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A closer look at Ferrari’s strategy for 2013
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Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  16 Jan 2013   |  7:07 pm GMT  |  146 comments

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali took the stage today at the Ferrari pre-season Wrooom event in Madonna di Campiglio. He said that the 2013 season would be “complex” in terms of managing resources, ruled out a move for Sebastian Vettel while Fernando Alonso is with the team and confirmed that Pedro de la Rosa will join the team in a support capacity. All of these are worth deeper consideration.

First the challenges of competing in 2013 while developing a 2014 car. Ferrari finds itself in a tricky position with regards to wind tunnel time, as its own tunnel is being recalibrated and will not be back on stream until the summer, when it will be working on the very different aerodynamic challenges of the 2014 cars. Ferrari has been using the Toyota wind tunnel in Cologne. But so too has McLaren, which is in the process of developing a new tunnel of its own and needs extra capacity – and both teams have a big demand for tunnel time. So there is a bit of a bottleneck.

One fascinating aspect of this is that it will be a rare opportunity to see what two top teams of engineers can do using the same development tool; normally the teams use their own tunnels to produce the best car they can.

“The development of the 2013 car began in the Cologne wind tunnel and is ongoing,” said Domenicali. “I certainly expect to see greater efficiency than last year because we will no longer need to carry out comparisons of data and correlation with the Maranello wind tunnel, which is currently being rebuilt and is due to be operational again after the summer break.”

Without the problems of tunnel correlation they suffered in 2012, with a stronger aero department and continuity of rules for the most part, there is no reason why Ferrari shouldn’t have a car that is a match for Red Bull and McLaren from the outset. The key will be in developing at the same rate as their rivals, while losing nothing on development of 2014. Mercedes looks to have everything geared to a title assault in 2014, they can afford to focus on that in terms of allocating resources in Brackley and Stuttgart this year and there is great confidence about their 2014 engine.

The other top teams will have to be wary of this when committing tunnel time and resource to 2013 development.


As for the subject of Vettel joining Ferrari in the near future, Domenicali torpedoed this today by saying that the team will not seek to have two Number One drivers at the same time,

“We have always said, and I think that the president also declared, that a ‘dream team’ is something extraordinary if it is well managed and if things work well,” Domenicali said.
“For now, I think that this is not our goal. We have to maximise the balance of our performance of the team. We must be very careful. “It is not just in F1 because it is true also in the world of sport. If you put all the number ones together around the table it can be more damaging than positive. So for the time being, this is not our goal.”

Of course the caveat is the “for the time being” line, which could mean that tomorrow morning it could become their goal, but it seems that the idea of Vettel and Alonso in the same cars is not on the agenda. For Vettel a move to Ferrari post-Alonso makes sense from the point of view of showing that he can do it in a non-Newey car and for the other benefits of Ferrari association. But it’s not going to happen any time soon.


Domenicali admitted that he was under pressure to replace Felipe Massa last season, the little Brazilian under performed badly in 2011 and the first half of 2012, but raised his game in the second half of the year and helped Ferrari to beat McLaren to second in the Constructors’ Championship, which brought some extra prize money and bragging rights.

Mark Webber and Jenson Button were made serious offers to join the team but both declined in order to stay with their existing teams, so Massa got a stay of execution and Domenicali believes that he will be stronger for it. Most of Massa’s problems last year were in his head, trying to deal with having Alonso in the other car. But once he learned to focus on himself, the results started to come.

“I think the toughest part of Felipe’s career is now behind him,” said Domenicali, “After last summer his approach turned about and, as a result, his performance on track changed and he managed to show just how talented he is.

“I’m sure his problem was not linked to his contractual situation. Personally, there was a lot of pressure on me regarding possible changes, but in the interests of the team, I preferred to wait and today, I’m convinced that keeping Felipe in the Ferrari family was the right decision.

On the driver front the Ferrari boss confirmed that the team is trying hard to get test driver Jules Bianchi a move which will “progress” his career; as he was a third driver at Force India with opportunities to drive in Friday practice sessions last year, “progress” can only really come from stepping up to the race seat that is still up for grabs.

There has been talk of Ferrari cutting a deal on engines in return for a seat for Bianchi, but Force India will have to reflect carefully on this as all the signs are that the Mercedes will be the dominant new generation engine in 2014 and they’d be mad to give that up.


Meanwhile an interesting move was made in hiring veteran Pedro De la Rosa. The Spaniard spent many years with McLaren and has intimate knowledge of its simulator, which is an area where Ferrari are still striving to improve. De la Rosa will help them get more from the simulator and will boost development, taking some of the strain off Alonso. He worked very well alongside Alonso at McLaren in 2007 and this should help push up the rate of development.

Ferrari confirmed that it will launch its new car on February 1 in Maranello.

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146 Comments
  1. Michael says:

    Looks like a strong start too the season is going too be the key, james, what stage of the season will the teams start too shift focus too 2014?

  2. Tom Shelley says:

    Interesting that they approached Webber and Button to replace Massa but would not want Hamilton or Vettel at the moment because of the two no.1 drivers problem. Clearly, Webber and Button are both regarded as second tier drivers, or at least Alonso is not threatened by them!

    1. Shane says:

      I think Webber and Button are both 1.05 drivers, that is just off number one. In the right conditions they are both blazing fast and can be unbeatable, but what sets Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel apart is their ability to be blazing fast regardless of conditions.

    2. Scott says:

      I think your right there.
      Webber probably turned them down due to the 100% realisation that he would stand absolutely no chance of getting the same equipment as Alonso for the “perceived” opportunity that he “may” get a 20% chance of getting the same equipment as Vettel. However he had spoken in the past about the attraction of driving for the scuderia.
      And how would McLaren be looking now if Button had excepted the offer – I personally don’t think he really considered it all that much. He loves McLaren & everything they personify. (Not a detraction, just an observation).Just look at his comments during & after Lewis’s contract discussions.

      On the engine front, everybody seems convinced the Merc engine will be superior & it has been public knowledge for some time now. How is this so? Someone must know a little about all 3 engines. Charlie perhaps?
      It’s looking good for two teams anyway. Mercedes are apparently throwing everything at 2014 while McLaren usually build a better car than Mercedes/Brawn & they will be running the exact same “super” engine.

      1. Andrew Carter says:

        I’d warn Mercedes to look at what happened to BMW though, shifted development early onto the 2009 car whilst in the midst of the 2008 title battle, appeared to be ahead of the rest on KERS development and confident they were going to have a top car. They then turn up at the first race only to find they have a complete stinker and Mercedes and Ferrari both surpassed them on KERS.

      2. krad says:

        To counter that look what happened to Honda/Brawn in 2009 after an early switch.

      3. toleman fan says:

        It worked for Enstone when they gifted 2nd place in the WCC to BAR in 2004.

      4. Rob T says:

        Webber turned down the contract when he was 2nd in the drivers championship behind Alonso and ahead of Vettel after winning Monaco and Silverstone. My take on it is that had he signed with Ferrari at that stage he knew that any chance he had of a WDC would vanish forever as Marko would ensure that he had no chance (although I think that this is always the case). If I recall correctly he resigned at Silverstone and Seb was nowhere that weekend, he passed Alonso for the win so his confidence must have been sky high

        He’d never beat Alonso at Ferrari and Seb was struggling at the time (something that doesn’t happen to Alonso) so the sensible choice was to re-sign with RBR.

