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Fry delivers stark assessment of Ferrari shortcomings
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Posted By: James Allen  |  16 Apr 2012   |  11:40 am GMT  |  175 comments

From the unexpected high of victory in Malaysia, the Chinese Grand Prix brought Ferrari back down to earth with a bump as Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa finished in ninth and 13th places respectively. The Maranello outfit may currently be in the process of accelerating developmental work on the F2012 in a bid to improve the difficult car’s competitive as quickly as possible, yet the team’s senior technical figure has admitted there are also more deep-rooted problems that need to be resolved if Ferrari is to enjoy sustained long-term success again.

Pat Fry, who took the reigns of Ferrari’s technical department last year following the axing of team stalwart Aldo Costa and promptly instigated a more aggressive design focus, in Shanghai delivered what was a frank assessment of what he believes the team’s shortcomings are. The Briton feels a fundamental overhaul is required in the ‘methodologies’, in other words, the fundamentals of the way Maranello designs and develops its F1 cars. It hints at a long term fix, to return the Scuderia to the glory days of the 2000s.

“I don’t really want to go into where all the problems are – it’s not just a case of us trying to build a quicker car, we need to fundamentally be changing the methodologies that we use to select, design and manufacture so that we are competitive long term,” Fry said over the weekend. “There’s work on all fronts, not just work going into what we’re taking to Barcelona, there’s also a huge amount of work in just trying to change the fundamentals of what we do so we can actually take a step forward and be competing with everyone else.”

The Italian marque, which last won the drivers’ title in 2007 with Kimi Raikkonen, has yet to find a consistent formula for success since the momentum built up from its glory years with Michael Schumacher, Ross Brawn and Jean Todt at the start of the century gradually faded.

Aside from a purple patch with Fernando Alonso in the second half of the 2010 season that took the Spaniard within a strategic mistake of the title, Ferrari has rarely even been the second-fastest team on outright pace since the sport’s rules overhaul in 2009 and even a more deliberately aggressive approach for this season has only – a rain-affected Sunday at Sepang aside – seen Ferrari slip into the clutches of the midfield, rather than catapulting them to the head of the field as had been hoped.

Correlation problems with its wind tunnel at the start of last year stymied the team’s progress with the 2011 car and Fry admits a stronger aerodynamic programme is top of the team’s priorities, along with a complete overall of the “methodologies” currently used in the design process.

“The biggest performance differentiator – as people have mentioned earlier – is aerodynamics. We’ve got some issues there that we’re trying to resolve. The areas you need to be working on is everything from the way you run the wind tunnel, the accuracy of your wind tunnel, the simulation that you use to decide what components to take forward, so we’re not leaving any stone unturned,” he explained.

“We’re actually trying to review and revise our methodologies through the whole process and that carries on into the design office for trying to get weight out of various parts, make other bits more durable, so there’s work going on absolutely everywhere within the company, on the basic fundamental methodology as well as just trying to upgrade the car.”

After a difficult race in China on Sunday, Fry added that the short-term situation is unlikely to change much in Bahrain with the team’s first big upgrade of the year – when a new exhaust layout looks set to be pressed into service – having to wait until Barcelona. “Next week in Bahrain we won’t have any particularly significant updates, so we cannot expect a miracle: we must try and squeeze the maximum out of what we have to work with,” he added.

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175 Comments
  1. Luca says:

    A piece about an English designer setting to overhaul Ferrari’s process can bring up uneasy memories.

    For Ferrari’s sake I sincerely hope Fry’s regime plays out more like that of the exceptional Ross Brawn 2.0 than that of the febrile John Barnard.

    BTW: On the subject of Ross Brawn, who never ceases to amaze me. Given the absolute competitiveness of F1, I doubt there can be many more competetent managers out there in the public eye.

    In terms of subject matter excellence, enterpreneurial courage, man management, media poise as well as personal charm the guy is a total star. Cannot help but be delighted with his success.

    1. Justin Bieber says:

      The thing I don’t understand is how can it have changed so much since Todt left?

      They should have hired Brawn instead of bumping up Domenicali in 2008. I know he was groomed by Todt as a replacement but Brawn is a proven winner.

      I hope they get their sh*t together and give us 2010 like 2nd half season.

      1. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        Brawn wasn’t Italian. Rumour has it LdM was trying to stoke national pride in order to boost his political career.

      2. Phillip H says:

        If the rumours about LdM are true, then that move would be true folly.

        Look at Mercedes at the moment, they are enjoying a purple patch in much the same way as ex-Honda team, Brawn did.

        A technical innovation gives them a headstart on the pack.

      3. Martin says:

        There are a few things that you have to remember. Brawn isn’t doing Domenicalli’s job now – that is Nick Fry. The media presence is just very different, particularly as Brawn had the money to buy out Honda, thanks in part to Ferrari and Honda salaries.

        I suspect Ross probably liked the challenge of turning BAR/Honda into a winning team. He would have been extremely well paid to live at home rather than in Italy.

        Basically Domenicalli needs to provide the likes of Fry with the resources to get the job done, replace key people if he senses they are not getting the job done etc, but in this case he himself has another boss in LDM.

      4. hero_was_senna says:

        Brawn left for a sabbatical in 2007. He returned to take over at Honda. Who knows the real reason.
        I think whats happened is that since the Todt era, Ferrari, relied on their testing ethos, with 2 test tracks and 4 drivers available to test 24 hours a day.
        Since 09, that particular weapon in their armoury has been removed.
        Mosley had a more profound long term effect on Ferrari than simply stating they had had a veto against rule changes.
        Costa has carried on as lead designer since but without investing in the tools to replace the test tracks.
        Technicaly Ferrari are 3 years behind the other teams, because they invested in other technologies which are factory based.

  2. Chris D says:

    That sounds like the words of someone who has:

    Been employed
    Been ignored or over-ruled
    Been proved right

    He’s now in that unique position where you don’t care about softening what you say, because if they STILL don’t listen, you’d rather get the hell out

    Interesting times.

    1. Snailtrail says:

      Gotta agree with this comment – Fry either isnt aware of Ferrari’s stand on these sort of comments about them (how can he be) or is at the point where he doesnt care.

      Fry seems to be publicly vocal about the problems faced by Ferrari for a while now – its interesting someone in his position is going about it like this.

    2. James Clayton says:

      I don’t know. I kind of imagine the following happened:

      Pat (to McLaren): What we need is an aggressive approach and a radical new car.
      Mclaren: No Pat, our car’s pretty good. Let’s build on the momentum we have.

      (x weeks pause)

      Pat (to Ferrari): What you need is somebody to design you a radical new car. I’m your man…

      Of course this is totally hypothesizing and I have nothing to back this up, but these words sound like they’re coming from somebody who’s job is on the line because *his* idea backfired and now he needs to pass the buck to pretty much everybody else in a desperate attempt to keep his job.

      1. Martin says:

        Considering that Fry left McLaren in 2010 to be Aldo Costa’s deputy, I doubt McLaren turned him down. The Wikipedia entry gives him credit for the 2005, 2007 and 2009 McLarens – two of which were quite good.

        Another explanation is that Fry is just trying to explain what is going on in team that has a history of firing staff including drivers. Ferrari has a recent history of making extensive use of Fiorano and Mugello rather than simulation.

        Back of Fry, a criticism in Autosport of the F2012 is that the overall archetecture lacks a clear vision. Individual experts have joined up their bits and the whole is working together.

      2. Rod Aguirre says:

        I think you’re right. The change to a radical design, with that risky pull rod and all the rest, is Fry’s doing. They should have evolved the old car, on which they had surely tons of data, and Ferrari would have been better off than with this dog. They’re wasting Alonso big time and that’s a shame.

      3. Aadil says:

        I totally agree!

        The whole reason Ferrari are in this mess is because PAT FRY brought about massive changes to the team apart from the radical car!

        They spent all of last season restructuring the team around him now he still complains that more things “methedology’s” need 2 be changed.

        Im not so sure!

        Yes Ferrari didnt do well last yr either but atleast they werent that far back!

        All Ferrari needed 2 do was give Aldo Costa abit more freedon with his 2012 design.

        The fact that he went 2 Merc and Ross Brawn didnt wait 2 hire him and the fact that Merc are in such a strong position in the first place.

    3. Pat is now the guy who says: ‘Told ya, told ya and you ignored me’.

    4. Quercus says:

      I agree. The fact he’s saying this publicly suggests he’s trying to get his way. If he was being listened to, what purpose would it serve Ferrari to wash their smalls in public?

    5. AJIndy says:

      Many times these problems come right from the top. Didn’t Luca himself recently say he thought F1 was too much about aero “fiddling”? What message does that send to the team?

    6. Andrew says:

      Well he designed the car in the first place so its his fault if its slow! The car last year was very competitive when the exhaust blowing was turned down for silverstone. If they had just evolved that car then they would probably be much closer now.

