and personally i would prefer a return to ground effect, but there is nothing worse than watching a driver close up on another at 2 seconds a lap then get stuck because it’s impossible to overtake on certain tracks.

    Moves like Kobayashi’s passes in Suzuka will still exist because there may be the possibility of him nicking another place later in the lap using his adjustable rear wing.

    Adjustable wings aren’t ideal, but let’s wait and see first.

    [Reply]

    Al Reply:

    Yes I do think the driver behind is disadvantaged due to the aerodynamics however as you suggested there are better ways to fix the problem.

    The short term fix of adjustable wings takes away from the pure nature of the sport though, it deliberately disadvantages a driver for the purpose of manipulating an overtake. How would people feel if the driver in front had a rev limiter automatically applied at certain points during the lap? This would also give a disadvantage to the man in front and manipulate overtaking. A horrible idea!

    I question why they are making these changes when we’ve probably had the most exciting year of F1 in tens of years, probably my lifetime in fact.

    [Reply]


  25.   25. Posted By: zombie
        Date: January 13th, 2011 @ 5:43 am 

    James,

    I am quite surprised you have not mentioned Vale’s name in your blog! The annual event brings together Italy’s two of Italy’s most recognized teams in motorsports – Ferrari and Ducati. Ducati has achieved what Ferrari tried years back,i.e. sign Rossi. And going by the reaction of the media personnel and fans at the resort,Rossi was a much bigger sensation than Alonso. It is well known that Rossi and Alonso dont get along so well, so it must have been quite interesting to see them spend time together!

    [Reply]

    Galapago555 Reply:

    Dis Steffano mention Il Dottore? I’m affraid he didn’t.

    Anyway, I would wait for James’ report on the event before being surprised… if he did not mention Valentino there!

    [Reply]

    zombie Reply:

    Stefenao Domenicali did talk about ‘Il Dottore’ and wished him luck for the coming season. Domenicalli also said it would be ‘special’ to see Vale ride a Ducati at Mugello GP this June.

    [Reply]

    Galapago555 Reply:

    My bad, I sit corrected!!

    Ok, I did not read the full interview, thanks for the info… ;-)

    mingojo Reply:

    It’s funny you mention that, because some international press are saying that they seem to get on really well now.

    [Reply]

    Arri Reply:

    He did mention it in him in the full interview.

    [Reply]

    Galapago555 Reply:

    “It is well known that Rossi and Alonso dont get along so well,…”

    Oh really?

    “I met Alonso last year while I was visiting Ferrari – added Rossi – he’s a really nice guy and I was supporting him last year.”

    Il Dottore dixit. http://bit.ly/h4gh6m

    [Reply]

    TheLegend Reply:

    As far as I know Fernando was the most searched person at MdiC (maybe because the majority of the media was there due to Ferrari’s invitations and not Ducati’s ones). If Fernando and Vale don’t get along I don’t know why are they planning a “motor battle” with diferent cars and/or motorbikes for next December…

    [Reply]


  26.   26. Posted By: Trix
        Date: January 13th, 2011 @ 11:28 am 

    Hello James

    Completely off topic, I would like to find out if you have any information about the real reason that Pat Fry was let go in McLaren. I heard it was something to do with the fact that he sent a text message {mod} regarding Lewis Hamilton.

    Could this be true? If so, could it be one of the reasons why Lewis didn’t seem very happy last year apart from the rift with his father? Could this also debunk the myth that McLaren is a “Lewis” team?

    I’d like to hear your opinion.

    Thanks.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Not heard that.

    [Reply]


  27.   27. Posted By: Rich
        Date: January 13th, 2011 @ 1:12 pm 

    Hi James!

    Off topic but was just wondering if you- or any fans can recommend the best reasonable tickets to buy for the Monaco GP this year.Best views and ares etc..

    Have not been to a GP for a long time so cant wait! Also what site you recommend purchasing them from.

    Thanks in advance,
    Rich

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Depends what you mean by reasonable. Most stands are €300. Up on the hill is about £50 but uncomfortable for a whole day I’d imagine. Monaco is worth the visit at least once though. You get very close once the track action is done for the day.

    [Reply]


  28.   28. Posted By: Bill Johnson
        Date: January 13th, 2011 @ 1:55 pm 

    Well. e all see a spec F1 car, with fiddly bits that change every year, trying to find a way back to the times when there were multiple engine types, multiple chassis typoes (Tyrell tries 6 wheels – today, we get a wing that moves when and if the moon is in the second quarter, Bernie is conscious and Ferari is not at the front.

    All this is ludicrous. All you need is a pot of energy, and some safety rules. Use this much energy, no more, have a safe chassis, and have at it.

