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Ferrari young driver mentor: “Perez can be too aggressive”
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Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Jun 2012   |  11:19 am GMT  |  70 comments

The head of the Ferrari Driver Academy, former Ferrari F1 engineer Luca Baldisserri, has put out an interesting status report on the young drivers in his programme.

The lead focus is on Sergio Perez, who got a podium in Montreal at the weekend for Sauber. But Baldisserri makes an interesting comment on the Mexican, which clearly shows how closely he is being monitored by the Scuderia, who regard him as one of their own, but at the same time is designed to shoot down speculation that they are soon to make a move on Perez. Instead it shows that they feel he still has a long way to go before being ready for a possible promotion to Ferrari.


“After Monaco, we had a discussion with Sergio,” Baldisserri says on the Ferrari.com website today. “We wanted to find out why recent results had not lived up to expectations after the Malaysian Grand Prix.

“Perez is undoubtedly talented, but he often lets himself down by being too aggressive which, especially in Formula 1, does not deliver results.

“The Montreal race was a great response, a race in which Sergio not only ran at a great pace, but also managed his race very well, managing to stay on track for fifty laps on the same set of tyres.”

The FDA is also developing Brandon Maisano, in Italian Formula 3, Raffaele Marciello in the European Formula 3 series and Canadian schoolboy Lance Stroll in karting. They also have Force India test driver Jules Bianchi, who is racing in Formula Renault 3.5 this season.

Bianchi’s career isn’t evolving as it should be doing. He didn’t make the breakthough after two seasons in GP2 and has gone back to Formula Renault 3.5, alongside regular Friday morning outings for Force India. But unlike Paul di Resta in 2010 and Nico Hulkenberg in 2011, you don’t get the feeling that this is leading towards a race seat for 2013 for the Frenchman.

Bianchi is managed by Nicolas Todt, who also has Pastor Maldonado and Felipe Massa on his books.

Read the full report on Ferrari.com HERE

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70 Comments
  1. Aaron95 says:

    Exactly how experienced do you have to be to drive for Ferrari? Perez has been in F1 for 1.5 seasons and has by most people’s reckoning been pretty impressive both on and off the track.

    1. James Allen says:

      At least 3 years, judging from recent history

      1. Tom says:

        What about if you’re managed by Nicolas Todt?

      2. Nathhulal says:

        If Felipe Massa’s example is to go by, even with Nicholas Todt has his manager, the Brazilian, was groomed for 4 years in Sauber F1 and one year in test role before being promoted to race seat in 2006 season.

        And that was back when Nicholas Todt’s father was running the show at Ferrari.

      3. Bring Back Murray says:

        I’m not sure experience really matters.

    2. Jorge says:

      Hi James, Perez recent form is indeed impressive, but his 2011 results are pale in comparison…
      http://grandprixrankings.com/racing-results/sergio-perez/2011-2012/

      I know Sauber last year was not that competitive, but I just imagine what Raikkonen or probably Button can do with the current Sauber… ?

      1. Rob Newman says:

        Button is currently struggling on a McLaren which is supposed to be one of the fastest currently on the grid. Not sure what you are expecting he will do on the Sauber.

      2. Aussie Rod says:

        Based on their form in the last few races probably not much.

        Maybe you should replace Button with Hamilton and Raikkonen with Grosjean in your quote :)

      3. Nathhulal says:

        Kimi can do miracles, including faking to be beaten by Massa and Grosjean.
        Last time he tried walking on water, but fell off drunk.

    3. Hayden L. says:

      what exactly did he do off track…?

    4. Rodrigo says:

      Perez knows he needs more experience before joining the most important team in F1. He does not wants to ruin his career. Eventually he will end up in Ferrari, especially with the support of Slim jr.

  2. Tom in adelaide says:

    They should be focussing their attention on Massa’s problems, not Sergio’s.

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      It’s a driver development programme, if they don’t work with the driver to help them improve, i.e. point out their weaknesses, then they arent doing their job.

    2. Massa is not part of the junior academy – he is a fully fledged Ferrari driver. That is, of course, in spite of his results showing the opposite.

    3. Jamie Cottage says:

      Agree 100%

      Perez doesn’t come across as a big head but it’s like Ferrari feel the need to stop him getting too big for his boots. Strange.