      1. Kevin says:

        That’s what I thought too. I put that idea forward on this blog several weeks ago and someone explained to me that the 2011 car had reached the end of its development path. It was better to design a new car from scratch. I hope that helps

      2. Brace says:

        Pretty much like Red Bull’s concept. It seems it’s not going much further. It started way back in 2009 as a most complete concept (minus double diffuser), and it was so good that they were able to develop it further with a great success for another 3 years. Ferrari’s old concept apparently (according to what I’ve read) didn’t have any more potential left it it. It’s bound to hurt in the beginning but you have to make a transition.

      3. Andrew Carter says:

        Only because cars designed around the blown diffuser suddenly didnt have it to work with and so were much slower than they should have been, Ferrari were made to look faster than they actually were at that race.

  3. paddy says:

    Nightmare :-|

  4. AlexD says:

    James – thank you for putting this article together! I was thinking, where do I put my thoughts about the situation at Ferrari and here we go, you gave the opportunity.

    REALITY. Ferrari is not catching up with best teams and is fighting with the midfield today. They are going to same root that Williams went. I do not see Ferrari winning a title this or next year and I do not see them winning anytime soon with the management they have today.

    WRONG PEOPLE. Ferrari F1, is not a Brand, it is a team, a group of people. It was not a Brand that was dominating, it was Jean, Ross, Schumi, Rory, etc. LDM decided to ignore Ross and gave the lead to Stefano – biggest mistake. Than they fired Kimi and hired Alonso, who is not a man with a clean heart. Alonso is very good as a driver and pretty much a leader they needed, but he is not an honest, decent person. They are losing a lot of good people and all these people went elsewhere and started winning over there – e.g. Mercedes.

    FUTURE. There is something very-very wrong with Ferrari. LDM is saying that this is the Brand that should be treated in a special way. I think not. Unless there is going to be a time when other honest, decent, passionate and most talented people will form a team, Ferrari will not have a future of winning.

    Even today, Fry is saying this or that…but it is only matter of time for him and Domenicali to be sacked for not delivering against expectations.

    What Fry said is exactly what I thought is going on. Best people left and they took everything with them…a Brand can never win. You need people to do it.

    Good luck LDM, maybe you will understand it one day….or will give a chance to other people to understand.

    1. Simon Donald says:

      Could not agree more with what you say in your post and as a McLaren fan, I’m more than happy to see Ferrari struggle!

    2. Neha says:

      Than they fired Kimi and hired Alonso, who is not a man with a clean heart. Alonso is very good as a driver and pretty much a leader they needed, but he is not an honest, decent person. They are losing a lot of good people and all these people went elsewhere and started winning over there – e.g. Mercedes.
      >>

      What clean heart you are talking about? This is F1, the circus run by the Mosleys, Bernies and Briatores. If push comes to shove you lie, throw innocent person under the bus and survive another day, Ask Dave Ryan, Ask Ron Dennis, who in same breath told people he was raised by stern mom, and her attention to details led to him becoming a micro manager, and in same breath told WMSC hearing that Ferrari design details were viewed only by few individuals in the Woking factory.

      While Alonso is definitely not a saint, but then there are none in F1, and if there are they a bullied by teams, fans, and media associated by F1, till they leave F1

      1. Don Farrell says:

        +1

    3. Quattro_T says:

      “but he is not an honest, decent person”

      I looked forward, after reading the introduction of your post, to see your thoughts on the Ferrari situation. It was interesting until I read the above statement, which in my view, is very inappropriate and very incorrect view of one of our times greatest champions.
      I suppose you know Alonso very well on a personal level, because you would have to if you were to give such an assessment of his person.

      Frankly my view on him, based on his statements in the media and his actions on the track (I never had the pleasure to have a personal relation to the great Alonso) are total opposite to what you obviously seem to know. He behaves very well on the track, never risking his or other drivers safety/cars for own winning (as I know other current champions have done and are doing still on occations). He is very frank in the interviews and his statements/opinions have more often than not turned out to be very honest and correct. Most important, he is achieving with the latest Ferraris things that no one though would be possible.

      1. AlexD says:

        I am talking something different. I am talking the Spy gate at McLaren and crash gate at Renault. Alonso was at the center of these two big scandals. Being the top driver is not everything….he will understand it when he is going to be 50-60 year old.

        I wish he had balls to say the truth.

      2. Quattro_T says:

        Of course you are, what else. Let me ask you then – were you an insider at Mclaren and Renault at those occations/times? If no, then I say once again you are making empty statements about a person based on no solid facts. If you are using media reports in your personal attack
        on Alonso, you should know those reports seldom give the complete picuture of things, even if
        they happen to be “not made up”. Some would for example argue that people would appreciate a
        person who in any way contribute to exposing a crime (e g espionage) as quite a decent person.
        The exception would maybe be relatives to the one committing the offence/crime or people
        rooting for that person/entity. And regarding Renault crash gate – I was under the impression
        that those found reponsible for it are known and was punished for it long time ago. Maybe you know something no one else know, then please enlighten us. Or even better, send a letter to the FIA.

      3. rafa says:

        eeeerrr. The spygate scandal: Alonso was not in the centre of things. He new there was the spying and tried to blackmail Dennis into giving him uncontested status as number 1 in the team in exchange for not blowing the whistle. It was not an example of honesty or sortsmanship, but the people at the centre as you would say, were in fact McLaren’s management, and more to the core, Ron Dennis, no other, so don’t let your inclinations confuse you.

        Crashgate. At the centre of things were Renault’s management and Nelsinho. Alonso was found clean by the FIA (but if you know more, maybe you should put forward what you know). Alonso’s made a lot of mistakes, but to pin these scandals to him is a joke. Get off yer high horse.

      4. Derek Nickels says:

        Part of Ferrari’s problem is Alonso. Being the brilliant driver he is,he can drag a poor car much further up the grid than is deserved,much like Webber in his Jaguar days. They need a driver that has a better ability to relay information such as Button or Barricello,but they blew that chance. They should take up the 1 established driver,1 young gun approach for starters. While Alonso beats his teammate easily he can just blame the car. Would be very interesting to see what would happen if say Kobyashi or Perez were the 2nd driver? Unfortunately Massa has never been the same since his accident when hit by the flying piece of Barricello’s Brawn, Sad,but true, and will always struggle now. Bottom Line-FERRARI HAS SOME BIG DECISIONS TO MAKE BEFORE THEY ARE A PERMANENT MIDFIELD TEAM!

    4. gorgonzola says:

      Best report I have ever read….That is why companies and governments fail today. Because of rubbish marketing wish wash and theories that hang in the air.

      Quality people is what it is all about and all it will ever be.
      For example ,a nother reason why Germany for example in the economic crisis is the LEAST affected, cause they Build things they create them, they are not schemers….

    5. doug vx says:

      Couldn’t agree more…well said!

  5. CurlyPutz says:

    If Pat Fry keeps being quite so open I can see him heading the same way as Costa, seen it before with Montezemolo.

    Fair play to him though, sounds like Ferrari fans are in for a tough year! I wonder how Nando must be feeling right now, what a waste of his skill this 2012 Ferrari is, such a shame.

    1. Brent McMaster says:

      I keep wondering, if Ferrari don’t get it together, if Alonso won’t move next year with seats open at every team.

  6. David Payne says:

    It makes you wonder what on Earth they were doing when they gave up pursuing the championship last year to focus on this year’s car.

    I’m guessing it won’t be long before they do the same for this year, i.e. give up and focus on the 2013 car.

    I feel sorry for Alonso as he deserves better. Massa is the only driver apart from the 3 back of the grid new teams not to have scored a point. Bad days for Ferrari.

    1. breda says:

      i think they should give up on 2013 too and just focus on a new car for the new engines/rules in 2014… surely they could get it right with 20 odd months developement!!

      1. Derek Nickels says:

        You’d think so,It’s what Honda had done except they didn’t see it through. Bet the person who made that decision got their backside kicked! Brawn/Mercedes got the benefit but it show’s that stepping back and targeting a year down the track gives the ability to have the necessary time to create a competitive car! But you have to have the right procedures in place which obviously are not, so you’re right,use this year to get those processes right and them use next year to concentrate on 2014

  7. Alonso fan says:

    Sadly I don’t think they’ll manage to catch up unless they get lucky, every other team will also be bringing upgrades to Spain.

    I don’t ask for domination just a few tenths off the best and the Spaniard will do the rest, love him or hate him it’ll make this already great season even better if he can compete at the front.

    Great site James.

  8. Luca says:

    Can someone give me a good back ground to Fry – i’m not 100% sure what his background is and how successful he and prior teams run by him have been?

    I just get the impression that since bringing over a lot of people from Mclaren, he is trying to mould Ferrari into the way he is used to doing things rather than adapt to the way Ferrari has being doing things for years… his call as he is the technical director and who is to say one is better than the other really.

    Either way, something needs to be done as the empty promises of fast cars is becoming very depressing….

    realistically, Ferrari need to make up 1.2-1.4sec by Spain as the other teams will progress and Ferrari are already 1sec behind!

    1. James Allen says:

      He was DC’s engineer for years at McLaren, before that at Benetton. He ended up as one of the two heads of design at McLaren before the Ferrari move

      1. HansB says:

        From what I have read, this Ferrari is not his first dog of a car at seasons start.

