F1 Winter Break
Domenicali email to inspire his team
Domenicali email to inspire his team
Posted By:   |  16 Apr 2009   |  8:00 am GMT  |  15 comments

In the wake of the appeal court decision to confirm the findings of FIA’s Charlie Whiting and the stewards in Melbourne and Sepang that the double decker diffusers are legal, Ferrari team principal  Stafano Domenicali has sent an email to every member of staff at the Gestione Sportiva, Ferrari’s race team. The message urges them to react to this latest set back in their toughest start to a season since 1992 “with pride”.

“This decision confirms the legality of solutions which we believe  violate the spirit and the principles of the plans to reduce downforce. I know that we can count on your professionalism and your pride, let’s give everything, as usual.”

This Henry V style invocation to go ‘once more into the breach, dear friends”, shows Stefano  leading and inspiring his troops, who must be feeling demoralised after scoring no points in the first two races and making such a hash of key racing decisions. Already Luca Baldisserri has lost his role as team manager and head of track operations, replaced by Chris Dyer.

Ferrari, like the other seven teams without DD diffusers, are  now flat out on production to bring the new pieces to the car. Like many teams they will effectively have a B spec car in Barcelona at a cost of approximately £5 million, which was not in the original budget. In Ferrari’s case this is probably under 5% of the budget, but for most teams it is between 6 and 8% of budget overspend.

I was surprised to see quotes from Red Bull saying that Adrian Newey is skipping Shanghai to work on a new diffuser, as they have had one in development since three weeks before the Australian GP. But their car is the one which has the hardest job accommodating the diffuser concept.

Returning to the Ferrari email, the tone is in marked contrast to the tone of the official statement Domenicali made on Wednesday:

“We are waiting for the reasons the ICA rejected the appeal. Unfortunately this decision forces us to intervene on fundamental areas of the car’s design in order to to be able to compete on an equal footing with some of the teams from a point of view of the technical regulations and that will take time and money.”

We are still waiting for the ICA’s reasons, but I have a feeling we may be waiting until after Ron Dennis has made whatever announcement he’s planning to make today, to avoid  a major  news clash.

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I really like Domenicali. His way of attitude to the media and generally to the F1 community is much more appealing than those of Jean Todt's. He created a new face for Ferrari, which is good for the sport. At least, he smiles not only in the event of race win!


James, do you really think this will go down as budget overspend?

I'd imagine they will simply have to re-allocate spend that would have gone on other developments. I'd be amazed if any boss said "Ok, here's lots more money on top of this year's budget".


If you think about it, the fia deccisison is the best for the sport. Otherwise two of the small teams (williams and brown) would be in big trouble, and with no chance of podium finishes, and toyota would be a step closer to withdrawind from the sport.

Now the big teams have to spend a little extra cash. Big deal. But they know now who is in charge. Do not mess with us could be the message.

They will catch up, that we can be sure of, and we all now, that jenson button needs a little unfair advantage to fight against hamilton a alonso, otherwise not a chance.
Go jenson¡¡ now you could not find any excuse, even if you tried a little harder than before.


Interesting that so many teams tried playing the 'It'll cost us X number of Euros to develop that if you don't ban it' line of defence when they were already developing them. It just makes me feel that the FIA got it spot on.


What a shame for the reds and the other big teams my heart bleeds for them, not!! having had all the power over many years, they seem to think its there right to be at the top all the time. Massa said that when they have the cars at the same level as the others they will be able to compete fairly? now he knows how the others have felt for years.

What this realy shows is that in many cases most of the drivers are as good as each other, you just need the right car.

I hope that Jenson can do it this year along with Brawn GP, they deserve it for out smarting the so called big guns.


Hi James have Mclaren sorted a new diffuser for this weekend or will it be a few weeks yet?


Whilst I appreciate Stafano Domenicali's attitude and the fact that he's a breath of fresh air after the politics of Jean Todt, the 'spirit of the rules' argument is more than a little tiresome, in my view, and is an argument that teams only trot out when they've simply got it wrong. Regardless of the reason behind a particular technical rule, a certain specification is created by that rule and the teams either meet it or they don't. There's no 'spirit' involved.


The teams that appealed must have known - in their heart of hearts - that they were going to lose the argument UNLESS the FIA's appeal court came down on their side following pressure from above. I have never believed that the court was independent at all - so why do we all pretend that it is? What happens in F1 is all down to what Max and Bernie want to happen. The sooner we - and the teams - realise that, the better. Three teams managed to exploit the regulations to their advantage and what they did was quite clearly within the rules as written. There have always been innovative and even 'genius' designers (Colin Chapman for instance) who have managed to produce designs that were legal and faster than the competition. I agree with your previous correspondent who queries the word 'spirit' as being applicable within F1. It isn't. These guys are incredibly competitive and would stick their grannies on the floor of the cars if it made them go quicker, legally! As Ron Dennis once memorably said, show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser...
Here's to a good season - and a worthy world champion driving for other than Ferrari or McLaren!


Ahem.. Bargeboards, anyone?


I agree Geoff. Is this Berniemax trying to level the playing field by giving the outsiders some kind of hint of how the rules would be interpreted? If Brawn is such an 'innovative, genius' designer how come three teams all came up with the same double decker diffuser idea at the same time?


James can you please give us some ideas on how other teams are trying to catch up on the DD diffuser race? You have given us a fair idea about Ferrari and Red Bull but can you also tell where lie McLaren, Renault?


oh great just "5 million, they can afford it" dont think renault can afford it just lost there biggest sponsor .So if there money is well spent and they take over the three teams in question and the other teams save toyota cant catch them has anything been achieved by the whole rule overhaul because everyone knows if they had all had the dd from race one what would be happening.


What will be interesting to see is how far Adrian Newey pushes the "new" diffuser rule. He has a history of pushing diffuser design to the limit ( if i remember correctly he was responsible for the then revolutionary diffuser design on the 1988 March ). And I would wager he thinks up some way of keeping the innovative pull rod suspension and low endplate fixings for the rear wings. It wouldnt surprise me (and would be great) if the RB5 "B" will become an equal of the brawn or maybe faster. These are the reasons I think that AN is not in China, the version they have been testing in the windtunnel was a half hearted affair whereas now he has had chance to really think about it ( and view the three other implementaions of this on the grid and in close up detail) he has thought of something no one else has.

Maybe I am wrong but well find out in in the next 3 races I would think.


I don't even think manufacturers will - I don't think there's any room for budget extension in the current economic climate, even for a manufacturer.

And given that this is one of the biggest performance developments they will find this year, it will get budgetary priority over any other development, I'd have thought.


Manufacturers might.

But otherwise you're right. The budget allocated to the more gradual improvement through the year will be reallocated to try and get this step-change (if you'll pardon the pun) and catch up with the rest.

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