      1. David Ryan says:

        It’s probably as much to manage outside expectations as anything, particularly after his results in Malaysia and Canada. Perez is still, after all, a young man even if he has been racing a while now, and a number of young proteges’ careers have collapsed under the weight of expectation (examples being Esteban Tuero, Jan Magnussen and Christian Klien to name but a few). Also, the comments seem not so much aimed at keeping his ego in check (which I’m sure Peter Sauber et al will do anyway, being very much grounded in reality themselves) as improving his performance all round. Perez has shown he is very quick on his day and can make the car last, but his consistency is not quite there and I feel this is where the comment about aggression comes in.

        On a separate note, it’s interesting that the perception is that Perez would immediately be a vast improvement on Massa. Given what happened with Badoer and particularly Fisichella in 2009, I’m not sure I’d agree with that.

    4. Gareth says:

      Surely it’s Massa’s problems which are forcing Ferrari to look so closely at other options, such as Perez, who might replace him. Their perceived ‘readiness’ for Ferrari, as well as their availability, must be weighing heavily into their decision as to how much longer they keep Massa.

  3. Elie says:

    It’s only Ferrari. A guy drives too slow and they say he’s not up to their standard. He drives too quickly and – ” he’s too agressive”.: I mean seriously are these people for real. Felipe has been destroying tyres for two years and what have they done about it ?? I know who I’d be having as my second driver !

    1. I don’t think it’s Felipe vs. Sergio. It’s probably Webber vs. Sergio for the 2013 seat.

      1. Pat Guillon says:

        I think you’re spot on. Ferrari’s dream would have Webber for at least one year, keep an eye on Perez. That would give him a 2013 drive if Perez is deemed to be ready & if not they could persuade Webber for another year. Webber would be a good pairing with Alonso as they on friendly terms already. Webber knows that Ferrari is built around Alonso but he’s in not too disimilar a position with Red Bull now. Ferrari surely can’t keep going knowing that the Constructors is out of reach while fighting for the Drivers championship, embarassingly they may drop to P4 or P5 in the constructors given the team strength of Lotus & Mercedes.

    2. MISTER says:

      There’s nothing wrong at having high standards. And keeping Felipe is not a weakness, it’s giving full support to a driver which started his racing career with the FDA.

      If Ferrari would’ve dropped Felipe after his first couple of bad races, you would’ve again criticise Ferrari..

      1. Elie says:

        The only standards they have are political. How many more seasons must they throw away because of loyalty ? No one is suggesting you drop a driver over one or two races.

    3. someone says:

      How come you think that “aggressive” equals “fast”? That’s simply not true.

      1. Elie says:

        I’m saying hes fast-they’re (ferrari) saying aggressive. If you said to me KK is aggressive I would understand.
        Let me ask you this (and forget everything else) who do you think is more aggressive Sergio or Felipe ? (dont forget he is ten times more experienced too)

      2. MISTER says:

        What makes you think that Ferrari are not talking with Felipe also about being aggresive?
        I think this discussion is pointless. Ferrari know what they are doing. They have years and years in experience and lots of data to look at…

  4. James Enocre says:

    You have to love the irony
    After Monaco they tell him.
    “Sergio , more gently”
    Next race. Sergio makes his tyres last better than Ferrari’s number one and pushes him off the podium.

    1. MISTER says:

      You make it sound so easy. I’m not sure Perez had the double world champion breathing in his neck for basicaly the whole race.
      not to mention that they driver different cars with different setups..

  5. Sebee says:

    Too aggressive for a #2 driver? Of course.

  6. Andrew Carter says:

    Translation: He’d be a threat to Alonso here.

    1. F12012 says:

      Maybe that’s the problem, he would give alonso a hard time, Ferrari are concerned about that so maybe all is not lost for Massa if he can up his performance, alonso also seems very happy with Massa as his teammate

      Also it’s rumoured that Ferrari only want a driver for one year, as they are keen on vettel for 2014

    2. nns27 says:

      No,he never will.He is good at looking after the tyres and pirelli allowed such driver to shine.in terms of pure pace he will never be amatch of alonso even after 10 yrs of experince.He was beaten by maldonado in gp2 and maldonado got beaten by hulk.So you can compare from their that how good perez is.

      1. Armchair Expert says:

        Button was beaten by Fisichella. Fisichella was beaten by Alonso. Alonso was level with Hamilton. Hamilton was beaten by Button – can you explain this, please?