    Please help me understand where is the high tech sophistication in Inspector Gadget racing?
    Wonky, cool bits that entertain few, confuse most, and lead to really stupid rules – umm you can’t use your wing there, because the opposing driver is left-handed and French. Try the KERS instead – unless you’re near Alonslo, when you need the knives coming from the wheel hubs of your chariot….

    Y’all enjoy the show. I’m having trouble understanding why I want to watch. And I loved F1.

    [Reply]


  29.   29. Posted By: Michael M
        Date: January 13th, 2011 @ 2:21 pm 

    I can’t wait for the 2011 season to start.I think the return of Kers is brilliant,the race starts from Kers cars in 2009 were always thrilling to watch.
    Add to this the switch of tyre suppliers and adjustable wings we should be in for an entertaining 2011.
    I think the wings will make for great racing.
    Bet Alonso wishes he had one at the last race!!

    [Reply]


  30.   30. Posted By: Frankie
        Date: January 13th, 2011 @ 3:16 pm 

    As bad as I believe Alonso was in the first half of last season, there is no doubt he was back to his WDC best in the later stage.

    That said, there is little doubt in my mind that the pressure drove Alonso into those errors at the start of the season, something similar with Hamilton in his first year at McLaren. If Alonso does not have the package it would not surprise me to see these weaknesses come to the fore again. Put him in the same position he was at the end of last season and I would expect a continuation of that excellent form.

    [Reply]


  31.   31. Posted By: Neville
        Date: January 13th, 2011 @ 3:26 pm 

    I read recently comments from Alonso and Massa. They are really worried about the extra complexity of the 2011 steering wheel. They are concerned that controlling additional two knobs ( KERS and the flap) at very fast corners may be quite challenging. Anyway, drivers with better manual and multi tasking skill will have some advantage over those prone to mistakes in knob control (Lewis ?)

    [Reply]


  32.   32. Posted By: unoc
        Date: January 13th, 2011 @ 3:50 pm 

    Tis the season to make lots of PR nonsense… Within this last few days Ferrari have decided that after 60 years of f1 they are giong after a perfect start, Mclaren realising that apart from FI no one else has announced a late date to show off there 2011 challenger. Doubt Ferrari will get a perfect start once again and mclaren wont be the car to copy again.

    Clearly to stop others copying, Redbull and Marko have told everyone that ferrari want vettel, Redbull and Marko have told everyone that mercedes want vettel, Redbull and Marko have told everyone that McLaren want vettel, Redbull and Marko have said that they want vettel. A case of my driver is bigger than you driver syndrome maybe?

    Lotus has a couple of exdrivers come out to call new Reanult a Lotus, Lotus have come out to say it’s a Renault with Lotus sponsorship. Team Lotus is quiet for once, Virigin want to do more computer stuff and HRT are to announce a big name driver and an even bigger sponser imminantly. That was in December. it is now mid January.

    Raikkonen has doing going solo in the WRC next year with a new shiny DS3. Probably named team after what he was high on when he decided to do this over a seat in f1 where he is great (team is called Ice).

    Oh, and Renault now have an ugly livery.. which theyt have because its the colours that the sponsers related but not associated team had back when it was still around and when it was sponsered by tobaco which neither the new incarnation or renault are by now. Makes sense :)

    [Reply]

    unoc Reply:

    Oh, and this just in.. Felipe Massa think there are a too many buttons on his steering wheel!

    Top stuff

    [Reply]


  33.   33. Posted By: adam h
        Date: January 14th, 2011 @ 10:53 pm 

    “I’m expecting, because Felipe is very strong, for him to be closer to Fernando, or even better, ” what a load of NONESENSE!! everyone knows that alonso is the no.1 driver and ferrari are only saying this to make up for germany! why cant they just speak the TRUTH?! if i was massa id save my dignity and move to another team! “What we have to avoid this season is failing to pick up the important points” errrrm no Domenicalli, the only reason why fernando was able to go into abu dhabi with a lead of points is because 1. the cheat in germany 2. vettel and redbulls reliability enabled you to steal 66 points! cant wait for next season, schuey to give ferrari something to moan about again!

    [Reply]


  34.   34. Posted By: R. Watkins
        Date: January 18th, 2011 @ 9:25 pm 

    To comment about the state of the team.

    I think Kimi in 2009 was as good as Alonso in 2010. No change there as far as I am concerned.

    The team has problems elsewhere, drivers have not been a problem for Ferrari since mid-90s.

    But now they have been attacking Felipe in public just as they were attacking Kimi for a good year and a half before his exit from the team.

    It’s a shameful way to run a team. But it’s their choice. I think Domenicali is a double-faced liar. He says he’s a friend of Kimi yet he was the one who wanted Alonso to replace Kimi (this info came from Montezemolo). He is no friend of Kimi if he does things like that… he’s a liar.

    [Reply]

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