      2. Phillip H says:

        HA!

        I’ve just noticed the correlation between early season dogs of cars and Pat Fry’s employment!

      3. ttwan says:

        Hi James, what do you think is the reason Ferrari selected him over others (of course there are news Newey turned down Ferrari’s offer) as the replacement for Aldo?

      4. McLaren78 says:

        …and to add, the cars he was involved in designing at McLaren were those of 2005, 2007 and the awful one in 2009.

      5. Warren Groenewald says:

        Well, that “awful” car of 2009 turned out to be pretty quick by mid season once they had solved it’s initial issues, and I think that Ferrari are in a pretty similar situation at the moment.

        I don’t believe the car will be stuck mid field after Barcelona. It has good pace on full fuel, they just need to maintain that pace on empty tanks and I’m sure the car will be much better overall.

    2. Quercus says:

      There’s a thing called Google that’s very good at this sort of thing. Just put ‘ “Pat Fry” motorsport’ in the little window, click on search and 187,000 references come up including… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Fry

  9. Mike J says:

    “deep-rooted problems” are pretty serious words. It seems that Fry is hinting that the first half of 2012 is gone with an improvement hopefully in the second half of the season at best. His description of the problems is not one that is fixed overnight or in a month or three.

    Changes at the ‘top’ is the way to change the direction they (Ferrari) take. Hopefully we will see Ferrari make a charge like 2010 and the mixed results so far with the close performance of all teams may indirectly help their cause. But those ‘deep rooted problems’ may start at the top……

  10. Chris says:

    James, how long can Ferrari not deliver and Stefano Domenicali hang on to his position. He must be under threat?

    1. jay jacob says:

      But, does Ferrari have a replacement for Domenicali? If they don’t have someone internally, they’ll have to poach from other teams which may further stunt

      Also, to be fair to Pat Fry, it takes a good two or three years before you can produce strong results. Both Ross Brawn and Adrian Newey took the same amount of time before their new teams produced results.

      Ross moved to Ferrari at end ’96 and Ferrari won Constructors’ in ’99, Ross then moved to Honda/Brawn GP at end ’07 and won both titles in ’09… Adrian moved to Red Bull in ’06 and won both titles in ’10 & ’11.

      And despite F2012′s current poor form, the car did win in Sepang and beat the McLarens under the same conditions, all they have to do now is sort out the car so that it performs for all conditions.

      So, i think we should use this year to gauge Pat’s capability as technical director to sort the car’s competitiveness, and give him at least two more years to refine Ferrari’s infrastructure. We have to remember that the system built by Todt/Brawn/Byrne may not be suitable under Pat’s regime but that’s ok because systems must be allowed to evolve to extract the best of currently available resources.

      1. Chris says:

        don’t think Pat’s under pressure yet (wouldn’t surprise me if he has access to Saubers designs tho lol)

        Domenicali has been there a long time now, and it’s just not happening. I agree to replace him they’d have to look outside, and my choice would be Christian Horner? Cost them a fair whack though. That in turn may lead them to getting their hands on Adrian (but as I stated above, I don’t think Pat’s under pressure, but they drop him in a heartbeat for Newey)and Vettel.
        One thing I found out this week, that I didn’t know about Newey, is he designed championship winning Indy Car’s and Indy 500 winners. The man is just a cut above!!!

        Wouldn’t surprise me if Alonso starts demanding Domenicali’s head to senior Ferrari management if things don’t start improving.

      2. Brace says:

        Thank God someone actually made a sensible post that doesn’t sound like angry peasant mob with forks and hatchets.
        The worst thing they could do is to make some knee-jerk reaction again. LdM should just give open hands to Stefan, Pat & Co. to take time and put the whole structure in place for the future.

  11. MISTER says:

    A bit offtopic, but I want to see if I’m the only one who cannot notice the ugly noses on the cars anymore? I got used to them after 2-3 races.

    Must be the outstanding action we had on the track in these past 3 GP.

    I hope Ferrari will recover at least 0.4s in Spain. They need at least that on top of everyone’s else improvements to stay in the hunt and to give them a moral boost that they are on the right track.

    1. JohnBt says:

      From afar the nose is not really prominent, it’s the close ups that makes me say ‘yucks’.

      1. Phillip H says:

        I saw the close up of Rosberg’s Mercedes in parc ferme and it scared my children.

  12. HFEVO2 says:

    Ferrari were successful in the Schumacher era because they also had Ross Brawn and Jean Todt and they outspent everyone else : They also had the luxury of having teams of test drivers pounding round their own test track – Fiorano – on an almost daily basis.

    Now that’s no longer possible and the RRA plus the absence of testing has exposed other shortcomings in the team’s methodology.

    They will have to work very hard to catch up as they don’t appear to have a designer anywhere near the status of Adrian and Ross to draw upon.

    As a McLaren enthusiast I want to see a competitive Ferrari for my team to beat fair and square.

    By bringing in Pat Fry from McLaren they will clearly benefit from his experience of McLaren’s processes but it’s not looking likely to come good anytime soon.

    1. Hendo says:

      And those test drivers “pounding round their own test track – Fiorano – on an almost daily basis” were fine tuning the Bridgestone tyres to suit the Ferrari.

      1. HFEVO2 says:

        Excellent Point !

        I always thought that Ferrari had an over-close relationship with Bridgestone.

        It seems to born out by the fact that Bridgestone’s tyre development, Hirohide Hamashima is now working at Maranello.

        No doubt Mercedes would have a similar benefit had Continental not Pirelli had taken over the F1 contract.

  13. sumedh says:

    Does this mean that a lot of Italians are going to be dumped in favour of Pat Fry’s chosen ones at Maranello now?

    1. jay jacob says:

      Try not to think of it as Italians loosing jobs but rather in terms of ‘the best people’ for the job.

      Remember in the mid-90′s, Ferrari poached Schumacher, Brawn, Byrne from Benetton and went on to dominate for 5 consecutive years (’00 to ’04), and all of this was done under Montezemolo’s watch so i’m inclined to think that he’ll want ‘the best people’ to repeat the success.

  14. Rob Newman says:

    In race trim, the Ferrari is not that bad. China is an exception because DRS was not effective. Bahrain will be a different story. Also, Massa was closer to Alonso in China.

    Ferrari need to find the underlying problems of the car. One driver standing in front of the garage looking at the mechanics and engineers in an intimidating manner is not going to solve any problems.

    1. Brent McMaster says:

      Bahrain will be hot and dry; I think Ferrari will be really poor there. I am excited to see how the Sauber goes at Bahrain where the others will be running the large brake ducts for cooling.

  15. Alex says:

    Wonder if Alonso has a performance clause enabling him to leave Ferrari before 2016?

    1. MrNed says:

      But where would he go? I agree with those who say he deserves a competitive car, and that it would add to the excitement, but where are the openings in the currently competitive teams?

      1. rafa says:

        i’m tempted to think that Alonso landing in an outfit immidiately renders it uncompetitive! not his fault though!

      2. Phillip H says:

        Mark Webber’s contract is up at the end of the year.

      3. Alex says:

        Well how about a Sauber? Just kidding!

        What about Mercedes in 2013?

  16. Kevin McCaughey says:

    I think it’s the old fashioned authoritarian rule of Montezemalo that is the problem. These kinds of things are usually top down, with everyone afraid of the boss, usually the type you can’t tell anything to.

    I think that this will take years to recover from and Fernando has wasted his 5 years there and will retire with no more titles. That is, unless he jumps. He is not called Dick Dasterdly for nothing.

    Real shame :(

  17. Kevin McCaughey says:

    I also think that Ferrari is very much a representation of the state of Italy at large. Note that Italy itself is currently tanking and was run by a guy quite similar (not talking about bedrrom antics) to Mr M. It’s a type of patriarchy that Italians are still prepared to accept.

    1. jay jacob says:

      A bit harsh there mate to criticize & stereotype all Italians…

      Mr M was instrumental in setting up Ferrari’s domination from ’00 – ’04, and i think what he’s asking himself is whether he’s got the right people/system or does he have to poach from other teams to get it?

      1. LT says:

        I would say Jean Todt was instrumental in setting up Ferrari’s domination from ’00 – ’04, not old man Monty. Before Todt the reds were about as lost as they are now.

      2. James Allen says:

        It was the boss LDM who hired the right guy: Todt and he in turn hired the right guys: Schumacher, Brawn, Byrne etc. That’s how successful companies work.

  18. F458 says:

    Basically all Pat Fry is saying is that the whole team is not very good – Ferrari takes a dim view on its staff slating its cars/team, remember what happened to Prost?
    Stuff about changing methodologies takes years to achieve. I don’t how they can carry on blaming the wind tunnel when i thought all top teams used the Toyota windtunnel anyway?

    1. Steven says:

      Most ”big” teams have their own

    2. jay jacob says:

      The wind tunnel is just a tool : “garbage in = garbage out”

      Data correlation between the CAD model and the Wind Tunnel model is probably the main problem, and every team has it’s own recipe; this is a test of Pat Fry’s technical capability to iron-out the problem.