      2. Allan says:

        Armchair, you have made point that so many seem to miss. One can’t compare past relative differences between drivers and make the often-wrong assumption that those differences still hold today.

        Each driver’s rate and capacity for development is different. We see that so often in drivers who ruled the world in the junior ranks, but failed to make the next step and, conversely, drivers that were not seen to be top-class early on in their careers, but came-of-age later on…

  7. zombie says:

    “Fillipe, Seeerggioo is more aggressive than you. Do you understand the message ? “

  8. nns27 says:

    Some off topic. James,could you please explain the reasons behind the force india slump this season.They were expected to lead the midfield battle but they are at back of the midfield.Do you think they can bounce back in second half of the season and acheive their target of 5th in the constructor

    1. zombie says:

      Possible budget cut with all the trouble Mallya’s UB Group is in right now.

    2. Blade Runner says:

      I dont think they have slumped as much as their results indicate to be honest. I think it is more of a case of Williams and Sauber really improving.

      Force India also did focus on the back end of last year, right up to the last race, with new parts, when others had already moved their attention to 2012 cars.

    3. Kay says:

      A number of personnel were pouched by Caterham. No talented guys to design the car, no performance.

  9. Rob Newman says:

    Is it wrong to be aggressive in F1? If you are not aggressive, you will be a sitting duck.

    I can’t understand what incidents Baldisserri is referring to but compared to his team mate, Perez has done quite well and has scored more points than Massa. Ferrari should concentrate more on Massa at this time rather than on Perez.

  10. TW says:

    If I was in Perez’s shoes, I wouldn’t want to dirve for Ferrari, aspecially going there knowing you’ll be a number two driver to Fernando.

    As an F1 driver, Perez is certainly talented, and with that surely comes the drive to want to be the best, and other F1 issues aside, would he not be looking at say Schumachers raceseat, or even Webbers so he can be the best he can be?

    1. Elie says:

      Couldn’t agree more with you TW and Rob. “People that live glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” Although I still don’t see him as being overly aggressive -His tyres are still lasting more than everyone in almost every race. And what many people don’t see are the political and commercial side of Ferrari suggesting “hey kid your still not good enough for us, even if the whole world is saying is your the best.. We at Ferrari… ” Blah, blah..(BS) if you want to drive for Ferrari you have to be a team leader like MIchael and Fernando or you else just suck it & follow.. Some drivers may want to just drive real fast ! ie Kimi

  11. CM says:

    “too aggressive”.. that’s a joke! .. or an excuse…

    1. KGBVD says:

      “Filipe: Sergio is more aggressive than you.”

  12. ronmon says:

    It has long been said that a driver with raw speed and too much aggression can often learn to control himself and get better. On the other hand, it is much harder to take a slow driver and teach him how to be fast.

  13. AlexK says:

    I understand why they are taking their time with Perez. People can forget what kind of pressures a Ferarri drive brings. If a driver is not 100% ready for it (experience and mental toughness) then things could go wrong quickly. Look what has happened to Massa the last 18 months and the subsequent pressure. I’m sure it is not easy to handle when you’re trying to work out why you can’t find the extra 0.5 of a second round a 1.5 mile 17 corner track. Ferarri is unique and there are unique pressures.

  14. Triangle says:

    James, I’ve always got the impression that you’re a bit of a Bianchi fan – how highly do you rate him, and do you see him in the Ferrari in, say, 2014 or 2015 as no. 2 to Alonso after MW retires? Maybe after a year or two at Force India if di Resta joins the Silver Arrows?

    1. James Allen says:

      Not sure why you think that. I heard great things about his kart career but in single seaters he’s not really done it, has he?

  15. Gemma says:

    Well at least Perez is trying and giving it his all and gets the odd podium – unlike Massa….. Surely Ferrari won’t keep Massa going into 2013??

  16. KGBVD says:

    Quick question:
    With being in a development program so young (a la Vettel), what kind of development/help can Ferrari give Lance Stroll?

    Is this a matter of hold his hand through the ranks til he shows promise (or not, like Bianchi)?

  17. Alex says:

    Regarding this:
    After Monaco, we had a discussion with Sergio,” Baldisserri says on the Ferrari.com website today. “We wanted to find out why recent results had not lived up to expectations after the Malaysian Grand Prix.
    Why do they care? Having meetings with him happen very often? Why does he has to explain them what is going on? is there a contract between them that says he has to explain his performance.
    I do not get it.