        I’m thinking he may get a one year deal in 2014 with Ferrari as I think RBR will hire someone else during the middle of the year.

        Of course RBR got it’s updates to work around Singapore, Seb found his mojo, Mark went backwards and the rest is history…

    3. I think it is more that they were hoping that Webber or Button would accept a contract that clearly directed them to be number 2 drivers, knowing full well that Vettel an Hamilton would definitely not.

      The “hope” that Webber/Button would accept is probably based on (the rather arrogant) belief that every driver would want to spend at least part of their career at Ferrari and with Button and Webber clearly moving into their twilight years in the sport they may have taken such a contract for the glory of having been a Ferrari driver before finally retiring. That clearly overlooked their still strong desire and ambition to win more races and, if possible, a title.

      So Massa stayed as their “best of the rest” option and one would image that his new contract makes it more explicit regarding his subserviant position in the team. He probably has to accept as the alternative would have meant retiring from the sport and there is still the possibility of an occassional win when Alonso suffers reliability issues or a performance issue of some sort.

      1. MookF1 says:

        Could not agree more!

        Clearly Ferrari stipulate in their contracts a number 1 and 2 driver, you only have to look at the way Massa is treated to gather that. They only ever would have approached Webber and Button with the idea of making them a contracted number 2 which just isn’t an option with Vettel or Hamiliton. That is not because they see them as better or worse drivers in my opinion it is as Bill says that those four drivers are at different stages in their career. It seemed to me they approached Webber and Button on the pretext of Ferrari swan songs when both have a lot more to give.

        There is a dichotomy in winning in F1 between driver and machine but with driver PR I think people forget that. These drivers are all world class and if the resources are focussed on one driver over another he will and should succeed. The only time this isn’t the case is when by chance the car ends up suiting the number two driver more. But I just don’t believe in modern F1 that can happen as much with the lead driver as the focus due to speed of development over a season.

        Webber I think may already be on a number 2 contract that just isn’t reported as such. He is clearly a reference point for development towards Vettel at Redbull. They have different styles but even at midway when the car suited Webber and he was leading the battle they developed in favour of Vettel. This is even more obvious at Ferrari with developments only going on one car at some races, even if at times it had the opposite of the desired effect. The exception to this is Mclaren who have been running a driver parity approach. In hoping (I think arrogantly) to develop two styles at the same time I think they ended up hindering both drivers chances in the long run (especially Hamiliton this year).

        Next season with Button in most peoples eye as the number 1 driver at Mclaren it will be a big year for his legacy. If he can mount a title challenge until the end of the season or even better win the title I think peoples perceptions will change. It will then have to be acknowledged that a lead driver strategy or at least focusing development on one style is the optimal one in modern F1. This would surely raise the stock of Webber and Massa as drivers. It would also in an ironic way vindicate Hamilitons decision to move to Mercedes where he is without a doubt on a number 1 drivers contract.

      2. schumerak says:

        Nice insightful comment MookF1

        - Funny that (and I agree) as you say Hamilton is on his way to Mercedes with “a number 1 drivers contract”, when the number 2 driver is someone who beat Schumacher for 3 seasons, you’d think if anything was enough to guarantee you equal status in your team would be consistently out-performing a seven times WC.. :)

      3. Martin says:

        I am just speculating on contracts, but I suspect Hamilton’s situation at Mercedes is no different to the McLaren one. Equal equipment but Hamilton is paid more than his team mate. Rosberg would have been paid much less than Schumacher.

        I suspect what Ferrari has is a much more explicit statement that the drivers are to follow team instructions. If we look at Massa, for 2007 he was driving next to the guy that forced Schumacher out. Kimi won the title and in 2008 Felipe was able to challenge for the title. In 2009 he was resigned for 3 years. It was after his accident, but there was no obvious reason to say he’s the number two.

        Personally, I have a different view on development. Button’s problems were set up related. With this era of cars the key is getting the floor and diffuser to work well aerodynamically. Energising that with exhausts gives something that comes no other way. Yes, Vettel is happier than Webber with using lots of throttle before the apex, but if you look at the races, rather than qualifying, where was Webber the faster driver? China possibly, but they were on different tyre strategies. Monaco was all about qualifying and tyres. Webber just stayed at the front. In the UK, Vettel with a slightly damaged front wing was closer at the end then he was after the first pit stops as he was held up by Schumacher. He wasn’t nowhere, he was a little behind in wet qualifying, didn’t get a great start and was then quicker for the last two stints. Webber even mentioned that Seb was delayed.

        Compared to 2011, the 2012 car suited Webber better, or he adapted. When the car improved Webber moved up the grid. Red Bull made the car faster, for the benefit of both drivers. In this era of F1 Vettel is just better. The emotions in the team refect that as they know he’s the best chance of winning titles, so a Webber win is less valuable, and fundamentally it probably wasn’t as good a drive. Red Bull has the resources to give both drivers exactly the same upgrades and they get them. If Mark can lift his game he’ll get the results and support. Even Marko might change his mind, as Webber would be near perfect.

        Cheers,

        Martin

      4. Scuderia McLaren says:

        “If Mark can lift his game he’ll get the results and support” – Martin

        Four years suggests he won’t lift enough to beat Vettel over a season, irrespective of car character. Two GP’s he will drive like a God. The other 17, he will flake out. Maybe he can simply focus on getting better than 6th position overall if his team mate is 1st.

        I actually agree with your post almost 100% up to the above quote.

    4. For sure says:

      Or may be they are simply afraid of Alonso? Driving a third fastest car and being a teammate with one of the greatest of all time, is such a bad idea, isn’t it.

    5. gudien says:

      Therefore we must conclude Team McLaren is now led by a #2 driver.

      How long will Ron Dennis and Martin Whitmarsh allow this? (Mr. Dennis has in the past been often quoted as saying; “We will take the best drivers available”.)

      How ironclad are Button’s and Perez’s contracts?

      Are we going to be subjected to rumors at McLaren throughout the 2013 season as both Button and Perez fail to dominate the grid?

      1. Tom Shelley says:

        A part of me hopes so. For some reason, I find Button to be incredibly smug, even after a poor/average performance. It really grates with me. He even said recently that he thought he would give Alonso a good run for his money, but I struggle to see this. In fact, if Ferrari approached him this year, I would doubt that they feel the same way. They do not want Alonso getting beaten regularly, taking points off him and ruining what is an amazing atmosphere in that team.

      2. krischar says:

        Button to give alonso a run for his money ?

        Poor Button. People in UK should not be suprised if button is slower than perez

        Hammy is one heck of driver and made button look like rookie many times over the past 3 seasons

        Alonso is the best ever no question or doubts here.

        Even pedro de la rosa confessed this fact when they worked together at mclaren.

        Despite the spat in 2007 season. Both lewis and Fernando have performed superbly. Ever since 2007 Alonso performances have been simply phenomenal

      3. Monza01 says:

        I too wondered whether McLaren will be happy with their driver pairing post Hamilton. I drew the conclusion that they have greater faith in Jenson as a team leader and mentor than perhaps we have. After all, most of us gave him no chance against Hamilton on the same car but he proved us all wrong.

        Yes, it is the case that even when the car is perfect, Jenson was not quite as fast as Lewis but when he’s racing his smoothness and canny grasp of strategy pay dividends.

