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Changes and updates at Ferrari as the new season approaches
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Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Jan 2013   |  10:36 pm GMT  |  75 comments

As the new year kicks into life there is plenty of action at Ferrari; the team is beginning work on a new base for its F1 team which is due to open in time to develop the 2015 car, on a site between the Cavallino restaurant and the existing team headquarters, known as Gestione Sportiva.

At the same time the team announced today that from February 1 it will have a new head of communications, Renato Bisignani, formerly of Renault F1, who will replace Luca Colajanni, who held the position for over a decade.

This change has been rumoured since the end of last season, but was confirmed today. It is a change which will not mean a great deal to F1 fans, but will resonate within F1 media; Colajanni did a difficult job with great passion and attention, but inevitably some relationships were more tense than others. I always got on well with him and enjoyed his sense of humour.

Colajanni with Bernie Ecclestone (XPB.cc)

As for the new HQ, which will be a trapezoid shape, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, team principal laid the first stone on Monday and the Ferrari website noted,

“The first excavations have indeed begun of the foundations of the building that will house the offices of the management, engineers and administrative staff along with the working areas of the team. The location, which is owned by Ferrari and currently used as a car park, is situated between the Cavallino restaurant and the building that is currently used by the Scuderia.

“The project has been planned in accordance with guidelines inspired by the practicality, efficiency and style that characterise the Formula One programme. The aim is to create an environment that has been well thought through for the people who will work there. This programme, which has benefited from the positive steps taken in favour of the employees and their families, has earned Ferrari the title “Best place to work in Europe” from the Financial Times.”

Anyone who has been behind the scenes at Maranello and seen the existing factory will concur that this move has not come a moment too soon. The existing race bays and engine build shop are historic (although the technology inside is state of the art) and the team needed to move into a 21st century building, which it will now be doing. It’s a significant investment, albeit not on the scale of the McLaren Technology Centre. But then it doesn’t need to be, as Ferrari has many other new buildings on the campus like the wind tunnel and logistics centre.

Ferrari’s traditional start of season bash in the mountains, known as Wrooom, kicks off today (hence the timing of the Colajanni announcement) with press conferences scheduled with Domenicali and the drivers. So watch out for lots of Ferrari stories in the next few days…

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75 Comments
  1. Tim says:

    “..has earned Ferrari the title “Best place to work in Europe” from the Financial Times.”

    Great to read such comments. Gotta be a dream job for many an Italian youngster.

    Tim

    1. Craig Baker says:

      Is it true ferrari has signed de la Rosa as their development driver?
      If that is true I am looking forward to an ultra competitive ferrari later this year.

  2. Riccardo Consulini says:

    Ferrari, per sempre nel nostro cuore
    Avanti cavallino rampante, Avanti
    orgoglioso di essere tifoso
    Passione che non finisce mai. :-)

    1. Enzo says:

      Bravo Riccardo!
      Per sempre forza Ferrari!

  3. Dave C says:

    I do wonder James if you would consider do a in detail look and compare of all the F1 teams factories and facilities and give and indication on who has the best and most advanced base, my money would be on the old Toyota HQ in cologne closely followed by the Mclaren technology centre, would love to see how this new Ferrari base compares with the Redbull factory at Milton keynes.

    1. Floodo1 says:

      GREAT idea! I’d love to see some more behind the scenes, especially for teams that aren’t McLaren (who have been pretty good about letting videos of the factory out).

    2. Daninator says:

      Yes, this would be a great article!

      Awesome to see what the top teams have got and are working with, but more interestingly how the small mid-field teams get bang for their buck to remain competitive.

    3. Doohan says:

      That’d be a great article.
      Perhaps even a piece on the different junior driver programs Mclaren, red bull, Ferrari have.

    4. Andrew Carter says:

      I think it would be a tough call between Toyota, McLaren and Sauber, who had a lot of money poured into their technical resources by BMW, but can no longer support a large enough work force to make full use of it. Would make for an interesting article though.

    5. Illuminatus says:

      +1

    6. hero_was_senna says:

      I hope the Toyota facility is as advanced as you suggest. As a Ferrari fan, it’s been worrying to hear Ferrari working in their wind tunnel when it’s been out of use since Toyota left the sport.
      I’m assuming that its used for other work programmes but maybe an article about various F1 facilities will give an insight into whether they are moth balled or hired out to interested parties, be they Motorsport, aviation or sailing?