    3. hero_was_senna says:

      Ferrari has 2 wind-tunnels.
      Last year they increased it’s scale to 60% and to allow cornering to be included in the results.
      They made use of the Toyota wind-tunnel because they realised they had correlation issues and wanted to run checks in a non-competitors tunnel.

  19. Andrew Carter says:

    Given that the old impirical system of throwing bits at the car, testing them to destruction and seeing what works to slowly build up a map of the development path is no longer viable with the testing ban, we’re seeing a new development system based on icreasingly complex simulation tools. Fry himself said last year that this is an area where Ferrari are behind the likes of McLaren and Red Bull and it’s not something that can be changed particularly quickly. When you look at it like that, it’s not a surprise that they are off the pace.

    Having said that, despite the one lap pace of the car being non existant, Alonso was doing a good job of racing Webber (again, those two always seem to find each other on the track) until he got on the marbles late on a nd dropped back.

  20. Interesting assessment of where Ferrari are at right now. I think the aerodynamic shortcomings reflect Ferrari’s particular disdain for the new aero-based F1. Montezemolo recently spoke out against the aero regulations saying they don’t make airplanes or spaceships, they build racing cars!

    I also wonder how much of an effect the ban on testing has truly hurt Ferrari. In the testing heyday they seemed to be the cream of the crop. They had their own test track and a seemingly endless budget to pour into it. I imagine that the transition to limited testing has hurt them the most.

    1. Steven says:

      All the teams have the same rulebook, ultimately its down to the team. The FIA can’t taylor the rulebook to the shortcomings of a certain team.

      1. Agreed 100%, I just think Ferrari is having a harder time coping with the change. The rule book puts the teams on a more level playing field, not necessarily where Ferrari have spent much time in the last 20 years!

        To their credit though, Ferrari have weathered worse…

  21. F1Fan4Life says:

    James, I’d really like your opinion on this as I completely don’t understand. How can Ferrari be fundamentally wrong in building cars? They had the best stretch of cars between 2000-2005. Did the rest of the team not learn anything from Brawn, Todt, Byrne and co? I just find this to be hard to believe. Surely, fundamentally they must have been sound. In 2010 they had the 3rd fastest car, since then they’ve gone backwards.

    Last year after the first couple of races I said I hope Alonso moves to Mercedes. But last year they said they had an issue with the wind tunnel. Mercedes began working on this years car early last season, throwing focus behind it, and Ferrari did the same a little later in the year. So they started early (basically giving up last season to focus fully) and still aren’t even as fast as a Sauber or a Williams? In comparison Mercedes has blossomed. It seems to me that this is a downward spiral over the last three years. I’m not a fan that believes Ferrari are the best, I know they’ve made many terrible cars, but after the 5 years of success with Brawn & co, at least I thought fundamentally they’d be sound.

    Do you believe Pat Fry is right about them basically being wrong in building a car in every way? I don’t. There is obviously something wrong but unless the team unlearend everything since 2005 or so, i can’t believe it. Secondly, they say Bahrain will be the worst because their car lacks traction and top speed. What exactly does that mean…is that a way of saying they lack aerodynamic ability?

    1. Neha says:

      They had the best stretch of cars between 2000-2005. Did the rest of the team not learn anything from Brawn, Todt, Byrne and co?
      >> They seem to have lost that hotline to Ferrari International Assistance from that golden era, haven’t they?

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        how blinkered!!
        Ferrari had no championship winning success from 1983 to 1999…
        Brawn, Byrne, Todt and Schumacher were employed by LDM to turn Ferrari around.
        Todt started in 1993, Schumacher 1996, Brawn and Byrne in 1997.
        They discovered a Ferrari team that was so far behind the other teams, it was no surprise they were not competing.
        It took them 3 years to build the team up to state of the art and dominated till 2004.

        This supposed hotline to the Ferrari IA wasn’t working that well when Mosley decided to change the rules for 2005 to give Michelin the advantage with tyres needing to last all weekend.

        Pat Fry has come into a team that won in 2007 and 2008 and has been steadily losing performance since 2009, essentially when the FIA removed testing from the calendar.

        It’s not LDM’s fault that Costa didn’t invest in the teams infrastructure. From everything I have read of the man, he was too conservative, wouldn’t allow anyone else’s input and generally slowed the development team down.

        Pat Fry may be speaking out because he is shouldering the pressure. He was never particularly vocal whilst at Mclaren.

        Ferrari will be back

      2. Neha says:

        This supposed hotline to the Ferrari IA wasn’t working that well when Mosley decided to change the rules for 2005 to give Michelin the advantage with tyres needing to last all weekend.
        >> And still Mosley acted stubborn at Indy, and not allowed use of chicane on the oval part of track to help Michelin runners participate in the race??

        And then after seeing that Ferrari/Bridgestone struggled on the “Single Tyre per race” rule, Moseley/FIA hurriedly canceled that rule. Michelin left F1 frustrated, with all the constant rule changes mainly aimed against Michelin runners. Only strong Bridgestone team in that era was – Ferrari.

        If everybody is outraged at how biased Stewards behaved in Malaysia while wrongfully penalizing Narain in favor of Vettel in Malaysia, that pretty much was the story all through 2000-05 the era where Schumacher could get away with murder on the track and it was his competitors that were handed wrong penalties – Incidents like Malaysia 2002 (see video) http://youtu.be/IJJXIgnjug0 were common place.
        If you look at stewarding these days and compare with Schumacher’s indiscretions that were overlooked, one can’t help but think about where FIA’s loyalties were in Schumi-Todt-Brawn era

    2. Kevin says:

      I believe it’s because of the testing ban. Other tams have coped by using high end computer simulation to develop their cars. Ferrari don’t have anywhere near the same facilities. I guess computers are not very ‘passionate’! We have 11 teams competing in the digital age and 1 team still using old school analogue. Ferrari were the ones who wanted In season testing back and Ferrari International Assistance provided for them. Do you know who owns Muggello race track and who provided it to the FIA free of charge?? Hmmmm

  22. Jeroen says:

    I am just not so sure Fry has the credentials to make these kind of statements. In my opinion McLaren got rid of him as the cars he was design wise responsible for turned out dogs.

    Also James what is currently the position of legend Rory Byrne? Was he not involved? Any chance they let him design for next year?

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes Rory was involved as a consultant

      1. JohnBt says:

        That I am really surprised.

  23. Dunky says:

    All sounds like it’s getting a bit political, similar to the early 1990′s.

    My view from the outside is that Domenicalli is a great guy but lacks leadership qualities.

    I think there is consenus that Ferrari needs fundamental reform, but its just a matter of deciding which direction they go in.

    They are wasting the biggest asset they have in Alonso. He is only thing that has given them any real credibility since 2010. When he decides he’s had enough the team are in real trouble.

  24. Nathhulal says:

    This week’s GP Week also covered this topic. Interestingly the magazine also covered troubles between Italian champion Valentino Rossi and the Italian Marquee Ducati.

    One can’t but help and think that this problem is essentially “Italian Management” thing.

    One other hand the management structure, development methodology that Ferrari has currently is vestigial from Todt-Schumi-Brawn era of total dominance and one can’t help but wonder, why the methodologies that worked in 2000-06 era don’t work anymore.

    Comparison with McLaren is quite obvious and the way the British team has adapted to changing regulations (rather constantly changing), elimination of in-season testing is a good study of what is needed to succeed in current F1.

    When Ron Dennis focused on building the technology center, state of art simulator between 2000-06, his team, drivers, partners (in Mercedes) were left frustrated, especially that results were not coming (exception of 2005). But stubborn that Dennis was he stuck to his guns and from 2007 onwards the results have started pouring in. McLaren has managed varied changes right from switching to Bridgestone, to no inseason testing seamlessly.

    Development methodology that Fry is referring to is probably that helped McLaren to quickly turn around seasons like 2009, 2011, when the car that was launched in winter was not competitive, but by mid season was already back in winner circles.

    Maybe all the allegations of Todt-Schumi-Brawn in cahoots with FIA in their era of supremacy are indeed true and FIA assistance was probably their only “development methodology” back then, something that doesn’t work anymore. These days when Ferrari criticizes FIA/FOM, likes of Bernie are not shy to remind them “if F1 is circus, we are thankful to Ferrari for sending clowns”.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Results have been pouring in since 2007,
      Really?
      2007 was proven as the year they used Ferrari data to the benefit of their car.
      Mclaren were the only ex-Michelin team to be competitive on Bridgestones immediately.
      Pat Symonds alluded to this in an interview at the time saying only one team had lucked into the subtleties of the Japanese tyres.

      Mclaren used Ferrari information in using the correct gas for heat control on their tyres, how to use ballast for the best balance for Bridgestone and also what effect brake heating would impact on the tyres performance.

      Even in 2008, they had directives from the FIA that they couldn’t use certain design features as they were developed from Ferrari technology.

      2009, they were an embarrassment till massive investment won them a couple of races.
      In 2010 they were competitive till 3/4 of the way through the season before Red Bull and Ferrari out-performed them.

