F1 Winter Break
Ferrari start to get worried
Ferrari start to get worried
Posted By:   |  05 Apr 2009   |  1:17 pm GMT  |  31 comments

Two races in and still no points on the board for Ferrari. Of course they can point to the effort put in to win last year’s title and to the row over the two step diffusers which Brawn, Toyota and Williams have, but the fact of the matter is that both of these races have offered opportunities for Ferrari and McLaren to score points but they haven’t taken those chances.

In two normal dry races, maybe the diffuser three would have had an advantage, but these last two races have given the non diffuser teams opportunities, in Melbourne the two safety cars levelled the playing field, in Sepang it was the rain.

But what will worry team boss Stefano Domanicali the most is the decision making process has been poor.

In qualifying the track was ramping up very quickly, I tweeted on it from early in the session, it was as plain as the what-nots on a dog and yet they thought Massa would be safe on a modest lap and he was caught out. Today the decision to switch Kimi onto full wet tyres when the track was bone dry at the time was totally insane.

Reliability has been a concern too for Ferrari, Raikkonen had anothert KERS related problem this afternoon, on top of the issues in Australia.

Domenicali had a hard edge in his voice when he spoke this evening in Sepang, he said, “It’s not a positive weekend, the second in a row and this is not good at all. We have to react immediately People have to take responsibility for things, from a performance point of view and from a management point of view, This is not acceptable and I do not accept it.”

As for who decided to put Kimi on wet tyres on a dry track Domenicali said, “I don’t want to say , because we need to discuss it internally. But I can tell you why we did it, which is that we knew a big storm was coming and we felt a few spots of rain, so because of this, one plus one, that was the decision.”

The rain came 6 minutes later…..

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo had been on the phone to poor Stefano. “He is not happy, this is normal in his position, I’m not happy either.”

So where do they go from here?
“From a performance point of view, we need to make sure that we can bring something to China. On the aero side we know what we need to make the difference. We need more downforce. We also need to see why on Friday our car on soft cars with lots of fuel was very competitive, but with other tyres was very difficult. So the car is very sensitive to fuel load and tyres. On the management we need to improve because this is something we cannot accept for the future.

Meanwhile a totally hacked off Kimi Raikkonen, was even more mono-syllabic than usual his theme; “We made completely wrong tyre choices.”

His assessment of the first two races; “In the first race I made a mistake so we lost some points, here we made completely the wrong tyre choices.”

It’s still only early days and Ferrari had some blank weekends the last two years and still won championships. But they have to get on the scoreboard in China and hope that Jenson Button hits trouble, otherwise he could be 20 or 30 points clear by the time we get back to Europe next month.

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If Bernie's medal system had been taken up this season would Button have got half a medal? lol Haven't seen any discussion on the subject yet.


And what's with Kimi's big hat?


its a gangsta style new era cap, kimi is too cool for school, catch him with his magnum and a coke whilst the rest were sitting in the pouring rain? i dont like ferrari but kimi is hilarious


Who would want to stand in poor Stefano's hand-made shoes right now? Snr. di Montezemolo has a habit of breaking things when he gets angry. Ask his daughter about their TV set.

Or which of us would like to be Mr. Whitmarsh explaining to Mr. Dennis what really happened at Melbourne?

It's a sad fact that the introduction of gambling into F1 has vastly increased the pressures on Team Managers, much like football, and cricket.

Pressure to perform, lie, cheat, and steal.

It wasn't always like this, as Mr. Allen knows. I wonder what his father would say about F1 today?


Ferrari clearly have management and strategy problems, it had signs last year at Silverstone and Singapore. I don't want to hear from Domenicali what the problems are any more, I want to see them solving these problems. Why did they gamble with Kimi who was fifht that time is a mistery. So, they have strategy problems, reability problems and they are slow...I can see Stefano leaving his role pretty soon, if things don't change dramaticaly.


it was awful decision making from ferrari presumably it was the team principal, he has botched up twice in this race
he ruined felipe's chances in qualifying and went all out and ensured kimi dont stand a chance to score here in sepang.
what was he thinking ,doesnt he know full wets in dry dont work.
i say both the drivers are fine but their management is horrendous, massa lost the tittle due to some bad decisions made by team last year and now i dont see them coming back unless domenicali goes, he has made enough blunders for the season which is not even two races old. he should go!!
this never happened in todt brawn era


On a lighter note:

"...it was as plain as the what-nots on a dog"

I'm so glad you tempered that Sir, so we can encourage our children to come here and share our passion for motor racing.