        Only time will tell whether the team will meet their Championship aspirations with their current pairing.

        But, if not, there are clearly only three top drivers and McLaren have already run and lost two of them.

        While I put Vettel just behind both Alonso and Hamilton, he is the only obvious target for McLaren to go for – if they feel it’s necessary, although, if he were to move, I suspect that with his sense of F1 history Seb would rather drive for Ferrari.

        It will be a fascinating season.

  3. Bjornar Simonsen says:

    Can someone tell me why everybody believe the Mercedes team and engine will be so strong in 2014?

    I see time and time again in numerous F1 sites that the new Merc engine will be very strong, but not one have disclosed a reason for it.

    I’m sure Ferrari and Reanult are pushing hard on the development as well and all teams are sure to be holding their cards tight to the chest, so where does it come from?

    If there is a leak from Merc that they have found something, how can people know the other teams haven’t also found it, but not leaking it?

    James?

    1. Sebee says:

      Hype.

      Coordinated media effort to give Mercedes brand good F1 exposure to keep them in F1. They need it after the 3 years that would only make Minardi proud.

      1. Sebee says:

        OK, that’s a bit harsh and conspiracy-ish.

      2. Anne says:

        Don´t worry. Conspiracy or not you still made a very good point.

    2. Kay says:

      Agree.

      Don’t get all this Merc engine hype…

    3. FernanDino says:

      Good question, Björnar! Am also reading this everywhere. I’ve always wondered who’s been doing the brain washing!
      James, I’ll still be around here in 2014. In case Mercedes doesn’t win all races you will certainly hear from me again.

    4. schumerak says:

      just realised that I can’t post a link here… (sorry JAF1 administrators – I wasn’t trying to test your patience:))

      just wanted to post regarding an article I recently read postulating that the faith Mercedes has in the 2014 regulations is due to the fact that their current F1 car has a type of active suspension which adapts to the corner in which it is used. Its easy to see how this could confer an advantage in 2014 when the engine will produce a lot more torque as the cars will be a lot less reliant on aerodynamics and a lot more reliant on the mechanical side.

      I guess it depends on whether or not they can get their system to work, but if they can they will have at least part of 4 seasons development time on it and it will be difficult for the other teams to catch up..

      1. Martin says:

        Frank Define has argued the best way to increase traction is to increase downforce, even in first gear.

        The suspension is fine for Mercedes, not so relevant to Force India choosing engines.

    5. toleman fan says:

      James,

      >all the signs are that the Mercedes will be the dominant new generation engine in 2014…

      Can you say what signs those are? I’ve read lots of upbeat comments about the Merc. But I’ve not heard -any- meaningful comments about Ferrari or Renault. What is there out there that’s giving insiders a sense of where the other two are, that Mercedes are ahead?

      Is it a sense of the mood inside the camps? Is it Mercedes’ historic success in the V8 (or more accurately the homologated engine) regime? Is it hard numbers on all 3 engines in the hands of customer teams being invited to sign contracts? Or what?

  4. Steven hoath says:

    hi ya just Wondered why Everyone thinks the new mercedes engines are going to be the best

    as far as i know isnt it going to be a bit of a lottery as to which engine is going to be the best as im shore all the manufacturers are all working hard to have the best

    obviously i dont know anything about it but just wonderd if pepel have got some inside information or something
    as in this article it was said about mercedes and pritty shore i read that on here before as well

    1. Ben says:

      I don’t know that the actual Mercedes engine will be strong but I do think that Mercedes and Ferrari will have an advantage in 2014.

      They are able to build the car around the engine and know more intricate details that they will allow their customers. I think that Mercedes will be giving out the specs to customers in the coming weeks but I assume they have had them for sometime.

      Remains to be seen how Renault will manage their engines with Red Bull and Lotus.

      1. Sami says:

        AFAIK Red-Bull is treated like a works team by Renault, we’ll see.

  5. Irish con says:

    Anyone who says that the Merc engine will be the one to have in 2014 over a year before they will be on track isn’t wise in the head. How can anyone actually know this. Merc engines not that long ago were seen as the weak link in McLaren and everyone wanted a Ferrari or Renault engine. Lets just wait and see. Ferrari are never far away with the mechanical sides of the car recently.

    1. Aplomb says:

      What year was this that Merc engines were weak exactly ?

      The others have only caught up because Merc were effectively frozen, and they were allowed to “equalise”.

      1. Irish con says:

        2004 and 2006 the merc engines were very much weaker than the best those years. Especially 2004. Very Low on power and reliability.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        Mercedes engines, designed by Ilmor were supreme in 1998 and 1999. The FIA banned the use of exotic materials, such as berylium in the 21st century, the exact year escapes me.
        Since then Mercedes were always lacking in outright power compared to the Ferrari and BMW power units, and they had far worse reliability.
        Even causing Brundle to once comment that the spectacular explosion that saw engine innards bounce along the track to be the fabled “hydraulic or electrical problem” that Mercedes press office always put out.

        When Mario Ilien left Ilmor, Mercedes engines were not at the cutting edge of design.

        They have only been considered the best power unit since the FIA imposed the 18,000rpm limit.
        In 2006, engines were reaching the 20,000rpm and were staggeringly expensive.

        Personally, if I had to choose one manufacturer who is likely to be leading the way with a clean sheet design, it’s Renault, not Mercedes.

      3. Scuderia McLaren says:

        +1.

        Agree with everything . Previously posted Renault as my pick also.

      4. David S says:

        Wait until Honda join the party…..turbo heaven…Senna’s weapon of choice. Enough said, bring it on :-)

      5. toleman fan says:

        @Aplomb – actually, it was exactly the opposite way round.

        From ’06 when the current V8s were introduced, Mercedes were at a clear disadvantage. Right up until the homologation / development restrictions were introduced, when suddenly they were the class of the field, a status they’ve maintained ever since.

        How that will map onto introducing an all-new engine, which will then itself be largely frozen, I have no idea.

  6. Pranav says:

    Why is Mercedes expected to be so formidable in 2014? Are they working to a different set of rules compared to the other engine builders out there?

    I see no reason why Ferrari, Renault (plus whoever decides to start making engines) can be left behind.

    A few horsepower deficit can easily be clawed back using tweaks to the chassis and aero.

    For Hamilton, to bet his years on a prediction, is scary to say the least; considering he’d be getting the same engines if he stayed at McLaren. And they have shown to be able to build a better can than Mercedes anyways.

    I feel that it is just the Mercedes staff tooting their own horn, so that the board doesn’t pull the carpet from under them until atleast 2014.

  7. Andy says:

    I can’t imagine any team wanting two multi-world champions of the likes of Vettel and Alonso. The single mindedness, political manoevering and determination would ultimately hinder the teams performance.
    It will be interesting to see Ferrari’s performance this year. If they are not truely competitive then they only have their personnel to blame, particularly after making so much of their wind tunnel calibration issues.

  8. Sebee says:

    De la Rosa to Ferrari to help Alonso?

    They sure did work well together as many of us remember.

    OK, I’m off now to play Spy vs. Spy on my iPad.

    1. Scuderia McLaren says:

      That is one of the best ways I have seen a poster get around Libel. Well Done Sebee. Lol

      Some posts of mine on some blogs have been picked up for on Libellous statements recently. I am going to have to be more creative.