      1. James Allen says:

        Don’t worry about that. It’s very good and very popular

  4. Jonathan says:

    Did Colajanni write the Horse Whisperer column?

    1. James Allen says:

      He might well have done, but I could not possibly comment

      1. aj says:

        The new boy replacing him appears to have a most colourful ancestry
        http://wp.me/p2HWOP-T7

      2. Jonathan says:

        Thanks!

    2. Fan Jack says:

      No. Everybody knows the Horse Whisperer is Montezemolo himself.

      1. Kay says:

        Nice one LOL! Quite true.

  5. Irish con says:

    I just want to see a Ferrari car as good as the 2008 one pace wise with the 2011/2012 reliability. Then see how good f1 would be with 3 top cars. Instead of alonso having to perform miracles every week.

    1. Mingojo says:

      I hope so too!

  6. goferet says:

    Uh head of communications, isn’t that essentially, the PR guy?

    It appears Ferrari management fell out with the PR head maybe due to the Vettel yellow flag incidents after Brazil 2012, but one has to wonder how long it will take for teams like Ferrari and Mclaren to realize that it isn’t the small fish that need replacing but rather the big fish.

    And with Colajanni having been with the team for over a decade, Ferrari may have got rid of the last member of the Schumi dream team = More bad news.

    Anyway, on a different note, congrats on the employees for their improved working conditions and with this new building taking over the former car park area, me thinks they’re going for underground parking with a stairway possibly connecting the restaurant to the old and new factories.

    Alright, it’s off to the mountains then for the Wrooom event. This can only mean the new season kicks in proper.

    P.s.

    Currently not sure whether Ferrari’s new headquarters will bring them good fortune or not.

    We have seen some sports entities go through tough times having moved base e.g. Mclaren have won 1 WDC title since moving to their futuristic building in 2003.

    Also in football, Arsenal haven’t been able to win any silverware since moving to their new Emirates stadium.

    1. S2K says:

      Ferrari ain’t Arsenal :)

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      I’m not sure that the tenuous link to the Schumi years is too important. He wasn’t an engineer at the team at any stage, or involved in the technical side of the squad.
      As MSC has proven at Mercedes, times change.

      Regarding a Ferrari move, they aren’t.
      They are still based within the Ferrari complex, Mclaren actually moved location completely, I believe that their old factory is used for the servicing of the F1 road car. The current race workshops will probably be used for Ferraris Clienti Sportivi with their classic F1 cars

  7. Richard says:

    Tell us why Luca got the push James. Without that reporting by you, we could be reading any old website!

  8. Hi James, do you have any more comments about the recent aero-hiring-crusade?
    Loic Bigoic, David Sanchez, Martin Bester, Ben A. from Red Bull (allegedly) and finally Marianne Hinson?

  9. Ben says:

    When Colajanni was interviewed mid race on RAI tv he was nearly always angry at something that had happened during the race. Usually with an aggressive comment towards McLaren or RedBull. His passion always came through but I do think that a calmer approach would be more suitable.

    It’s a good time to change with the coverage in Italy moving from RAI to SKY. A fresh start all round.

  10. Eduan says:

    James, I saw in the news that Pirelli was looking to extend their contract as sole F1 tyre supplier, but there are rumors that there might be another tyre manufacturer that wants in on F1? Can you confirm if this is true and who is also interested?

    1. James Allen says:

      Maybe Michelin.

      I think Pirelli will stay on

      1. MISTER says:

        Interesting.
        Pirelli said they will only stay if they don’t have any competition. Will that mean if Michelin want in, Pirelli will walk away?

        I must say, it doesnt look good for Pirelli when they say they don’t want competition..
        Why not? Are they afraid someone could make a better tyre?

      2. James Allen says:

        It costs a lot more when there is competition!

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        Read an article about this the other day. Pirelli’s main exposure is through track side signage.
        F1 is about drivers and cars but during a tyre war, the winning tyre manufacturer gets little recognition whereas the losing manufacturer gets a disproportionate amount of criticism.
        This could all be hyperbole but probably has elements of truth about it.