Why use course language when there are so many rich alternatives; Perhaps you'd like to add "Neuticles" to your Thesaurus?


Like many others I expected the break up of the Ferrari dream team to lead to a drop in performance but not to the extent it has. It is completely disingenuous for Domenicali to suggest that the effort put in to the 2008 championship is responsible for the 2009 car being bad. As it is for McLaren. Both teams have more than enough resources to cope with parallel programs. Ferrari's 2002 domination followed 2 consecutive championship seasons and was followed by another two.

Everyone misses the boat occasionally when it comes to car design but the tactical decisions this weekend defy belief. Massa saving soft tyres when the field is as close as it is and the times were tumbling was ridiculous but putting Kimi on wets when the track was dry was crazy. Even when two corners were wet the dry tyres were still competitive and the wets were destroying themselves on the remaining dry corners.

I cannot fathom why he was kept on those tyres so long. Once you make a mistake like that sort it as soon as possible and if that is after two laps so be it.

Domenicali is a breath of fresh air at Ferrari and as someone who has been anti-Ferrari since the early 80s I actually have some sympathy for his current predicament which could never have been the case for his predecessor.


Well Stefano himself is certainly one of the problems. At least he is the boss behind a Team that have won a lot of races recently.


In the absence Brawn's dominating figure and without the canny protection of a Jean Todt administration, Mr Domenicali, gives me the impression of being in charge but not in control.

And it's more than just the Ferrari media guy today being caught unaware by Kimi's somewhat premature decision to call it a day ... (the tv pictures showed the driver already out of his overalls while the spinner was telling the bbc they were still evaluating a technical decision). Brundle covered for Domenicali during commentary and suggested the manager must have given Kimi permission, but he did not sound convincing.

We also witnessed Massa's nervous shrieking about a visor caught on the car audio (in total contrast to the apparent stillness of Trulli, Webber, Button and the unflappable baby Rosberg); and one cannot forget Kimi's umpteeth "loss of interest" in Melbourne. To add all this is the team's apparent ambivalence about KERS and its application.

As a red fan and an Italian one at that, I hope I am wrong, but the signs are all there: technical confusion, poor decision-making, nervous improvisation, high-octane emotions, driver indiscipline.

It's beginning to look as though Montezemolo may have been uncomfortable with Ferrari's success being attributed solely to its cosmopolitan leadership team and wanted the brand to be more of a true flag bearer for his country's industrial product. If so, his plan of "italianification" (the reverse ethnic cleansing of the team's hierarchy) could may well be backfiring before our eyes. Ferrari seems to be reverting to its pre-Todt state.


I've never been a fan of Ferrari at all, but I've really warmed to Domenicali this year. He showed some real humour in the TV intreview yesterday which I can't remember seeing from Ferrari management in recent years.


Was so funny seeing Kimi in shorts eating ice cream with a can of coke, only he would be seen doing that. I can really see him just walking away from F1 at the end of the season. Such a shame really, doesn't really look like he cares about being an F1 driver or not and yet he's so good.


bring back todt i agree with silvio there are to many mistakes.At this rate we'll be struggling with force india. In 2005 we had serious problems with the tyres but we just kept trying.This year its mistake after mistake no discipline ,if the car is this bad then rebuild the whole thing but if it isn't done now the season will be over by bahrain.They know the problems the drivers will be telling them on every corner get it sorted or get someone who can but last nights shambles is not good enough.


''Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo had been on the phone to poor Stefano. “He is not happy, this is normal in his position, I’m not happy either.”''

Now there's an understatement. LOL. Perhaps he's thinking about swimming with da fishes.

Great stuff James.


In the early hours of Monday morning a small earthquake struck central Italy, 6.3 on the Richter scale, no casualties.

Snr. Montezemelo orders a new TV, cellphone, and microwave. His cat "Tosca" leaves home.


The ice-cream and coke was probably the smartest decision all week-end.

I am a long time fan and was quite annoyed by
"Ferrari's" decision not to promote Brawn to Todt's job.

Can somebody please tell me what exactly Michael Schumacher does on the pit wall apart from soak up the atmos?

James I thought you Twote very well all week-end and I don't know how you do it and still get to see everything.

Remember when we just watched what happened between ad breaks.....now it's tv, live timing AND tweets.