    2. Kay says:

      Get your facts right: if anyone who spied it’s Mike Coughlan and Nigel Stepney were the ones who exchanged information and data. The McLaren drivers merely receieved information, and some used the data in order to setup / run their cars.

      1. Sri says:

        When you receive the data and you use it with full knowledge of where and how it came to you, you are not free from blame. In crime, you would be treated as accomplice although the charges against you will be less substantial than those for the main culprits.

      2. Kay says:

        True, but I’m not talking about your sense of legal rights, criminal offences etc. The OP said “spy vs spy”, to which DLR nor ALO were directly involved in.

      3. Sebee says:

        I think the law now treats the two equally. In fact I think there have been cases where the person who committed the crime got a lighter sentence by co-operaing to reveal who actually hatched the criminal plan or initiated the idea for the criminal act.

      4. Sebee says:

        Kay,

        May I suggest to you reading “Inside the Scandal that rocked the Formula One world”

        http://www.wired.com/cars/coolwheels/magazine/16-06/ff_formulaone?currentPage=all

        Once you get to the “By the Hungarian Grand Prix” section, you tell me who is requesting information and initiating contact.

        My personal favorite part:
        Most damning of all was this email from De la Rosa to Alonso: “All the information from Ferrari is very reliable. It comes from Nigel Stepney.”

        007 my foot. This stuff is real.

      5. Sebee says:

        ….hey hey hey…wait a darn minute. All of this happened in 2007…two 0 0 7.

        OH MY GOODNESS! Did Bernie buy an unpublished Ian Fleming script and it was finally used? :-)

        OK, I’m back on the conspiracy band wagon. This is all too much.

      6. Kay says:

        Sabee, I never said the stuff was fake, all I pointed out was, DLR and Alonso did not do the actual ‘spying’ as the OP suggested. Nor did I suggest they did not participate.

    3. Daninator says:

      Too true…

  9. goferet says:

    Hmm… Am thinking if the Toyota wind tunnel was really that good, then the team wouldn’t have packed up, yes or no?

    Anyway we all thought the 2012 season couldn’t be topped but the 2013 season just might be the Holy Grail seeing as the cars will be super close after the banning of DRS during qualifying and now Mclaren & Ferrari are using the same facility.

    Now concerning the point of two roasters within the same ring, it’s unfortunate for it would have been great for the fans however, Ferrari has this right for dream teams always end in tears and only work if the team has a dominant car or else both drivers just end up taking points off each other.

    Having said that, dream teams are one sure way to pick up the WCC every year but when you have two roasters, egos are bound to clash = Will never last long.

    Now, the big loser in all these dealings is Vettel for he really needed to take on Alonso whilst he was still at his best in a bid to get rid of the Newey-dark-cloud hanging over his reputation.

    But knowing Alonso and his influence within the team, it wouldn’t surprise to find out (especially over last season) that he has become weary and in a way come to respect Vettel’s speed and thus veoted this move from happening.

    I mean seriously if Alonso wants something, he usually gets it e.g. Massa’s new contract & Pedro De La Rosa’s inclusion.

    P.s.

    Everybody is under the impression Mercedes are targeting 2014 and have it all figured out.

    This is the perfect opportunity for such a team to surprise in 2013 >>> That team’s silence during the winter break is deafening.

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      The Toyota facilities were/are absolutely top notch, but thier management was disasterous.

    2. Carlos says:

      A good wind tunnel doesn’t design the car for you!

      Toyota seemed to design their cars to be good in different conditions than the main players. That’s common when you’re a team that desperately wants just one win – instead of optimizing your car for the majority of tracks, you focus on either the very high or relatively low downforce circuits. (The 2009 Force India was excellent in low downforce conditions, for example.) So they only had a few chances to win, and they blew it with poor strategy and (imo) drivers that just didn’t have it. I think one of the top drivers would’ve won at least one race in the Toyota.

      1. Sami says:

        The Toyota stint into Formula 1 has all the elements of a modern tragedy. It was a real pity, they badly deserved a couple of wins. I agree, a top driver would have provided those wins. I just hope they come back one day, in the World Endurance Championship they are giving Audi something to worry about (with the team based in Cologne as before.)

      2. Kay says:

        I agree with you, but I don’t wish to see them return unless the Toyota HQ back in Tokyo understands the way things work in racing are different to how things work with manufacturing cars.

        Back then it was their way of running the team that failed themselves. I.e. incorporating ideas from car making division of switching team heads every few years for the sake of moving people up the ladder… They failed to understand in racing it’s not about promoting people within just for the sake of it, but getting the right people in the right posts to extract the maximum for wins.

    3. Sami says:

      “to get rid of the Newey-dark-cloud hanging over his reputation.”
      So, if I do not get you wrong, Jim Clark was not that good, as Colin Chapman had provided him with sublime single seaters for his two titles…
      You just cannot be serious.
      What do we do with Graham Hill’s 1968 title, Niki Lauda’s 1975 or Mario Andretti’s 1978? I could go on for ages with previous or later champions…

  10. Rich C says:

    They cant fool me: they just want De La Rosa in order to head off any come-from-behind great leap forward by… er, what was his team called?

  11. Val from montreal says:

    I really feel bad for Felipe Massa ! Here is a guy that was with Ferrari since 2006 and then 3 years later Alonso comes along with his Spanish banking corporate sponcer and he decides right from the get-go that he’d supposed to be Ferrari’s # 1 driver …. MSC treated Massa like his small baby brother back in 2006 while Fernando treats him like garbage ! Why do Ferrari want to continue losing until 2016? Sign Vettel as of 2015 and lets see how fast Vettel will bring them to the top , Alonso as his back-up teamate or not ….

    1. Sebee says:

      I have to say, I would entirely not mind it if Vettel shuts out Alonso and Ferrari for 3 more years.

    2. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

      Ferrari care more about the manufacturer’s championship as this is what brings in the dollars from the FOM. They see two Alpha drivers clashing and taking points from each other (ala Senna/Prost and Hamilton/Alonso). Culturally, they have always preferred to direct their drivers to finish 1-2 or 2-1 depending on who “needs” to win (“Alonso is faster than you!”) for the championship. Hence having a number 1 and 2 works best for them.

      It will be interesting to see how McLaren fare this year having run a 1/1 strategy over the past few years and this year it will be more 1/2 driver with Perez in his apprenticeship year.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Culturally, Ferrari were a team like Williams is now.
        Drivers were the “nut” that sat behind the wheel.

        Enzo Ferrari raced and managed a racing team from the early 1920′s. He cared little for drivers. What was overwhelmingly important to him was Ferrari.
        His mantra, almost echoed by Frank Williams was, the car wins the races, the drivers lose them.
        If the 2 drivers ended up in 1st and 2nd in the race, they were told to hold station, hence why Villeneuve was so bitter after Imola 1982, Pironi duped him.
        Obviously in a championship battle, the leading driver had the teams support.

        Having a number 1 within Ferrari has only been part of their DNA since Schumacher was signed to the team.
        In its own way it made sense. The best driver of his generation, coming to an under-performing team and bringing with him the nucleus of the Benetton Championship winning team, he was always going to be calling the shots.

        But I guarantee as seen in 2007-8 and 09, whichever of the teams drivers is stronger, they will get the teams support.