      2011, yes they were close to Red Bull on occasions but they were also very poor on many occasions. Only a major exhaust copying session made them competitive, and in Silverstone, with it’s removal, they were 1.3 seconds behind.

      There’s only one team that since 2009 has been truly successful and winning consistently and that’s Red Bull. This seasons start aside.

      1. Nathhulal says:

        Mate, I am one the biggest McLaren critic under the Sun, and fully believe everybody in McLaren was aware of data received illegally from Ferrari [mod] BUT, please look at the timelines
        McLaren started receiving data from Ferrari only after the Ferrari staff got disgruntled on not getting that promotion in slot vacated by Ross Brawn.
        2007 season was already underway by the time they started getting data, so the McLaren car was fast out of box with both Alonso and Lewis were getting great result.
        further it was their first year with Bridgestone (in new millenium) and the transition was very seamless. Alonso had some adaptation trouble since he had driven on Michelins in Renault years, but that didn’t prevent him from winning races, neither did Lewis who was driving his first F1 car with Bridgestone.

        2008 – You have noted correctly that after the spygate scandal was uncovered, FIA had put heavy restrictions on what McLaren could do on their 2008 car and what they couldn’t(rather what would be interpreted as stealing Intellectual Property), So 2008 McLaren was working under lots of constraints, not to mention FIA was closely monitoring McLaren moves. And yet McLaren was the best car in the field. Again the way McLaren adapted to Bridgestones was amazing.
        There was direct title fight between Ferrari and McLaren in 2008 and in spite of the fact that Ferrari was working with Bridgestone for years, it was McLaren that was able to extract best out of Bridgestone through out the season.
        2008 was peculiar season in the fact that most races of this season happened under lower ambient temperature and variable weather conditions, While Ferrari handled miserably under these conditions (and they still haven’t worked out that issue of tyre management in cooler temperature), McLaren was handling brilliantly.

        So much so that when title race went to wire, Ferrari Boss did ask the team to fix the tyre issues, not wanting to lose championship due to tyre issues. Ferrari did get their head around in the final race, and Massa won brilliantly even under wet weather conditions in Brazil.

        2009 – Compare Ferrari and McLaren, while nobody was able to figure out the mysteries of double diffuser, and how to make it on their car, McLaren was able to get more wins than Solitary for Ferrari (Spa would have been FIF1 if not for KERS that FIF1 didn’t have). So again McLaren have better “Methodology” to turn around the season, even if they come up with bad car in winter.

        McLaren again proved that they are the best team when it comes to in-season development race. and success in F1 is all about which team wins the in-season development race.

        In 2010, 11 every new development on McLaren car that was tested by Gary Paffett on McLaren Similator was put on car and it worked perfectly, no other team (including RedBull) have perfected the “development” methodology as McLaren. and its this methodology that Pat Fry is referring.
        2010 – If not more driver errors by Lewis in crucial stage of championship (Monza, Singapore etc) Lewis was very much in title race till the last quarter of the season.

        2011 the car that McLaren launched and tested in winter was not up to scruff and that didn’t deter McLaren they came to Australia with brand new car, and Jenson did show that car was indeed competitive (of course not as competitive as RedBull), but if Lewis had not lost focus there was no reason why McLaren duo couldn’t have outscored Vettel.

        McLaren is one team that I don’t like (thanks to Ron Dennis and his bad people management), but if there is one team that I envy is McLaren (thanks to Ron Dennis and the person-independent “Development methodology he introduced after his fall out with Adrian Newey).
        I am big fan of “processes” and take no shame to admire that trait, even if comes from a team that I don’t like.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        I could counter every comment you have listed but my life’s too short to be consumed by mis-truths!

        1) Mclaren got data from Ferrari before the season started. I’m not sure of the timeline completely, but Wikipedia puts it as February 2007
        De La Rosa (Mclarens test driver) and Alonso were swapping emails during winter testing regarding the information about what effect the gases had on tyre performance.
        2) Your comment about every development they put on the car in 2010-11 worked perfectly, you may want to check back over your Autospaorts or whatever other literature you read, this was certainly not the case. A number of times, nothing improved and they would go back to the drawing board.

        As I say, I could carry on, but I’m bored now.

  25. Don Draper says:

    I can suggest a couple of relatively easy fixes, hire James Kay post haste and get Mark Webber in the F2013A.

    I’d say Kay is probably looking for a more stable job now Group Lotus is in disarray and MW’s stock is going up and up this year in my humble opinion.

    Get the Ferrari handling like a Sauber and get MW pushing Fernando to even greater heights. (Not that he needs pushing).If only I hadn’t misplaced Luca’s mobile number we could have the Scuderia humming in no time…

  26. Jose Arellano says:

    dont know why they bring Fry. the last car he designed was the 2009 mclaren wich was also pretty bad!

  27. goferet says:

    Hmm… from what I saw in China, Ferrari didn’t fall back to earth with a thump for I was under the impression their small upgrades had worked and they had infact made a step forward for wasn’t Alonso hassling Lewis towards the end of the race and it was only a mistake by Alonso when he tried passing Maldonado on the outside that left him in 9th place.

    And yes I very much expect another miracle in Bahrain from the Red team from not only do they own that track but I still recall what happened in Malaysia when they told us not to expect a miracle.

    Anyway Ferrari fans shouldn’t lose heart for the major upgrades are just round the corner, for I still believe this year’s title will be fought out between Fernando and Hammy for lets not forget with these new points system, a win is largely rewarded more so in times like this when no one driver is dominant.

    As for getting back to their early 2000 form, Pat Fry should realize everything goes through phases or dry spells, Williams is going through one at the moment and so is Ferrari… but getting out of such predicaments may not solely depend on changing the team’s structure for it’s more to do with luck & new regulations favouring a particular team e.g. the way the aero rules have favoured Red Bull.

  28. Been There Done That says:

    If Sauber are close to Ferrari in that they seem to be an unofficial feeder/young driver partner, could they not give them a bit of help in the basic areas of the cars geometry?

    Excuse me if this is a over simplistic comment, it just seems like common sense to me if they have any type of commercial relationship.

  29. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    It seems Ferrari would have some tough years ahead, not just few races.

    If you want to copy other car design, which one do you copy?
    McLaren, Mercedes, or Sauber?

    1. James Clayton says:

      Any copying you do now will only be good for next season anyway. The cars will be completely different from 2014…

  30. andrew says:

    I think what Fry means is that Ferrari is set up to design/build/operate cars that are meant to run light on fuel load, and be refueled mid-race. The no refueling era has tossed them a curve ball that they are not set up to properly respond to. We chronically hear that the Ferrari is a tire eater (wears out the rubber faster than other competitors). This most likely owes to designing a car that’s meant to run light, but now flounders under weight of a full load of petrol. Perhaps this help explains Alonso’s victory in Malaysia; he gained more ground at the end, when physically lighter. Pat Fry needs to exorcise Ferrari’s refueling design mentality….it runs very deep, they even brought Rory Byrne back this season. That had to be a step backward, if fuel weight is an issue?

    1. andrew says:

      I think what you have to remember is Ferrari was the last,and only team with a modern era V12. Back in those times, they threatened leaving the sport, altogether, if re-fuleing was banned. They knew the V12 was thirsty, they needed refueling to compete, and in order to survive. They prevailed back then; this time around they lost out on the vote. They have never escaped that old mentality, that’s the problem Fry is dealing with, at least I beleive. It’ that specifically ingrained mind set we’re seeing today; why else bring back Rory Byrne, at this late date? It’s a puzzling affair at best???? Self destructive? Maybe, but true to the cause of large displacement engines, which is Ferrari’s traditional hallmark.

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      Isn’t it funny andrew, that pre 2012, Ferrari’s underlying problem for some years was that they couldn’t generate sufficient heat into their tyres quick enough.
      One of their fundamental flaws last year in fact was that in qualifying they couldn’t get their tyres heated up properly, therefore not able to compete for pole position. It’s only in recent months that Ferrari have had tyre wear issues.

      Regarding the V12 and refuelling agenda’s.
      Ferrari since day dot has run V12, Flat 12, V8, V6 and turbo charged engines.
      The V12′s ranged in displacement from 1.5litres, to 3.5litres.
      From 1981 to 1988, they ran a V6 turbo engine. In 1989 they produced a V12 which continued till 1995. Honda at this time used a V10 and V12 from 1991 onwards. Renault used a V10 and Ford a V8.
      The V12 was the greatest power output, the V8 the less thirsty, but the best compromise was a V10 as used by Williams Renault.
      The re-introduction of refuelling in 1994 was to spice the show up. The cynic in me thinks this is TV wanting stationary cars for TV coverage, not because it will add to the racing spectacle.
      Why is it, for eg, that TV showed Buttons stop in Malaysia and yet missed Alonso over-taking Perez for the lead!

      One of the requirements/ demands Schumacher made with Ferrari was that they had to build a V10 as it was the best compromise for the regulations.