        Would Michelin return and make tyres as F1 wants them now? A few years back they wanted to change them to low profiles whereas Pireeli was happy to keep the same profile as they run now?

      4. Simmo says:

        Have to say, Pirelli have done a fantastic job in F1, and I really hope they stay!

      5. Random says:

        Michelin… (cough) Indianapolis… (cough)

        Please no

      6. Kay says:

        How about the 18″ rims? I recall that was on Pirelli’s request when they joined F1 a few years back, reasoning that 18″ rims relate more to road cars and the tyres they manufacture for road car use. However, that hasn’t been heard of for 2014 so far.

    2. Unknown says:

      I’ve heard Hankook are looking to make the step up…

  11. Matthew Wheeler says:

    James excellent idea from Dave C, how practical I’m not sure but a review of the main bases with some pics and descriptions would be superb. Red Bull, Ferrari, Mclaren, Lotus, Mercedes etc

  12. Baghetti says:

    Any mountain talk on Ascanelli? Autosprint reported yesterday that he is about to announce his return to F1 but that he will not be going to Ferrari?

    1. aj says:

      I read here he has not ruled it out http://wp.me/p2HWOP-Tq

      Pat Fry is godfather to Ascanelli’s daughter Camilla and the two men were recently together at Camilla’s 18th birthday – only to exclude a return of Ascanelli to Ferrari of course :)

  13. Aplomb says:

    “Colajanni did a difficult job with great passion and attention, but inevitably some relationships were more tense than others. I always got on well with him and enjoyed his sense of humour”

    As an eternal nosey parker I wish I knew exactly the truths you are alluding to there James, I understand why you cannot.. Maybe start some kind of anonymous F1 blog for the real secrets.

    The pressure coming from Spain to reopen and investigate the last race clearly did not sit well with all.

  14. slave says:

    I can remember Eddie Irvine once saying it was every drivers’ dream to drive for Ferrari. Schumacher, Kimi and Alonso have achieved the dream. Vettel knows it is just a question of time.

    But what about Lewis? I guess he needs to find a new dream.

    1. Kay says:

      Lewis, with his hero being Senna, has always wanted to drive for McLaren and being a lucky ass of a kid he did for his first team! :D

      I think that slipped his mind when he signed the Merc contract though…

  15. Stephen Taylor says:

    James, if Alonso does not win the championship in the next two years or so would he consider retirement?

    1. Horno says:

      Alonso has a contract up untill 2016, incl. 2016..
      So, don’t think so, at least another 3yrs, fortunatelly!

      1. Horno says:

        Ps.
        Although 2014 will be a tough nutt to crack, because Alonso understeers his car, but in 2014 the cars will be more oversteering..

      2. Anil says:

        Alonso has proven to be one of the drivers over the years who has the ability to adapt his driving style very easily. I don’t think he’ll suffer too much.

      3. Kay says:

        2012 James pointed out from Monaco onwards Alonso adjusted his driving to fit this year’s tyres and make better use of them. You can dig that out somewhere here..

      4. Stephen Taylor says:

        Raikkonen had a contract at Ferrari until the end of 2010 and look what happened there. So don’t rule it out.

      5. hero_was_senna says:

        1 huge difference, Alonso leads the team and works tirelessly.

      6. Kay says:

        hero, wasn’t MSC also kind of pushed out of the way for Kimi too back in 2006?

  16. Andrew Carter says:

    I wonder if Ferrari would consider rebuilding their wind tunnel any time in the near future. I gather it was built at an angle so that they could get it subsidised, claiming it to be a piece of art, but that angle may now be the rout of their problems with aero correlation.

    1. db4tim says:

      They are completely going through it as you read this ….

    2. Martin says:

      The wind tunnel work is already underway, but is not expected to be finished until October.

      1. W Johnson says:

        That will rule out “the wind tunnel” as an excuse for designing bad cars….What will they use next??

    3. Scuderia McLaren says:

      What?! Come on now… Don’t be naive.

    4. Elie says:

      Andrew don’t read too much into it . Nobody jeapodises their success and millions of dollars on a wind tunnel for subsidy purposes. It’s just dated and Ferrari need to upgrade like any other team !