    3. Kay says:

      How about Webber?
      He’s been with the same boys from Jaguar days which turned into RBR. He isn’t exactly treated well by the management.

      How about Alonso in 2007?
      He went to McLaren believing he’ll be treated like #1, only to have the team turned against him in the latter part of the season. How is that for loyalty or even employee treatment?

      So why is Ferrari / Alonso combo singled out?

  12. goferet says:

    The key will be in developing at the same rate as their rivals, while losing nothing on development of 2014.
    ————————————————-

    Banning of unlimited in season testing really hurt Ferrari and till that rule is unbanned, I think it will always be hard for the team to keep up with the relentless pace of in season development.

    So what Ferrari can hope for is for them to be out of contention early on so they can throw all their weight towards the 2014 car (however looking at the design talent, am not sure even this is enough)

    Yes, it’s really a rock and a hard place scenario.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      You make a great point, something that Pat Fry identified when looking over the Ferrari infrastructure.

      Ferrari had been turned into world beaters during the Schumi era with state of the art facilities and a brilliant team.

      The test ban had practically nullified every advantage they had invested in.
      Whereas the British teams had invested in computer and simulator technology.

      Ferrari is getting up to speed with these now, but even Fry said, it will take 2 to 3 years before they are level with the others.

  13. Czarnikjak says:

    What are the signs that Mercedes will have dominant engine?
    It doesn’t sound credible at this stage

  14. Rudi says:

    Very informative write up. Something caught my eye that you wrote: “all the signs are that the Mercedes will be the dominant new generation engine in 2014″. I was wondering, what are these signs you speak of?

  15. Michal says:

    I’m wondering where this Mercedes 2014 engine superiority belief comes from. Can anyone explain it to me?

  16. Jose Arellano says:

    I dont think its a fact that mercedes will dominate engines in 2014. both renault and ferrari can spring a surprise..

  17. Onko says:

    Thank you for up date that is anything worth knowing in F1.
    However your remark Mercedes being a dominant
    engine in 2014 is bit premature to call.
    If anyone can recall an out of a box V-6 by Mercedes I would be greatful to be point it out to me ?, I did know and own one” Dino 246 a timeless,the same block was later used by Fiat in 130 coupe.

  18. Fan Jack says:

    Besides the dream team not becoming a reality anytime soon and the De La Rosa scoop we knew all this already. Looks like this Wroom thing benefits most of all the lucky journalists who get the chance of being invited for an all inclusive perfect resort holiday.

    1. James Allen says:

      …at Philip Morris’ expense!

  19. Colin B says:

    “…all the signs are that the Mercedes will be the dominant new generation engine in 2014…”

    I am curios to know what the signs are? What is upping their confidence when they are still 1 year away from seeing Ferrari’s and Renault’s engines. Dose anybody know?

    Maybe this has already been covered on this site and I missed the story.

  20. Fan Jack says:

    And yes,I forgot, Raikkonen very recently said the simulator does not really change the game.

    1. Yak says:

      Kimi said HE doesn’t find the simulator useful. But there are a few things to take into consideration. For one, the fact that he has just plainly said he prefers to just do it on track. Then, I’m guessing the best simulators in F1 are a bit better than when Kimi was last in F1, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Lotus aren’t quite up to the likes of Red Bull and McLaren in this department. And then the fact that while Kimi might not feel he gets much from the simulator, the engineers probably feel otherwise. Simulators are used for far more than just the driver learning and practising tracks.

      A big part of Kimi’s problem in 2012 was quali; having to start further back and fight back towards the podium in the race. While one couldn’t really say for certain one way or the other, perhaps a bit more time in the simulator could help the quali pace, and development in general, even if he doesn’t feel like he’s getting much from it at the time. This is after all, a sport were hundredths, even thousandths of a second count.

    2. toleman fan says:

      I don’t think the point of the simulator is to help drivers learn new tracks.

  21. Paul Kirk says:

    I found the comment that Merc engines are commonly regarded as potentialy the best 2014 engines. I wonder how people can arive at that sort of decision? I would assume none of the manufacturers would be releasing any meaningfull information about their engines at this time and any they did release would probable be missleading. But we have to admit that Illmore are certainly capable of producing the goods. (If they’re doing the Merc engine, of course!)
    PK.

  22. Erik says:

    In a way this is payback by Ferrari isn’t it? Remember spygate?.. Now they have two of the key McLaren employees in Alonso and Pedro from that time, working on unlocking the secrets of the McLaren simulator.

    1. Mingojo says:

      The final apology of Mclaren to FIA stated that The Ferrari data was known by more than three individuals which questioned their earlies statement. And Mclaren paid lot of money in Italy in a settlement for some of their top engineers.

  23. Olivier says:

    James, how do you know the Mercedes engine will be dominant in 2014 ? Isn’t it a bit early to make such a prediction ?

    What are the “signs” ?

    I’m just curious…

  24. SteveH says:

    I suspect Force India may not have much choice as far as engines go. If they can work a deal with Ferrari re Bianchi they will probably save lots of money; if they go with Mercedes they will have to pay for the engines.

    Vijay is having huge money problems, his Kingfisher Airlines lost its license to fly, Kingfisher employees haven’t been paid for seven months, and he just had his personal Airbus A-319 seized by tax authorities for failure to forward airlines taxes; Sahara has to repay several billion dollars to investors and in fact are late with the payment.

    Force India may not be around for long at this rate, and will have problems paying for engines et al. I am also suspicious that the delay in announcing their driver line-up is due to financial problems.

  25. JMC200 says:

    Everyone has been saying that the Mercedes V6 will be the best, I was wondering why that is, what evidence is there that that one will be better. I’m sure Renault and Ferrari aren’t slacking, oh and what happened to PURE? Did they go bust?

    1. toleman fan says:

      PURE stopped work, supposedly because of a ‘temporary’ funding problem. Supposedly, the money was available but in the wrong country (IIRC)…and so all development had to be stopped, just temporarily, while this was resolved.

      And if you believe that….

      This was months ago, and believe it or not, nothing has been heard since. Colour me gobsmacked.

  26. i am slightly bemused by those who intimate that mercedes will be in the box seat in ’14. why?

    not one ‘14 car has turned a wheel and no ‘14 engines have actually been raced, so how is it possible to even have a prediction?

    if previous results are any indication then i would back right off. just because they have anybody and everybody who ever worked in F1 on their payroll is no guarantee of success either.

  27. So the Webber and Button offers are 100% confirmed?

    1. Kay says:

      Looks like you missed the entire 2012 year… did you set something wrong in your time machine?

  28. yugin says:

    The talk about a dominant Mercedes engine is interesting. What are the signs that it will be the best in 2014?

  29. AlexD says:

    Thank you, James, for a very insightful article.
    I have 2 question.
    Why McLaren needs to use Toyota’s wind tunnel? Do they also have a problem of having their own working 24/7 is not enough?

    You mentioned that there are early signs that Mercedes could have a dominant engine in 2014. Ferrari was also very strong in this area. Do you think they will be behind?

  30. hero_was_senna says:

    Is there any real data as to why Mercedes are continuously spoken as having the best engine come 2014?.
    Renault and Ferrari aren’t exactly novices at the engine design game

    1. Kay says:

      Agree with you.

      Plus engine alone isn’t what make a car win. Aero is another huge factor.