      It really does offend me when people claim that it’s Ferrari’s ingrained mentality.
      They are an international company that has raced consistently at the leading edge of F1. They have recruited engineers from all over the world and will continue to do so, why the constant rumours of speaking to Newey?
      But just as it took Newey from 2006 till 2009 to produce a race winning car with the Red Bull team, don’t delude yourself that Ferrari wouldn’t be the same.

      All I have seen since 2009, is a team slowly losing its direction, whether technological or other. At a time that they were spending/ investing in their testing facilities, the British teams were investing in technology because they knew they couldn’t compete with Ferrari on those terms.
      I’m not sure if you know, but Mclaren looked at purchasing Lydden Hill as their private test facility but Kent Council wouldn’t approve planning permission for many updates.

      Maybe Enzo was ahead of his time when he built Fiorano in 1972. But in the 21st century, things have changed.

      1. andrew says:

        Ferrari needed refueling to keep their V12 active as long as possible in the sport, when everybody else had changed over to less thirsty engines. V12 also symbolized their road cars high luxury value. The Typo 166, way back when had a V12, it’s their ingrained history to push for luxury configurations. Just look at the new FF.

        Today F1 is practically enduro racing, except for the tires, nothing else changes over the course of the race, except the car’s weight diminishes. Today it’s a sprint race to the next tire change, the car’s weight cannot be raised, only lowered. Previously, the weight increased again at each refueling pit stop and Ferrari dominated. They are caught out by this continously downward weight dynamic. When they are heavy they eat tires, when light and having available fresh rubber they fly. Ferrari simply does not have the right design balance for today’s sprint format.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        You seriously believe you are right don’t you?
        Refueling wasn’t introduced because Ferrari requested it.
        In 1994, Ferrari had the 355 replace the 348, a V8, they had the 512M or Testarossa, a flat !2 and the 456 a V12 gran tourer. Not quite a luxury configuration.
        Bear in mind also that between 1981 and 1988 they ran a V6 turbo engine which didn’t figure in any of their road cars either.

        So, to follow on, is todays F1 an enduro race or a sprint, you seem confused.
        Funny really because the Schumacher era or the refueling era was about a sprint format.
        The cars being set up for 3 or 4 sprints in the race with smaller fuel tanks which teams designed their strategy around.

        Now, the only reason the drivers stop is because they are forced to by rules. I am aware that currently Pirelli self destruct in a given number of laps, but Bridgestone before had soft and hard compounds which could run all race. Vettel at Monza 2010 stopped on the last lap to comply with the regulations.

        As to your final point about weight, now I know you’re pulling my leg!
        In Australia, once they had race fuel in them they actually ran at a far quicker level than in qualifying.
        Once the fuel had been burnt off, they struggled and Maldonado was close behind Alonso for some laps during this period.
        In China you saw that on heavy fuel, Alonso was racy and competing with the others. After all, he came out behind Hamilton after their last stop, but Hamilton finished in 3rd because as Alonso’s car lightened, he just wasn’t competitive anymore.

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        “Previously, the weight increased again at each refueling pit stop and Ferrari dominated.”

        Forgot to add, Ferrari ran throughout the refueling era. 1994 to 2009, and dominated from 2000 to 2004.
        So where was this domination previously? In fact where was the domination after 04?
        I think that’s what’s called competition.

        I find it staggering, but for an error in strategy, Alonso would be a 3 time champion having a poor start to the 2012 season.
        Everyone speaks as if its a post mortem which is fine but says more about your personal points of view than Ferraris.
        Everyone in F1 is driven. One thing I know about successful people is that they accept failure as a learning curve, not a reason to give up.
        Fry’s comments are not like Prost’s calling the Ferrari a “truck”. He has explained in plain english there is work to be done.

  31. Haydn Lowe says:

    I wonder if his comments reflect the fact that Ferrari have clearly been most hampered by the Resource Restriction Agreement and in-season testing ban. If their whole operation is calibrated around ‘live’ testing on track – as it was throughout the Brawn/Todt/Schumacher era, they could be struggling to make the necessary changes to a more ‘theoretical’ testing regime (to coin a phrase…) – something which Mclaren and Newey/Redbull are obviously getting on top of much more easily. Reading between his lines, I think that is what he is getting at – the design ethos at Maranello is not suited to a limited testing regime and they need to alter how they work and even think about their cars in order to produce a fast car without thousands of miles of track testing. For me, that is the single factor which has led the Scuderia to the position they are in now.

    1. Hendo says:

      maybe they should hire Nick Wirth, isn’t he the guru on simulated testing & developement?

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Nirth Wirth,
        CV as follows….

        1994 designs Simtek.
        2010 designs Virgin with CFD only

        I know he also worked for Benetton during their worst seasons. I wouldn’t be rushing to hand design over to him

  32. r0ssj says:

    Ferrari have been going backwards for a few years now. Didn’t they start work on this years car quite early last season?

    Now they’re behind Red Bull, McLaren, Lotus and Merecedes. And really the Williams and Sauber look better as well. As well as aerodynamics the car seemed to lack straight line speed in China.

    Can’t see this season being anything but another barren year for Ferrari. Which is a shame, especially for Alonso. As much as I enjoy watching him drag something out of a dead horse, a driver of his skill should be at the front challenging for wins and championships.

  33. eric weinraub says:

    The day that Luca forgot that Ferrari became champions in spite of him, not because of him, that was the day it was game over. That day, of course, was the day that Michael was told/helped out the door… and with him, steadily, went Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne, Palo Martinelly, Nigel Stepney, Aldo Costa, and Jean Todt. Had Michael stayed even one more season, you can expect that Ferrari’s decline would have started AFTER 2008/09 given that cars are designed with the current, not future, drivers. Ferrari needs a complete overhaul and that starts at the VERY TOP.

    1. jay jacob says:

      Mate, did you forget that Ferrai was beaten by Renault both in ’05 & ’06 when Schumi / Brawn / Byrne / Martinelli / Stepney / Costa / Todt were still there?

      1. eric weinraub says:

        Don’t wish to spark a huge debate… but, Michelin were totally circumventing the rules by having their tires turn to slicks by the end of the race..and as soon as the FIA put a kabosh to that they were no longer dominant…as for ’06, one engine failure and one stupid FIA ruling in Monaco and it would have been 8 WDC titles for Schuey.

    2. Alex Antonoglou says:

      I believe you are being absolutely unfair towards LdM. After all, he built the dominant team of the ’00s (6 consecutive Constructors’ Titles, an all-time record) and he was also the Ferrari Team Principal during the 1970s golden years! Enzo Ferrari loved him!

      Ferrari’s problems have more to do with the restriction of testing and the total aero dependency of modern day F1. Ferrari has two privately owned tracks and it was used in testing all day long, nothing wrong with that really. Things changed but the team was not prepared. Other teams on the other hand were working less on the track and more on the drawing board, hence they are now in a batter position. On top of that, Ferrari has=ve traditionally been engine specialists – their engines were always some of the most powerful and in the V12 era some 200 BHP stronger than the V8s of the competition. Enzo used to say that the chassis is just a place to bolt on his V12s! Engine development (and mechanical development by large) is frozen and neutralised since 2006! That’s just a crime; Enzo would have never put up with such a thing!

      To sum up, Ferrari has lost two great assets; track testing and engine development. This played into the hands of the aero wizzards and simulation guys that were more prolific in other teams. This is the reason that LdM wants back testing and less aero dependency. He already achieved engine development from 2014 onwards; one down two to go then!

  34. BurgerF1 says:

    It seems one of the fundamental problems with Ferrari is adapting to the lack of testing. Whereas in prior years they proved concepts by pounding around Fiorano and Mugello, they now need to rely on simulation and windtunnel accuracy like the other teams. This has really been a weak point for them ever since those testing rule changes. Pat Fry points to a lack of windtunnel accuracy (or correlation to track) and a weak process in the use of simulation to bring new concepts forward.

  35. wildbob says:

    I can’t help but feel that this whole ‘latin’ temperament’ issue that Mr E jordan brought up has some weight. Massa rode the success of the Schumacher/Brawn era, and Alonso and Ferrari seem in an awfully similar position to Rossi and Ducati…lots of passion, but little real direction. And that would be a tragic waste of Alonso’s talent….Big changes at Ferrari before the year is out….

  36. Randy_Torres says:

    Porca madonna! This keeps getting worse. I almost wish Fernando hadn’t won in Malaysia and raised expectations…or should I say hopes. Fry is talking about some major and very expensive and long-term changes. I have a sinking feeling that we can forget about being competitive this year as well.

  37. Danny says:

    James,

    This isn’t a criticism of Pat Fry or what he is trying to do, but more a question of curiosity. Surely, when he joined Ferrari in May of 2011, these problems would have be present and evident then. If so, why is the team or Pat only addressing it now?

    Were there bigger fish to fry, no pun intended, at the time and only now is he getting to these issues? Or was it a case of giving the existing technical team the rope to hang itself so he could be proven right and then go about implementing the necessary changes?