  18. Denis 68 says:

    What’s the point of having a Driver Academy if you then don’t promote one of your driver’s into your F1 team.

    Massa has been underperforming for years and Perez is clearly quicker than Massa (even though he’s in a slower car than Massa)

    I get the impression that Ferrari prefer another underperforming driver to replace Massa in Bianchi (because he’s managed by Nicholas Todt). Bianchi admitted he did not want to remain in GP2 in 2012 for the fear of failing to win the title at his third attempt.

  19. Kay says:

    Why is everybody saying being too aggressive is wrong? In today’s racing when tyres can be burnt by driving them 1 degree Celsius over the best performance range, your performance and lap time would take a hit later on in the race. That’s why head of Ferrari Young Driver Academy or whatever says he’s too aggressive.

    Nothing wrong there.

    1. Romeo - MEX in USA. says:

      Yes. The result of his OVER aggressiveness was spins, off track excursions and loosing his magic touch on tires. One thing is to be fast, but having controlled aggressiveness will allow him better results. He lost ground. That was the reason he was asked to slowdown behind FA he was risking an all or nothing result. He needs to mature. Look at Fernando letting them pass this past weekend. He did not stupid aggressive moves to save a result and risk a crash.

      It is not a Fernando “can handle competition” thing. It is Ferrari having two great drivers to with a constructors champion team. Felipe is cooked and I am sorry for he loosing a championship. Ferrari misses the Kimi-Felipe years. Fernando needs a better partner, someone that can take some points from the competition. Look at Weber.

      1. Nathhulal says:

        Given the way Ferrari pitwall “manages” the races, Felipe is as best as it gets for the Italian team for #2 driver.

        Given the nature of how F1 works, its not just Ferrari and Fernando, its pretty much the same case with all front running teams and front running drivers, who clearly prefer one driver over another, and even the drivers love preferential treatment. Is it any surprise, why you don’t hear Alonso whine on radio these days, while there have been enough times when he has whined when a Fisichella or Trulli were running faster than him.

        Same goes with McLaren and Lewis, with clearly the car working in his favor, Lewis is calmer in 2012 (as compared to 2011) and its Button who is on radio now. The story is not much different at RedBull as well.

        Its only in the midfield, you can see more driver parity ( more not complete) and teams focusing on getting best results for two cars.

  20. Kedar says:

    How about sending Massa to this driver academy?

    1. Basil says:

      Exactly what I thought!

    2. Nathhulal says:

      For all you know, he might be working with the driver coach. They don’t have to publicize if an existing F1 driver still subscribes to driver coaching service.

      Having said that Bruno Senna, does work at Rob Wilson’s driver academy between the races ( not that his results show that).

  21. The Conspiracist says:

    It’s all to obvious what’s going on here.

    1. Ferrari are playing the money game in trying to drive down Perez’s value.

    2. I think someone other than Massa at Ferrari is actually worried about Perez’s true pace.

    1. simon says:

      Fernando has nothing to worry about, he has alot of control with Santander.

      I don’t think Luca would rock the boat.

      1. Romeo G says:

        Well, I have stocks on Santander, I wish I had TELMEX instead. Botin vs Slim (or Slim Jr.) Slim all the way. I think Ferrari will love to have TELMEX and TelCell/Claro as sponsors and work a deal to have all Telmex Racing Cars (Slim Jr. other race categories) run Ferrari/Fiat engines.

      2. Nathhulal says:

        To add to the TelMex and Slim family angle. What will be the motivation for the Slims to write a big fat cheque to Ferrari ( now that Luca is suddenly worried about cutting costs in F1) and see their driver being told “Sergio, Fernando is faster than you” every race.

        With Santander in his pocket, Alonso being #1 and Felipe #2 is the best option on Ferrari’s plate.

        If Santander had not acquired Abbey National in 2007-08, Alonso would still be happily driving McLaren and won 2-3 more F1 titles with them.

        Santander having interest in British market, and McLaren grooming British driver muddied the deal.

      3. Romeo G says:

        For the Slim’s to be associated with Ferrari would be important as they now participate in F1, GP2, British Renault Series, Grand Am, American Lemans Series, Nascar Mexico. They have 9 Drivers with 7 in International competition.