      I recall a few years back Adrian Newey or someone said things like Renault had less power but better on CoG, and with his genius F1 car designs, his cars won multiple championships. That’s during years of Merc being the best engine of all.

      I recall Korea’s first race, a McLaren and Mercedes with identical engines were side by side down a straight, but McLaren turned out to be faster and got past the Merc with no problems due to the F-duct. Shows how much can change with the most efficient aero design.

  31. JB says:

    Interesting to see Ferrari believes their start of 2012 was bad. After all, they were leading at the half way point with 34 pts.
    Moreover, Redbull were nowhere in the first half season. Then came from the back and caught Ferrari out. Ferrari was not performing badly at all throughout 2012. It was Vettel that secured all the necessary wins when the opportunity was given. He also made sure the best possible damage control was implemented when required.

    My advise to Ferrari.
    Development wise – make sure it is in the right direction always. It was the slump in 2nd half of 2012 ruined your chance.

    Overall strategy – Be ready to switch to 2014 early i.e. Be willing to let it go. The 2014 season will be one that contains huge gaps between teams like 2009. There will be key innovations that everyone else will first try to ban it then when that is not going to happen, they will do their best to copy it. HAHA…

    Finally, Driver treatment – Stop asking Massa to giveaway positions. Because if Alonso won the championship that way, it is just inferior to each of Vettel’s 3 titles.

    1. Carlos says:

      The car was slow in dry conditions. Everyone considers the win in Malaysia to have been a weather-related fluke.

      Red Bull started even worse. No one disputes that, and it doesn’t change the fact that the Ferrari was not ‘fast’ in the early part of the season.

      1. mjsib says:

        If a car is slow at the start of the season then it is usually slow for the whole season as most teams develop cars at the same rate

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      Inspired advice General JB, you have ways of motivating the troops
      .
      I’m guessing but not completely sure, I think Ferrari are fully aware of their mid season slump. It probably explains why they are working exclusively with Toyotas tunnel whilst rebuilding their own.

      Be ready to let it go?? If F1 shows us anything, it’s the spirit of never giving up.

      It’s well documented how Ferrari operate, it’s also beyond any doubt that Alonso drags results out of a poor car better than Massa. Once the cars are “easy” to drive, Massa can access their performance also. Once Alonso is in a WDC fighting position, it’s only then Massa has to play the team game.
      But if you honestly believe Vettel isn’t fully assisted and protected by Red Bull, you have been watching another sport. How many times has Webber been told to hold station or quite obviously been treated as number 2? Look at Marko’s comments recently…

      Personally, I prefer the honesty of Ferrari, we all know where they stand.

      RBR and Mclaren ( Heikki, Lewis is faster than you) have histories of coded messages and 1-2′s. do you remember the public outrage when Melbourne 1998, DC gave away another win to Mika, after Mikas own mistake. It was the first race of the season and a dominant display

      1. Martin says:

        Still, Rob Newman would agree with him :-)

      2. krischar says:

        Spot on hero_was_senna

        You make sense here.

        Both RBR and Mclaren do have their number one drivers

        RBR treats Webber like a waste. Yet webber often out paces vettel which marko do not like
        (Turkey 2010, GB 2010 / 2011). Mclaen do issue team orders. After all ferrari have made the Hierarchy very clear and visible

        Massa have no right what so ever to stand in way of alonso. He is too slow and incosistent

        Massa is very lucky to hold his seat despite his pathetic performances over the past 36 months

    3. Mingojo says:

      We migh have seen a different season. Ferrari had a really bad car, but Alonso drive brilliantly. Red Bull had a good car during the whole season and the updates in Singapore helped them to have the best car. What was a surprise it’s Alonso able to fight for the championship and ended only three points behind.

  32. Martin says:

    I’m curious as to what facts and conjecture are behind the claim that Mercedes will have the best engine.

    The amount of fuel going into the engine is capped by the regulations. I recall something about Magnetti Marelli having a potential monopoly on the direct injectors. For the engine that leaves the valve timing, head and piston shape – which defines the compression ratio and combustion – exhaust and turbo design. The unusual factor here is making a direct injection petrol turbo rev to 15,000 rpm. I don’t know if any valuable knowledge remained in Brixworth after Ilmor separated again in 2005, and methanol combustion has its own design requirements. Either way, the experience the three manufacturers have to me suggests they will all be close on the engines.

    Where the three companies are up to with ERS is much more of an unknown. Assuming that Mercedes will have an edge in 2014 because there was one in 2009 is not something I’d do.

    I’d be surprised if we learn much from the use of Toyota’s wind tunnel. It cannot give you a design, it can only help you assess what is put inside. The aerodynamicists still have to determine what to test. It is not like a CFD simulation where many incremental changes can be modelled and the best answer given. If it correlates well to the track then it’s a useful tool.

    Cheers,
    Martin

    1. JB says:

      The ERS is going to determine the winning power-unit. Because now there is 161hp of power for 33seconds. That is energy to play with.
      There could be a huge gap between engines, not to mention reliability.

      1. Martin says:

        Hi JB,

        The key question is why would Force India conclude that Mercedes will produce a better power unit than Ferrari?

        The ERS system consist of two motor-generator units and the power storage. The motors are pretty common technology and really big efficiencies are achievable so there is unlikely to be much variation there. Batteries possibly supplemented by capacitors to handle the great charging and discharging rates is where the technology is newest. Managing the heat that comes from the internal resistance of the batteries without adding weight and compromising the aerodynamics through the need for additional cooling air is the biggest problem area that I see. New batteries have come along since 2009, and supercapacitors are starting to draw charge per kilogram comparisons with batteries. Why is there a belief that Mercedes has an edge With this technology now?

        Turbo design could play a small part to maximise the energy derived from the exhaust that is turned into electricity as lag is not an issue. I suspect the turbo will be one area that will be developed for “reliability” reasons. The exhaust heat coming out of the engine will be influenced by the choice of compression ratio, which will be homologated from March 2014.

        As you suggest reliability will be a big part. I believe that all three manufacturers will be able to meet the 120 kW for 33.3 seconds over a qualifying lap. Multi lap runs in qualifying will be more complex due to the storage rules. The effective capacity is limited to 4 MJ, which at the maximum discharge rate of 120 kW gives 33.3 seconds worth. No more than 2 MJ is allowed to go in to the storage unit per lap. For heat management and other purposes the teams may prefer the drivers stick to 16.67 seconds per lap during the race.

        I did miss one area of potential engine design variation – up to 25% of fuel, depending on fuel flow, may be injected via the inlet valves. This would reduce the incoming air temperature from the turbo before it is compressed further, but reduces the similar benefit of direct injection. I’ve no idea if there is only one right answer for this, or if the teams will come up with different solutions.

        Still, none of this says whose is best.

        Cheers,
        Martin

      2. JB says:

        Thanks for the nice detailed analysis, Martin.
        My thoughts exactly… NOT REALLY. LOL.

  33. James – I am interested in your comment regarding the expectation that the Mercedes will be the dominant new engine in 2014. What is this based on? Why won’t the Renault or the Ferrari be the strongest?

  34. [MISTER] says:

    “all the signs are that the Mercedes will be the dominant new generation engine in 2014″

    James, you seem very sure about this as I believe you brought it up in some of your past articles.
    I am sure the visit to Mercedes factory was insightful and impressive, but have you seen the Ferrari engine to make a comparisson? Or why so sure the MErcedes will be the one? How about the Renault?

