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Tombazis accepts pressure is on at Ferrari
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Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Feb 2012   |  9:01 pm GMT  |  10 comments

Ferrari chief designer Nikolas Tombazis has admitted the team’s relative underachievement in recent years means the whole company is feeling the pressure to deliver consistent race-winning performances this year.

At the launch of the team’s F2012 on Friday its management and drivers put emphasis on the deliberately more aggressive approach the squad has taken in the conception process for this year’s car, after being accused of lacking innovation in recent years. The car duly the most striking stepped nose of the 2012 challenger’s released to date, while the team has broken with recent design convention by reintroducing a pull-rod front suspension.

The famous Maranello marque’s unequalled F1 pedigree – the team has won a record 16 constructors’ and 15 drivers’ titles – means second in the pecking order, let alone a distant third as was the case last season, is considered to be an underachievement. Indeed, Tombazis doesn’t try to hide the fact that the pressure is really now on.

“As chief designer of the Scuderia, I do feel even more pressure than normal this year because we are really all very keen and very eager to get back to being competitive and hopefully winning again,” he said in a video interview for the team’s website.

“That pressure I believe is felt by everyone – from the very upper levels of the company, to the lower level, almost by the whole company. This pressure is very tangible and it’s something that we’re all working to hopefully get a good result and manage to relieve some of that pressure.”

The F2012 is the first car to be delivered by the team’s revamped technical team, which is now led by Pat Fry following the departure of Aldo Costa last year. The restructuring process has continued apace with the recent arrivals of Steve Clark from Mercedes and ex-Bridgestone chief Hirohide Hamashima – additions Fry expects to be important ones.

“Steve Clark’s joined us who takes over the head of race engineering, which is a good help for me and means I can concentrate more on the car programme as a whole. We have Hamashima starting with us,” he said. “There’s a wealth of experience between Steve and Hamashima which we hopefully can share with our current knowledge and build and get a better understanding of how to maximise the performance of the tyres.”

Fry also revealed that Ferrari was aiming to “get our average pit stops down by maybe four tenths [of a second], if we’re lucky, five tenths” this season after being the third quickest in the field last season.

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10 Comments
  1. Jo Torrent says:

    Ferrari are at least admitting that their pit stops were less than convincing last year.

    I don’t see the advantages of front axle pull-rod suspension and I haven’t heard anyone highlighting the gains it might bring the team.

    All in all, I’m not excessively confident for Ferrari form. It mainly depends of how good would RBR car be. McLaren is a much easier opponent to cope with. Their form in recent years hasn’t been great. Besides Button lacks raw pace and Hamilton stability, so it will be much easier to cope with the Brit drivers than with Vettel whose confidence is sky high.

    Hopefully, the engineers from RBR won’t come with something special this year as well.

    1. Sam says:

      Advatange of pull-rod is lower CofG, and Tombazis has already said there are aero gains from it.

  2. goferet says:

    The Ferrari mentality is endearing no doubt, their will to win & succeed is unmatched and is to be admired.

    For despite their previous success, they’re still hungry for some more glory as though they have never won nothing.

    That’s always a good team for a driver to attach himself to for he can always go to bed at night knowing the team is pulling all stops to get him on top of the charts.

    But I think when someone puts themselves or are put under this sort of pressure to succeed, it just makes the pill of failure all that much better so I say, Ferrari should go through a number of barren years (preferably decades) of not winning, this will help release some of this enormous pressure exacted by the tifosi & Montezemolo that Schumi & the dream team left behind for the new kids to deal with.

    I think the best working conditions where creativity flows at it’s maximum is when employees are working in a peaceful & calm environment, I mean just look at Adrian Newey, no wonder Newey never wants to join those Red boys for that’s one sure way to get high blood pressure & it’s complications.

    P.s.

    If Ferrari’s new car name —> F2012 is anything to go by, I would say the new technical team are thoroughly lacking in imagination & that car may just be good for the scrap yard.

    1. K says:

      If the name can equal to winning, then F150, F10 and F60 would have won them races and titles, especially the F150. Isn’t that a bit dumb to base your thoughts on names alone?

    2. Rick says:

      Putting pressure on people is a delicate thing. If you put too much, some people will crack and some others will be de-motivated.

  3. Ayrton Mansell says:

    And it will not get any easier as the races roll on and other teams start winning from day one in Melbourne. Alonso needs a car to win every other race or its bust!Hamilton and Button could not come close to Seb Vettel but can Ferrari get up to McLaren’s?

  4. K says:

    Even if they win this year, I’m already looking forward to 2013 coz this year’s car is just toooooooooooo ugly!

  5. Ivan says:

    I think Ferrari are a team of “extremes”. From being too conservative the pendulum now sways to the other extreme – big risk takers. All this in an attempt to answer that pressure exerted by Montedzemolo & Co.
    What I think they lack is the right balance between the technology advancement in their new car developments in the recent years (and respectively the risks associated with it) and continuity from the previous year’s cars (the conservative part of equation). That balance, namely, used to be managed by the Ross Brown genius.
    Another big ticket item is the wrong and stressful working environment with wich Stefano Domenically obviously fails to cope. That responsibility lied in the domain of Jean Todt before.
    …making the long story short, Ferrari need fundamental too management reshuffle, if they are to succeed. This year they made some steps in this direction, but until Domenicali syays, it won’t work. They need someone else, bold, disciplined, consistent and surely not Italian (no offence to the Italian readers).

    1. Sam says:

      They had to go aggressive this year to make up the lost ground to Red Bull and Mclaren.

      Whilst Domenicalli does not have the ruthlessness that Todt had, i think his nationality is completely irrelevant.

  6. McLaren78 says:

    I guess the choice of pull rod might be three fold:
    (i) Lower nose, means that it’s more feasible implementing than in the past.
    (ii) Suspension won’t be as sensitive in bumps (that should help Massa, remember last year?)
    (iii) Newey implemented this in the rear of Red Bull, maybe they think that will do the trick at the front, who knows.

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