Very bad decisions by Ferrari, can't really say much else apart from how bad they were. In Q1, Massa should have gone out again, he made a big mistake on the lap. Then in the race Kimi was 5th, not 15th! There was no point putting Kimi on full wets on a dry track. I also think Kimi could have gone longer before the stop...so that makes the decision worse.


I think Kimi is a honest person I couldn't see him lying and he's hilarious who can forget the "I was having a s**t" comment he made to Martin Brundle. He may not say much but when he speaks he goes straight to the point.


I said the following

I don’t think Massa lost the title because of “bad decisions”.

I meant to say

I don’t think Massa lost the title because of “bad decisions” by Stefano.


I don't think Massa lost the title because of "bad decisions".

Sure, he lost because of the team but not sure how much you can blame on management (i.e. Stefano). What comes to mind is the Hungarian GP where the engine blew (out of Stefano's control...although pathetic) and Singapore GP. But again, in Singapore it was HUMAN ERROR but not something that you can blame on Stefano.

I hope they improve.


Indeed he is, and has done a terrific job so far, and I believe will in future if "nursed" by a steadying hand.

But I suspect Mr. Montezemelo will be both shouting and pointing fingers, instead of employing the calmer approach he (had to) use on his Finnish driver.

They have just undergone a massive "re-organisation and re-focus", in my view, they only need to fine-tune what they have, and they'll come good.


Yeah if we could have the personality of stefano, with the strategy brain of Brawn and Admin of Todt, that really would be a dream team....err...person...;-)

Like you say he's a nice guy, maybe he gives too much away in interviews, but as a spectator Im glad he's like that. Todt, Brawn and Michael were really annoying like this, they might as well of had cardboard cut outs spurting their sponsors names at random intervals for interviews and press conferences! 🙂
McLaren didnt just nick Ferrari's car design, they also took over from Ferrari as the P.R. BORES of the pitlane! (rolleyes)
(just listen to Hamilton and Kovi anytime they get on the podium, and win won..races....Zzzzzzzz.....Snooze...


maybe its a case that Domencali hasnt been allowed to fully take control of 'the reigns' at race weekends since Todt left..and needs/is contracted to call Montizemello when a real time decision is called for at the track or something...I think there could be some Toyota style politics creeping in, based on their response time in crisis moments during races...they really have gone from Hero to Zero since the 'dream team' left (not inc schumi!).


I gotta say I love Kimi's 'realness' - he's no poster boy for a team!, he just says it like it is,....doesn't smile if he doesnt want to...doesnt laugh at sh*t jokes...and goes around the pits with his mates like he's tagging along at GP courtesy of his dad or something! WYSIWYG...couldn't be more of a contrast to 'the red BaronORING'..


Completly agree, Kimi was hillarious after he was back in the pits. Especially as the Ferrari PR bloke was on TV saying that Kimi could rejoin the race, just after we've seen him in shorts, ice cream in one hand, can of coke which he tries to open with his teeth in the other hand! Classic Kimi!


it just hasnt been 'bent in' yet...


I believe that a win is a win, and counts as a full one even if half points are awarded. (I did have a look at the regs when they came out, before they were rescinded).

What the "most wins" system would have meant is that Button would now be the de facto number 1 driver at Brawn, and the team would be crazy not to ensure that every Brawn 1-2 finished with Jenson ahead. They are rightly worried about the chance that other teams will catch up at some point, and splitting the victories between their two drivers would run a big risk of gifting the championship to another team later on this year.

In short, under Bernie's system, Rubens's hopes of a championship would very likely be over already - hardly an incentive to "great racing" at the front.


Just wanted to add that he is probably a great and nice guy though.


"...I can see Stefano leaving his role pretty soon, if things don’t change dramatically."

That would be a big mistake Sir.

He just needs another wise head giving him confidence, much like Mr. Brawn has done at Honda/Brawn.

Shouting and finger pointing won't help him, he just needs a steadying hand on his arm.

Perhaps a consultancy role for our Host, who, I believe, already speaks the Lingo?


I fully respect your opinion, however this is an absolute top level, global business, there is no room for making big mistakes in a row. At this management level (with the responsibility of hundreds of millions) he has to be the "steady hand" without any nurse. As a KIMI fan I would be the happiest to see them doing well, but they need a very firm re-organisation or re-focus very quickly. This is just my opinion, of course and I do't think it is shouting.


Interesting thoughts Silvio. Imagine if they had an Italian driver too!

Personally, I was pleasantly surprised it didn't happen last season.

Surely Snr. Montezemelo is too wise, and has been around too long to make the kind of decision you suggest?

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