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s a feeling

      One that is shared by a number of people in the sport

      1. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        Surely part of the confidence that Mercedes has springs from the performance advantage their engines have had since at least 2009?

        There have been many comments from teams such as Red Bull about being down on power by using the Renault engines since the engine freeze.

        Before people say that RB haven’t done too badly by using Renault engines, thats been more down to clever engine management through the off throttle blown diffuser (2011) and now other Newey Snr aero tricks (2012).

      2. Ade says:

        It does seem like Mercedes are really the only ones singing about their 2014 engine, I’d say that Renault have the most experience with smaller capacity turbo engines though!?

      3. Enzo says:

        But this “feeling” is so strong, that Force India are mad if they would choose the Ferrari engine?

      4. Sami says:

        This may not be relevant, but remember that a Mercedes turbo engine (Ilmor in 1994, I know… ;) ) won quite a few races in Indycars in 1994-95. So there seems to be a precedent there. I do not understand how some people can be so skeptic.
        Something to do with tactics of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt?

    2. JB says:

      I speculate Mercedes might have started their dev work quite early… Thus many experts probably think that will give them the advantage.

    3. Scuderia McLaren says:

      Which ever manufacturer gets an early run on the competition in 2014 wont really matter. If there is an engine that has too significant an advantage, whether in power or fuel economy, an equalisation technique will be called for and applied. The powers that be will not allow any manufacturer to completely dominate. This happened in the V8 era also where some manufacturers were allowed to catch up.

      Incidentally, my humble opinion is that Renault will actually be the leading engine initally in 2014. They have been pushing hard for this tech and spec for a long time behind the scenes. This type of motor is right up their alley. After they get a run on the comp in 2014, and after the other manufacturers will equalize with their power and fuel economy capacities, the natural evolution of the formula will evolve into a very close performance across all manufactures anyway. Again, this happened in all engine regs over recent history.

      I think in 2014, we will see a few GP’s where somone has stolen a lead and enjoyed an advantage. Then a fair bit of in fighting fighting as no manufacturer wants to be seen as the “worse” engine. Then equalisation techniques applied. Then discussion and debate about the next suggested technical change to F1.

      And on it goes…

  35. Lindsay says:

    “As for the subject of Vettel joining Ferrari in the near future”

    After the ridiculous “will we or won’t we protest?” nonsense from Ferrari after the Brazilian Grand Prix, I’d be surprised if Vettel ever goes to Ferrari, at least not unless there’s a major personnel change there.

    1. Kay says:

      Yer, why?

      Back in Monza 2006, Massa complained to FIA about Alonso blocking him but there were hundreds of metres apart. Alonso wasn’t at all happy with Ferrari’s tricks and techniques in dragging him down the grid order. Look where Alonso is now!

  36. Richard says:

    “all the signs are that the Mercedes will be the dominant new generation engine in 2014″ – James, would you care to expand? I’ve seen nothing of any of the other engine manufacturers regarding their 2014 offerings.

    1. James Allen says:

      Talking around to engineers from various places. It seems to be a widely held feeling that the Merc engine will have the edge

      1. Anne says:

        Of course Mercedes could be very good and competitive. But that doesn´t mean Mercedes is going to be the best car. I think Newey still has the last word.

      2. FernanDino says:

        This would presume people who “think” Merc has an edge have had access to secret egine data from 3 different suppliers. That’s difficult to believe.

      3. F458 says:

        At the moment it is all based on perception. Unless those engineers from rival teams have met up and compared power outputs/torque/fuel consumption figures (yes highly unlikely) no one knows until Melbourne 2014. Also lets not forget there is still a year to go so anything can change yet.

  37. Kimi4WDC says:

    I can’t see how people think that Mercedes will be a dominant engine in 2014.

    More so, Renault is the one that usually comes up with the best solution to new changes, where Mercedes tend to work on their product and improve it over times.

    This Mercedes confusion can stir up a storm, cause there is absolutely no indicators to why they should have a better engine, Renault always delivered outstanding power units and innovation is something they certainly do not lack.

    1. Sami says:

      Renault builds excellent engines, but remember they were overtaken by other constructors in the Turbo days, despite being the pioneers: Ferrari, BMW and Porsche.
      Remember also that the Mercedes turbo engine proved very competitive in Indycars in the nineties.

  38. Elie says:

    I would only be guessing that Mercedes have been developing turbo engines ( very successfully) in their road cars for a few years already now. Im sure there had been tremendous investment in this regard even before F1 made the decision to switch.

    Having said that Renault make terrific turbo cars also- it’s probably not on the same level as the Mercedes road cars so far. Ferrari have not delved into turbo technology for many years now so perhaps that is the perception that’s out there now.

    As for drivers I truly hope they give Felipe a fair go-regardless of Fernandos no 1 status- I mean surely if Felipe comes out and wins in Melbourne then why not make him no1. I know it’s Santanders money but if Ferrari are at the front that’s what counts most !

    Very curious why Mclaren are using Cologne wind tunnel. Is that because they are sharing their tunnel with Marrusia?

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Some good points, but I’m struggling to remember what turbo cars Mercedes has in their range, other than turbo diesels.
      Renault have a fantastic range of small cars using turbo engines. They also pioneered the use of turbos in F1 back in 1978, and have proven ever since to be great engine designers, winning countless races and championships with William, Benetton, Renault (nee Benetton) and RBR.

      Ferrari hasn’t had a turbo car since 1987 F40 but they also used turbo engines between 1981 and 1988. I’m not sure if people don’t realise or simply forget, but Ferrari’s parent company Fiat, has some great turbo designs in their range too, both fiat and Alfa Romeo.

      To my mind, Mercedes were at their peak in 1998 & 1999, when Ilien designed the engines.
      Afterwards, BMW raised the power stakes and only Ferrari was ever in the same ball park.
      Over the years we’d witness Mercedes power units fail more than any other, and they seemed hit hardest by the banning of exotic materials like Berylium.
      Only when the FIA introduced 18,000 rpm limits did reliability improve

      Regards Massa, completely agree with you, if he comes out and wins in Australia then continues to beat Alonso till post Germany.
      Fisichella won the 1st race in 2005, but Alonso destroyed him over the remainder of the season.
      I don’t believe Massa is anywhere near Alonso’s level, simple as that. Isn’t that what Domenicali alluded to when he spoke of not having two number ones.

      1. Elie says:

        Are you kidding me just check the Mercedes AMG E & S even ML 63 range – they are 5.5l twin turbo beasts. They switched from naturally aspirated (6.2) engines to Turbos just over a year ago. They have thunderous torque. As for reliability -F1 -they have not had any problems for a few years now as you mentioned . even now on the power circuits you could see the difference to the Renaults ( not Ferrari) in the merc powered cars in a straight line they just smashed the others.

        Mercedes have always built motors with epic torque – BMW, & Porsche engines beat them for power but not torque. Just wondering when these other manufacturers will join the party – Im guessing when cost cutting actually happens ! Im not doubting Renaults prowess past history in Turbo cars – I wouldnt mind a 265 Megane (2.5 turbo) in their current road cars either. But the other advantage is Mercedes KERS technology is far stronger and more reliable than Renault. I mean gees – how long have we had KERS now 3 years – they are still not as powerful or reliable as the Mercs are they. Fact – No one really knows what each manufacturer has till they roll them out – but if their road cars are any eg – look out !

