The reign of Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci is little more than 100 days old, but this week the first changes in his restructing of the team came to light.
Former Lotus technical director James Allison is in overall charge of the entire technical project, both chassis and engine.
Luca Marmorini paid the price for Ferrari’s costly underestimation of the scale of task and investment required to produce a class leading hybrid turbo engine. His role as head of the engine side goes to Mattia Binotto, who has been with the team for many years and was Michael Schumacher’s engine engineer during the glory years.
Mattiacci knows that he is not looking for quick fixes, but rather must put in place a plan to bring Ferrari closer to the front in 2015 and challenging again from 2016 onwards.
This is the first half season during Fernando Alonso’s five seasons there in which he has not won a single race and he has just two podiums to his name.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Mattiacci’s first 100 days of reviewing the state of the Scuderia has revealed the following key issues:
* The response times are too slow, from suppliers to internal processes, the team needs to move more quickly, to match its rivals.
* Inferior hybrid technology – Mercedes invested more and for far longer in the KERS and its successor systems. The factory at Brixworth is a centre of excellence within Mercedes, competing within the company for contracts on new electric and hybrid vehicles and that has hugely benefitted the F1 programme. Although Ferrari can develop its engine before the new homologation period starts in February 2015, catching up could take years.
* Too much emphasis on reliability at the expense of performance in the hybrid development phase. Alonso is the only driver to have scored points in every race this season, but he’s not been a real contender for victory.
* Lack of co-ordination between chassis and engine departments. This is a huge failure, given that the two departments are a few dozen metres apart, rather than in different locations and even countries in the case of Red Bull and its supplier Renault. Hence Allison’s over arching role.
There was no mention in Ferrari’s statement this week of Pat Fry, who was in charge technically until Allison’s arrival and who now has a senior engineering role, including operational activities at races. However he continues in his role.
As for the drivers, there have been discussions about extending Alonso’s contract beyond the end of 2016, but at the same time Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton are both potentially available at the end of next season.
McLaren, which is going through its own restructuring programme under Eric Boullier and is likely to see some significant changes on the technical side soon, is also in the market for Alonso and even for Hamilton.
Those three drivers are sure to be much in demand next season, as the negotiations intensify and the top teams look to set themselves up for the next phase.