  17. FernanDino says:

    James,
    I can’t figure out why you too are saying that Colajanni was doing a “difficult job”. I read the same sort of comment in Italian blogs, but in Italy as you may know, it is normal practice for journalists to send roses to other fellow journalists as frequently as possible because they all belong to this medieval, self-revering thing called “Ordine degli giornalisti”. What was Colajanni doing? War correspondant in Baluchistan? Or was he attending F1 races from Ferrari’s garage?
    He always looked like a journalist of the Cold War. I.e. before the internet was invented. No other F1 team has a “press officer” like in the 50′s.

  18. zombie says:

    To add : The annual pre-season get together at Madonna di Campiglio is both Ferrari’s and Ducati MotoGp team’s traditional start of season . Its rumored to be a bit of a damp squib this time with Ferrari missing out on the titles, and Ducati losing the most popular man in Italy,a certain Valentino Rossi to Yamaha.

    1. f-duct says:

      Interesting, considering that Ducati was revently taken over by Audi ! And isnt there an (in)famous commercial with a red Audi R8 cruising through an italian village with a mob of angry Ferraristi, then a sign next city Maranello !
      I wonder how Ferrari and Ducati will get along now, LOL

    2. Fan Jack says:

      This chap called Valentino was the real zombie of its former self. Future will tell whether it was the wrong pilot for the wrong bike or vice versa.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Every time it rained, the zombie moved forwards..

        Also, hasn’t Ducati’s designer, Preziosi, been replaced by Audi? They aren’t fools, look at their Le Mans record.
        It’s common knowledge that Rossi became exasperated by his requests being over-ruled by the chief designer.

        Maybe Rossi won’t be at the same level he was at pre-Ducati, he’s in his mid 30′s now, but I’m certain he’ll be fighting for race wins throughout

    3. Mingojo says:

      It’s funny you mention “rumours” when Autosport is paying more attention than they did last year.Are you the one creating the rumour?

      1. zombie says:

        ‘Autosport’ is not local press, them covering or not covering doesn’t make an iota of a difference to the atmosphere at di Campiglio.

      2. Mingojo says:

        So, now is the local press creating the rumour? ;-)

  19. Dkfone says:

    Hi James, An unrelated topic but I was wondering if you could shed any light on why the FIA ousted Gary Harstein as doctor? I thought he was popular with drivers etc. I understand if you’d prefer not to talk openly about it but would I be correct to say that the man with a great memory and a grudge is behind this?

    1. toleman fan says:

      If you mean a great man (but not a tall man)…then no, not according to Harstein himself, who’s been explicit about that.

      His difficulties seem to be with ’2′ people, and the impression I get from his tweets is they’re FIA not FOM.

      1. Dkfone says:

        The man I refer to is FIA and not FOM.

  20. JCA says:

    Off topic, if I ran Fiat, I would re-brand my customer engines as Maserati. Keeping them Ferrari gives them no publicity, just economy of scale, but branding them Maserati gives them good advertisement for a brand that they are trying to give a 10 fold increase in sales in 4 years.

  21. Anne says:

    Also former McLaren,Sauber and HRT driver Pedro De La Rosa has joined Ferrari as a test driver.

    1. zombie says:

      You mean former Jordan,Arrows,Jaguar,Mclaren,BMW,Sauber and HRT driver Pedro De La Rosa is joining Ferrari as a test driver ?

      1. Anne says:

        No. I meant to mention only McLaren because it was the highest point of his career. But it wasn´t the only team he worked for. So I decided to add a few more recent teams he was also part of. But you seem willing to tell us all about De La Rosa. So don´t stop there. Write his entire biography

      2. zombie says:

        In due time..as soon as i’m done with Sakon Yamamoto and Gaston Mazzacane’s biographies !

      3. Anne says:

        Ah! Gaston Mazzacane´s biography. The Argie who was Minardi´s driver.I can´t wait to read that one. Yamamoto… I pass. Not very interested in japanese drivers.

  22. Stephen Taylor says:

    Jamea, any news on the German GP?
    Thanks
    Stephen Taylor

  23. Paul C says:

    I saw Colajanni lurking around the MTC.
    He was photographed standing next to a few of the McLaren cars.

    This was at the FOTA fan forum there a few yeas ago.
    Rumour had it he lives in the UK!

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