  38. Peter Jones says:

    James,
    what do you think specifically he means when he refers to “methodologies.” Seems a bit of a vague term really.

    thanks

    peter jones

  39. James F says:

    You don’t expect Alonso, in a Ferrari, to be saying things like he thought sixth place was possible in China.
    Sad times for Ferrari.

  40. Cort says:

    Hmm.

    But for an uncharacteristic off yesterday Alonso would have been fighting Hamilton for third at the end. Indeed, before he went wide he had hauled Lewis in at a terrific rate and, without that off, could still be in the championship lead (these facts completely missed by the BBC TV commentators as well as Mr Fry).

    I’m not saying Ferrari don’t have problems. But it’s only fair to point out that, once again, Alonso is outperforming his car and having good Sundays.

  41. Robert Gunning says:

    In hindsight was the shakeup at the end of the 2010 season the correct decision for Ferrari. It was only caused by the botched strategy in Abu Dhabi (which was caused by the safety car on the first lap, and that the soft tyres did degrade as expected during the race). Before that point, the F10 started as a quick car, before morphing into championship contender towards the end of the season as a result of development. Since then however, Ferrari have gone backwards. I have your book James about Michael Schumacher, and I remember you stating that the team was in a sorry state back in 1996; with the design house based in the UK, the manufacturing in Italy, and the engine design at a separate location. I recall one of the procedures that Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne implemented was ensuring that everything was based on one site, so that there was better communication and continuity within the design process. However, what has happened; could something major have occurred since Brawn, Todt and Byrne left, if these procedures have been adhered to?

    I know he has been very diplomatic regarding the situation, but what has Alonso been saying behind closed doors; will he remain there if this trend continues, and is there a get-out clause in his contract?

  42. Sam Shawn says:

    I think Ferrari come-strongly after Mugello test

    what are the dates for the 2012 season tests?

    1. Quattro_T says:

      As much as I wish you are right, I am starting to understand this will not be the case. Ferrari has an idea about how many tenths the expected Mugello updates will give. I suspect that number is below below the 10-13 tenth needed to be on same level as the best, otherwise they would not start talking about changing methodologies and processes.
      Very big risk this will be another lost year for Alonso…On the other hand, it took Ferrari 5 years before they managed to give Schumacher a winning car and he went on to win five consecutive titles. Fingers crossed :)

  43. AlexNK says:

    Pat Fry took the reigns last year, and yet this year’s car looks even worse than the last year’s. They have reportedly sorted out their wind tunnel calibration problems and still produced an aerodinamically inefficient car. Talk about ‘methodologies’! Normally I’m not the one who approves knee-jerk reactions, but to me this guy Fry simply must go. At the beginning of the season he was feeding us the stuff about F2012 being a ‘complex car’ and needing some time to undrstand it, and now it’s simply a ‘wrong methodology’. Ferrari really needs someone who knows what he’s doing at the helm of their technical department.

  44. Salspeed says:

    Interesting comments from Fry.

    Ross Brawn spoke in 2007 about creating structures and development philosophies at Honda (which became Brawn and then Mercedes AMG), similiar to those he created at Ferrari before he left.

    This implies that the team continues to design and building successful cars through these processes, after key individuals (like Brawn) have left. This appeared to have worked as Ferrari continued to be competitive in 2007, 2008 and 2010. They were however caught out by the double diffuser in 2009 and the blown diffuser in 2011.

    I think this (relatively) successful structure may have been changed recently by Pat Fry for a more aggressive approach, which appears to have back-fired?

    Past experience also indicates that such fundamental problems with the car are not resolved via updates during a season and that a complete redesign of the F2012 may be required.

    1. Hendo says:

      Only 3 races in, its not too late to dump the F2012 and whip up a F2012B – Macca did it a couple of years ago.
      It’s just a matter of knowing that even if you keep pouring effort into a dog, it’s still a dog.
      Bail out of it now and bring out a B spec – this years championship is so jammed up with no clear dominator – so Ferrari have 4 1/2 months before Spa to almost start from scratch.
      That still leaves 9 races.

  45. paulmeyer says:

    Seems like all the good guys do their time at McLaren

  46. Kev says:

    Fry came early during 2011. What was he doing during the development of the 2012 car if he feels fundamentals are wrong now.

    This team was winning titles in the early part of 2000′s. They just simply cannot go wrong all of a sudden.

    I feel this to be going nowhere. Also Ferrari’s turn around from a problem has been very poor in the past couple of years.

    Massa’s situation isn’t helping too.

    1. Neha says:

      This team was winning titles in the early part of 2000′s. They just simply cannot go wrong all of a sudden.
      >> Yup now we know how. All those allegation of collusion with FIA were indeed true, I guess

  47. kfzmeister says:

    I’m feeling really sorry for Alonso. That man should already have a couple more championships under his belt by now.
    That must really be frustrating. After 3 years at Ferrari he’s going backwards rather than getting closer.

  48. tom in adelaide says:

    It’s not the systems and processes, it’s the people. Ferrari give under-performing personnel far too many chances to redeem themselves. They need to take a chainsaw to the staff list, starting with Massa.

  49. TG says:

    In other words, if you’re the team boss of another top flight team, give all your key staff a payrise pronto!

  50. ACx says:

    If the team is is systemic trouble, then what was the purpose of Alonso standing there staring out his mechanics in free practice like some sort of Roman emperor? Are they slacking too? I mean, if the car is a crock due to the entire way the team is structured, there aint much the poor mechanics can do about it in free practice.

    Seems to me that Ferrari simply stagnated after Brawn and co left. The other team moved on and Ferrari stood still.

    As for feeling sorry for Alonso, well, he should have behaved better at McLaren and had the two WDC’s available there.

  51. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    People are very quick to write off Fry. Look at Brawn/Mercedes. It has taken them 3 years to develop their philosophy/structure in order to be a top team. Ferrari cannot expect miracles. Look at what happened to Williams when they pursued that strategy!

    My insight is that Ferrari most likely have too many chiefs and not a clear strategy. In the days of Ross and Jean, you had clear lines of command and people with the ability to make an ultimate decision. Perhaps LdM is too hands on with the team, not allowing people like Fry to get on with the job.

    James – would Ferrari consider assisting Sauber more this season? Much like Renault do with both RB and Lotus?

    1. James Allen says:

      Why? Sauber is faster at the moment anyway

      1. Brent McMaster says:

        James, do you think the Williams is faster then their drivers. I keep thinking how much time Alonso or Hamilton would bring to the cockpit; Bottas seems quite a bit quicker then Maldonado or Senna (I am not a fan of either).

  52. JB says:

    After reading this article and some of the comments, I searched on Wiki about Ross Brawn and Jean Todt.
    Recap, Schumacher and Brawn left at the end of 2006. Kimi came in 2007 when Todt was still team leader and secured the 2007 (the last Ferrari driver world champion). Todt finished to make way for Domenicali in 2008. How things have changed in the Demenicali era!
    He was swift to get rid of Kimi to make way for Alonso but kept Massa. Moreover, the technical guys came and went. I wonder how long before Fry becomes the next victim.
    Overall, the fundamental change needed is obvious. Get rid of Domenicali!

  53. Adam says:

    F1′s new buzz word for 2012 – methodologies!!!

  54. Rich C says:

    Seems to me this is all about them not adapting to the RRA as well as other teams have.

    I think their former “methodology” was merely a brute-force approach, spending tons of money.

    Not being able to do a billion km of testing at their own track any longer has hurt them more than others.

  55. Rich C says:

    It must be galling to them that Sauber and that “other” Italian team, Minar… I mean STR, with arguably inferior drivers, are regularly fighting it out with them for positions.

    Ofc I suppose it could be these other teams have better gas for their Ferrari engines? ;D

  56. RyMac says:

    Ferrari can at least take some solace that so far this year they’ve had the fastest and most consistent pit crew.

    1. James Allen says:

      Definitely true. All four stops within 2/10ths of a second and faster outright than anyone else

  57. Anton says:

    Maybe Flavio Briatore is the right man for the Job – And he’s Italian. He seems like a man who has a no nonsense approach and can get their house in order.

      1. Brace says:

        James, I’m curious, why do you have such a strong opinion that Flavio wouldn’t be the right man for Ferrari?
        You think he is too big that he wouldn’t sit well with LdM, or that he simply isn’t much better then Domenicalli?

      2. James Allen says:

        If you knew the personalities involved you wouldn’t even be asking that question!

        Plus how would it look for Ferrari to hire someone who’s served the ban he has from the sport for the reasons he did?

    1. JohnBt says:

      Wow! I don’t think so mate.

    2. HFEVO2 says:

      The only “qualification” Flavio has for the job is the fact that he is Italian.

      There have been many periods in the past when the performance of Ferrari has been an embarrassment but we need to put the current situation into perspective :

      Historically in terms of lap times the car is not that far behind the leading teams it’s just that the performance of all the established teams is so competitive and close.

      This because all the teams have superb people and the cars are so tightly controlled by the current regulations.

      Ferrari and (Michael Schumacher) enjoyed a unique period in F1 where the head of the FIA, the format of the regulations and the tyre manufacturer were all particularly favourable to the team.