        I was Felipes biggest critic but the last two races he drove better than his team mate. I think we have the Felipe of 2008 back and that guy was pretty darn good. Sure I don’t think he is as good as Fernando this year but next year who knows- and how long can Fernando continue to drive at that level. What people fail to see also is that Fernando gets the best from the team first- this makes him look even better than he is. (I picked him as the best last year- but only a wisker to Lewis & Kimi- in his first year back ! )

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        Excuse my ignorance, I hadn’t realised they moved from the 6.2 litre monsters. Although watching top gear, I wonder if rear tyre usage is in Mercedes DNA, both F1 and road cars lol

      3. Elie says:

        #Minor mistake the Renault Megane sports 265 is a 2.0 turbo#

        Other point to note is that DI technology is a little advanced now with Mercedes and Renault in their road cars. Ferrari have not gone down this path yet in their road cars because of the higher revs and power & torque spreads their road cars demand ( they are working on next gen DI engines but I don’t think they have not released them yet)

      4. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        New Ferrari Enzo (2012) is V8 twin turbo, so Ferrari is no that unexperienced on turbo engines.

    2. krischar says:

      @ Elie

      What do you mean by fair go ?

      Has webber got fair go at vettel over the past seasons anytime ? (Always – Faulty kers, Dodgy pit stops, Poor starts etc )

      “Felipe comes out and wins in Melbourne then why not make him no1″. Are you in wonderland or joking ? You can have 2008 or 2006 or 2011 felipe.

      Fact is Alonso is a genius. Felipe is not racing kimi or schumi anymore. He is racing against the greatest driver of all time in F1 history

      1. Elie says:

        This post is about Ferrari not Red Bull but yeah ! I wish Mark would get a fair go too- absolutely. But very rarely is Mark anywhere near Seb and when he is comfortably ahead they let him win. With Felipe -he is given no chance even if he is half a lap ahead he must bow down.
        Btw did you happen to notice that Felipe was faster than Fernando the last few races or was your head too far up Alonsos pants to notice !.
        I don’t like either driver despite the fact I rated Fernando best of 2012 by the smallest or margins to Hamilton and Raikkonen. & on their day / season either driver can beat him and on his best day even Felipe can beat him. Despite 3 years at the Scuderia he has not won the championship- that is Definitely NOT the sign of “the greatest driver of all time “..Not even close !!. He was beaten by a rookie at Mclaren- AGAIN- All the more reason to let them race !

        How stupid would it be for any team to write off a driver who starts winning races and not give him at least equal opportunity if he leads the championship- the point where it changes then by all means you play the team game. So yes I re-iterate for the dummies – ” if Felipe wins at a melb Ferrari should give him no1. Same for Perez , same for Grosjean, anybody- performance is all that matters !!
        When there is no chance for the other driver you then start having no 1.

  39. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    I’m not sure if Ferrari is taking good decisions or it is just a disaster…

    Its strategy is to put Alonso first. McLaren put the the team first. Mercedes, the engine. Lotus, the business. Red Bull put all the parts first, maybe that’s why they are champions again and again.

    1. Kay says:

      By putting Alonso first over Massa, this also means putting Ferrari first because Alonso is the stronger driver out of the two. With Alonso taking more wins that’d also count towards WCC table.

  40. RodgerT says:

    Reading the article 2 things came to mind.

    The first has already been addressed by others asking what evidence there is that Mercedes has an upper hand on the 2014 engines other than their own PR?

    The other is why did you have to use the adjective “little” when talking about Massa? Seems a bit beneath the usual tone of your posts.

  41. NJ says:

    “I think the toughest part of Felipe’s career is now behind him”

    Yes… it is over… now that he knows and accepts he will be No.2 for the rest of his career at Ferrari.

    Trying to beat No.1 was what caused all the problems.

    1. Mingojo says:

      Or lack of speed or consistancy!!!

  42. Craig in Manila says:

    Starting to sound like ….
    1. I should put some money on Mercedes for both championships in 2014.
    2. Renault and Ferrari should just stop spending any further money on their 2014 engines. No point.

  43. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    James – it seems that a number of teams have had problems shifting from 50% to 60% wind tunnels in recent years. Given these proven problems on development, why haven’t teams left this until a new development year or simply continued using 50% wind tunnels?

    This would make a great question for your podcast (I’m a big fan) :)

  44. Best Seller says:

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  45. Denis68 says:

    The Ferrari stratery is looking clear

    With Alonso, Gene, De La Rosa, Santander and the demise of HRT all that is left is for the team to relocate to Spain.

    1. James Allen says:

      Real estate is cheap there at the moment..

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        James, will there be a change to testing regs to allow the team proper track testing of this new technology, or will they still be limited to their current schedule?

      2. James Allen says:

        We asked Andy Cowell of Mercedes about this. Problem is you can’t test until you have 2014 car, as the 2014 engine won’t fit a 2013 car.

        So we may see some more February testing in 2014, but the engine makers will have done tons of dyno testing of the engines anyway.

  46. Michael Preatia says:

    Hi James,

    You mentioned that Merc look to be the dominant engine in 2014. How is this so? Are there tests to compare power with Ferrari and Renault?

  47. Adam Taylor says:

    In terms of Mercedes having a “title assault” in 2014, I can’t see it. Apart from the glorious 2009 season, under Brawns leadership Honda and Mercedes have always tended to under perform during the season and switch their resources to the next season.

  48. Luke Attwood says:

    James,

    Isn’t one of the big areas for the new generation engines fuel consumption due to the new regulation changes on the amount of fuel that be held/used? Also, isn’t it a fact that Renault engines are currently the most fuel efficient and that is why all of the Mercedes engine teams suffer at the start of the race as they have to start with more fuel?

    I’d be interested to hear your comments on this in regard to your feeling about Mercedes likely being dominant in 2014.

  49. F458 says:

    “all the signs are that the Mercedes will be the dominant new generation engine in 2014″ How can this be determined at this moment in time? Truth is no one knows until the 2014 season starts.

  50. Peres Mircea says:

    James please tell me about the new Mclaren wind tunnel that you was talking. I read on February 2012 that they received the green light to start building Mclaren Applied Technologies Center. It’s another structure like MTC, and like Mclaren Production Center, the new center will be built in the same area. I know that were problems because of the conservationists, but finally they received the green light to start construction. Between the facilities I read about a new wind tunnel. When you said about the new wind tunnel, you was talking about this wind tunnel in this new construction which will be Mclaren Applied Technology Center?? Or another wind tunnel? This wind tunnel will be 100% scale (for Mclaren Automative) or 60% scale (for Mclaren Racining) or can be used for both? James do you have any informations about the stage of the work of the new center? They have all the green light, but in July 2012 the work on the new center, didn’t started because the authorities of Woking implemented a set of tight conditions, but a Mclaren spokeman told that it was only a matter of time? After that I had not heard any news about the new center or the new wind tunnel. Please James, if you know something about this matter, let me know about this to.

  51. alessandro says:

    Whatever the strategy, the investment, etc Ferrari will never go anywhere till Domenicali will be boss. His management of team just brought in terrible results. Hoe many more championships Ferrari must lose before facing the reality that Domenicali and Massa are not up to the standard and must be replaced asap?

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