        Also Santander’s banks area world wide and they have banks in Mexico and in 7 other countries in Latin American(same that TELMEX operates), most important F1-wise, Brasil and Argentina. Santander are the Sponsor for Copa Libertadores the most important football(soccer) tournament in the american continent.

  22. tim says:

    Sure he may be inexperienced but could Perez do a worse job than Massa is at the moment? He’s only going to keep getting better, so I don’t see why his inexperience counts against him. They could take him on and nurture him, keeping the expectations low. It’d be the wrong move for Perez, if he actually has the ambition to be a number one driver in a top team, but that shouldn’t be Ferrari’s concern.

    I’d jump right now for him if I were Ferrari. The available choices are scant, and not at all ideal. Webber’s a short-term decision, Massa’s a liability, Vettel’s expensive and relatively hard to get, Hamilton doesn’t work well with Alonso, di Resta’s going to Mercedes, Schumacher is short-term and has no luck, Kimi is not likely to want to go back to Ferrari.

    Or Ferrari could give Heikki his (second) shot in the big leagues.

  23. Haydn Lowe says:

    Reading between the lines I take the statement to mean that his driving style combined with his relative lack of experience would make him more prone to mistakes. That is something which would improve with experience; both Massa and Alonso went from lower grid teams to test drivers for Ferrari and Renault respectively and then entered the senior teams as much better more well rounded drivers. OK, that was in the days that test drivers could rack up some serious mileage but the principle stands and it is probably best utilised in the modern formula by spending MORE time in the lower order teams. The head of the Young Driver Program undoubtedly has a better perspective than any armchair commentator and if he believes that Perez will be a better driver with another couple of seasons at Sauber then he probably will. Were it the ‘old days’ I would expect him to have done 2013 as Ferrari’s tester and then to have graduated in 2014, but with current regs it will probably be 2013/14 at Sauber and graduation in 2015 to the race seat. This is of course as long as he continues to progress and that he isn’t poached by a different team, but I suspect that Ferrari are quite keen for their YDP to bear some fruit and justify the expense of having one in the first place. As such, I am fairly confident that we will see Perez in a Ferrari one day but I wouldn’t stake a great deal of meney on exectly when that might happen.

  24. Nathhulal says:

    If Sergio and his Mexican sponsors have some sense, they will stay put in Sauber and develop the symbiotic progress both the driver and team are making.

    What is the point in going to a team, that blatantly favors one driver and loves running one horse championship. At the best, even if Ferrari manage to develop the best car on the grid a given season, they will clearly want Sergio to fight for second step on the podium.

    At least in the era of Schumacher-Barichello, there was possibility of reliability issue on #1 car means #2 driver could win a race here and there. These days with so much focus on reliability if two Ferrari cars finish, the out come of race is pretty much decided and everybody knows what car the Italian team focuses on.

    While Hockenheim 2010 was blatant case of team order. There have been many races in 2011, where Ferrari pitwall clearly compromised Massa’s race strategy and instead of aiming for two podium finishes, focused on win for Alonso, and data feeding role for Massa.

    I would understand if Sergio didn’t have any sponsor backing and he settled for #2 position in Ferrari, but given the fact that he has good backing from Mexican sponsors, and has Jo Ramirez as his mentor (who knows how games are played at Ferrari, McLaren etc, he should stay put at Sauber and help Sauber become regular feature on the F1 podium

    1. Romeo G says:

      You are good. Thank you for all your comments.

  25. Andrew Kirk says:

    Perez can be too aggressive? well Massa can be too slow so nobody is perfect.

  26. jjpm says:

    Looks like the know-it-all at Ferrari today would not even let Gilles Villeneuve drive a F1 from Ferrari!
    They prefer “grocery manager’s type like Alonso to the real fighter…

    1. Williams4Ever says:

      Different demand of different times. F1 today is not what it was in the 70s-80s. What was appreciated back then (and romanticized now) is not exactly what #F1 teams want from their current drivers. If Giles Villenueve style driving was still in vogue, JPM wouldn’t have been frowned upon for trying honestly to overtake on the track and disturbing the aero of the car in that process.

      F1 shunned the driver who seriously tried on track racing in modern F1 and are now spending Millions to create “fake overtaking gimmicks” in form of Tyre regs (Use of different compounds every race ) and DRS.

      F1 can be weird at times, but it is what it is.

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