      Add the ruthless and occasionally unsporting organisation of Jean Todt and the genius of Ross Brawn and others and we all saw the results.

      Now Ferrari have to compete on merit and that situation can’t ( and shouldn’t ) happen again.

    3. hero_was_senna says:

      I can understand everyone’s reaction to Flavio being mentioned at Ferrari, but claiming his only qualification is his nationality I think does a huge dis-service to the man.
      From what I have read, he was a hugely successful businessman setting up the Benetton organisation in America.
      Luciano Benetton asked him to run the F1 team in the late 1990 and he turned them from occasional winners into World Champions.
      He left in 1997 and was asked back in 2000 by Renault. Again from occasional winners to champions.
      He is a questionable character, much like Ecclestone in fact, but you can’t deny that he knows how to run a F1 team.
      I think his only crime in F1 has always been the fact that he views it as primarily entertainment, rather than being swallowed up by the whole technology angle

      1. James Allen says:

        …and Crashgate.

        The QPR four year plan documentary showed a side to his management which seems at odds with the results he got in F1

      2. Phil R says:

        Fantastic documentary I thought was amazed at the access they got, wish someone would do the same in F1…

        Did make me appreciate Tom Walkinshaw’s role in 94-95 and Pat Symonds in 2005-6 all the more.

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        Yes, Crashgate, but why did the FIA find guilt yet the French Tribunal De Grande overturn the decision?
        Was this more Mosley interference against people he didn’t like?

        It always struck me as odd that a team would get a driver to crash, without knowing for definite that his team-mate would win. Alonso could have crashed out or broken down anyway.

        Also, why was it ok for Williams and Mclaren to work together in Jerez 1997 to beat Ferrari. Isn’t this also interfering with results?

    4. Don Farrell says:

      Briatore is the last person Ferrari need right now…. all he is interested in is woman, money and his designer overalls!

    5. Anton says:

      He’s also Alonso’s manager so if Alonso get his way then it’s a possibility.

  58. Well says:

    Pat knows Ferrari will point their finger at him at the end of the season, so he is now covering up for it by pointing out it is Ferrari whole structure of designing cars.

  59. Panayiotis says:

    The situation at Ferrari is ridiculous, and sad for the whole sport to be honest. Each year they stop development early to focus on next year’s car, only to end up with a mediocre design again.

    I really hope they don’t return to the pre-Todd/Brawn/Schumi era, because to be honest they look worse every year. Even the 2007 title and 2010 almost title became possible because others with faster cars managed to shoot themselves on the foot.

    I really don’t remember the last time Ferrari were the leaders. In anything… be it the best design, strategy, innovation… They just seem to follow suit constantly, and hence end up always chasing someone.

    There is definitely a problem with management, and the longer it takes them to act, the longer it will take to rise to the top again as they watch medfield teams overtake them.

    It really makes you wonder what would happen if they did not have Alonso as well, who indeed does miracles with this car. On the other hand maybe this is the problem. Because if they has two Massas, the results would hit them like an avalanche and inevitably they would have to take radical decisions about the team’s future.

  60. JohnBt says:

    My logic is when it’s a poor design you can only improve it a little. But if it’s good design the improvement becomes easier.

    Gosh, Ferrari was like 1.5 secs off the pace. I thought they were only seventh or eight tenths off after Sepang.

    Without Alonso Ferrari is a big joke this year.
    Alonso must be trying all sorts of juju.

  61. Craig @ Manila says:

    “It’s not just a case of us trying to build a quicker car”.

    And here was I thinking that the car needed to go faster.

    Now I can see that I was wrong.

    Maybe someone should tell the drivers as I’m sure that they’re confused by this too.

  62. panagiotis says:

    I’m a big fun of speculations, big stories, theories etc. and must admit I take part in all of these conversations. F1 has plenty of that, since it is a very complicated sport, however one team gets the most of it, the name is Ferrari.

    I kind need to be pragmatic. Realistically Ferrari is another F1 team like the rest who participate in championships. As such it develops a car every year with the hope to be the fastest. So boring lines hey? Hell yeah, we all know this! So getting it right takes time, resources, people, robust thinking, and precious newness, especially when copy paste might not be enough to get you there.

    Ferrari then is building a new team, like it did during the Rory, Brown, Schumacher era which took some time to establish it self as dominant factor in F1 after so many years on the sideline. Will that new team be a success like the previous one, time would tel.

    The same applied to competition; for instance, it took some years for Adrian Newey to make RB a championship wining team. It took 3 cars for Brown to have a win with Mercedes. It took 4 cars since last championship for Maca to look as the best contester for a championship. Did these people and teams learn how to do it on the way, or they already knew how to? All they needed was time and racing luck.

    During that time only Ferrari was making the headlines for underperformance though, and still does. Everybody understands the reasons by now, and it is not just the pressure from the Italian media.

    However, the underperforming Ferrari lost two championships on the last race since Raikonenn’s title, in between the dominant years of Brown GP and RB. Were they underperforming more than say Maca? Who got the most of the critics? Right, Ferrari.

    Let’s criticise then Pat, Nikolas and Acer ducts, got bored with realism.

  63. jeroen says:

    James this is obviously an important topic and story for many fans.

    What is your personal view on what is going on at Ferrari and what you make of Fry’s comments?

    Where does Ferrari go from here, how do you think LdM will react?

    It would be great if you could share those views as well.

  64. Michael Brown says:

    Things haven’t been so bad at Ferrari since the “dream team” era, which itself ended with two years (2005-2006) without a championship.

    - 2007 Kimi took the drivers crown.
    - 2008 Massa missed out on the driver’s title by 1 point.
    - 2009 was a bad year for everyone except Brawn.
    - 2010 Alonso just missed the title at the last race.

    It’s only really since 2011 that things have really got very dire and by then any “momentum” from the dream team years had definitely faded. With this year looking to be a very open championship, I’m still optimistic that Ferrari can turn things around in time.

    1. jeroen says:

      Looking at it that way (and I agree) I think more and more that it is just a case of Fry covering his own behind as it looks like an anus horiblis!

      Real question is of course who can ferrari put in place for domenicalli and Fry? They keep trying Newey but I just can’t see him work in an ‘Italian’ environment. As for Domenicali, Ihaven’t a clue who could take his job and wants it/is available.

      Any ideas anyone?

    2. Alex Antonoglou says:

      Let’s not forget the 2008 Constructors’ Title won by Ferrari! McLaren haven’t won one of those since 1998!

  65. Lawrence Lavery says:

    James/anyone, what happened to Nigel Stepney? I believe he is with Sumo Power now but in relation to Ferrari. I think I am right in saying he wanted Domenicalli’s job and because he didn’t get it he left Ferrari. Should he have got it? For what it is worth Ferrari haven’t been having too bad of a time as per Michael Brown’s comment above. Hopefully they will inmprove, it would be good to see Alonso and Massa fighting for wins/podium finishes.

    1. Alex Antonoglou says:

      Would that be Nigel – the Mole – Stepney? A real catch that bloke! Of course he was sacked for passing on confidential Ferrari information to McLaren!

      1. James Allen says:

        Among other things….

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        Did they ever confirm what the “white powder” he was meant to have put in their fuel tanks was?

  66. NJ says:

    I wonder if Ferrari would consider giving Domenicalli’s job to: FLAVIO BRIATORE.

  67. Don Farrell says:

    Ferrari has lost it’s mojo, but they will get it back for sure.

    They dominated most of the 2000′s an amazing achievement. Most teams can only dominate for 2-3 years at a time… look at Red Bull this year… they are pretty bruised and having to remember what’s it’s like to play catch up.

    That’s the wonderful thing about F1… everything can change so quickly… look at Williams this year – 18 points already compared to 5 points scored in 2011! A joy to see them re-invigorated.

    As a Ferrari fan for over 20 years now it’s heart breaking to see the cars struggle, (I blame that ugly nose) but Ferrari will be back.

  68. Bru72 says:

    Come back Aldo Costa! He’s now at Mercedes, and look at them now.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Yes, but so is Bob Bell and Geoff Willis.

  69. Sensei.GT says:

    I think the proper question is: “What I’m heaven’s name were they doing last year designing the car?” Fry can’t blame an infrastructure that produced so many race winning cars. I think it is all on Fry’s design on this year’s car. The 2011 Ferrari was competitive in Silverstone when they banned the blown diffuser. Why didnt they develop last year’s car with this in mind? Radical is never the way to go when designing a car. Evolution is the key. They need to dump that pull rod system fast, and re-work the flawed aero, and lastly dump Fry and put Rory Bryne in charge!

  70. Diver Mike says:

    Hi James,
    Interesting forum. Long on opinions and short on facts, but interesting.
    As for the root topic, I believe Pat Fry is one very smart cookie. He knows the game and if Ferrari can keep their cool, he will bring a level of professionalism to partner their enthusiasm. It takes time. I’m sure Ron taught him how to watch his back.
    While I doubt very much he reads this forum, mate there’s still a slot in my garage for the Peroxide Blonde if your mum wants it out of her garden!

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