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Ferrari in a fix as rivals move ahead
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Ferrari in a fix as rivals move ahead
Posted By: James Allen  |  02 Jun 2010   |  7:04 am GMT  |  235 comments

The controversy over the Red Bull collision on Sunday has taken attention away from what was a very painful weekend for Ferrari, as it celebrated its 800th Grand Prix.

Not only has the team fallen further behind Red Bull and McLaren, it has also been passed on pace by Mercedes and Renault. In the last two races, Robert Kubica has qualified ahead of both Ferraris.

Bahrain seems a long time ago (Darren Heath)

Ferrari has played the history card very strongly in the last two seasons; it was one of its main strategies when standing up to Max Mosley, FIA president at the time and refusing to accept his budget cap plan. It positions Ferrari as the spine of the sport.

And with such a long history, there have inevitably been ups and downs along the way. Some sections of the Italian media have called this moment a “crisis”, but there have been worse.

Having said that, Turkey was a worrying development for Ferrari, which set the benchmark during winter testing. Let us not forget that the technical team stopped working on the 2009 car in July last year to focus on the 2010 car.

And yet while McLaren managed to develop its car right up to the end of 2009 and is now proving its technical strength again in 2010, Ferrari seems not to have the ability to match its long standing rival.

It would be wrong to say that it has been in a steady decline ever since Bahrain; Alonso was on the podium in Spain and the Ferrari was considered a contender for the win in Monaco, but for Alonso’s accident in practice.

But Turkey was a genuinely uncompetitive showing. Right from the start of qualifying it was clear that the Ferrari was in trouble on low fuel. Alonso’s Q1 time was 8/10ths slower than Vettel’s benchmark and that pattern stayed consistent through the qualifying session. Alonso missed the cut for Q3, but Massa’s Q3 time was 8/10ths slower than Webber’s pole. So that’s where Ferrari are and it shows the ferocity of the competition at the sharp end this year.

So why is this?

Well for the last few races now team boss Stefano Domenicali has said that the car lacks downforce. But that is just code for ‘it isn’t fast enough’. Last year’s Ferrari was a poor car which lacked downforce, but it still managed to qualify more strongly in Turkey than this year’s model, which won the first race.

Ferrari say that the reason for the poor showing in Istanbul qualifying is simple – the car just didn’t produce the goods when running low fuel and new soft tyres, compared to the opposition. Interestingly a pattern has emerged in the way the top teams approach Friday practice; McLaren and Mercedes tend to run lower fuel, while Ferrari and Red Bull run much heavier loads. For this reason the McLarens are usually on top of the time sheets on a Friday and seem more consistent than Ferrari in qualifying.

In Istanbul the temperatures changed a lot from Friday afternoon (50 deg) to Saturday morning (26 deg) to qualifying in the afternoon (36 deg). As Bridgestone’s Hirohide Hamashima observed after qualifying, “The changing temperatures made finding the best set-up even more difficult for the teams at this venue, where this is already a challenge due to the track surface evolution over the weekend. The difficult to judge grip levels meant that many people found the limit as they danced on the edge of adhesion today.”

F1 is all about trends and managing them. If you are on a negative trend you want to reverse it as soon as possible. If you have a positive trend you work hard to maintain it.

Perhaps the most worrying development which the team hope will not become a trend was Alonso criticising the team after qualifying. He said that the work done on the Ferrari was not sufficient, “In China, Spain, Montecarlo and here we haven’t brought developments, while Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes have moved ahead.”

A lot of Ferrari’s effort has gone into developing its drag reducing rear wing or F duct and it still isn’t right. Red Bull has been adding performance in other areas, while reluctant to run its F Duct until it is sure that the benefits outweigh the losses.

Ferrari has gone ahead with it, clearly believing that it is an essential component of the long term fight with McLaren in particular this year. Very soon Red Bull will be forced to do the same, judging by the threat the McLarens posed to them on Sunday.

McLaren’s strong showing in Turkey indicates that it is on a strong development curve at the moment and it has the luxury of a fully optimised F duct so it can focus on other areas, while Ferrari and Red Bull toil away at the F Duct and get distracted by it.

“It is for sure true that we have invested a lot in the new system with the wing, but it is not enough and it is not perfect yet,” admitted Domenicali. “What should happen in the next month is that in Valencia we should have a big update where there will be a lot of new parts on the car. But it is true from the fact point of view that the bits we tried to put in place were not enough to cope with the pace of the development that the biggest teams have done.”

And that is the trap Ferrari finds itself in. It is also clear that the technical team at Maranello isn’t strong enough, particularly in developing a car, compared to McLaren. There are reinforcements on the way to beef up the department, but Ferrari has to really dig deep now to get back in the game. Alonso knows that better that anyone. McLaren’s ability to develop a car was the reason he went to the team in 2007.

Meanwhile it is to be noted that Mosley rather soured Ferrari’s 800th Grand Prix celebrations by accusing the team of trying to fix an appeal court hearing.

Coming a year after F1 was embroiled in the fixing scandal over the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, this is uncomfortable ground.
“He (Montezemolo) was on the phone every day saying, ‘you have got to sort the Court of Appeal out and make sure we win’,” Mosley, referring to Ferrari’s charismatic president, is quoted by the Daily Mail.

“He didn’t put it as baldly as that but that is what he said. I said, ‘Luca, I’m sorry, but first of all they wouldn’t take any notice and secondly I am not going to do it’,” he added.

A spokesman for the famous Maranello based team responded: “We don’t want to make any comment. It is better to look ahead and not waste time talking about what is – luckily – old and gone.”

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Thanks James.

It is very clear if we look at the past few years, from Schumacher plus Brawn and then Todt departures, Ferrari is not on the right curve. Let's wait for their next big update in Valencia, but I doubt they'll be able to recover.


Also Rory Byrne perhaps? In the mid 90's till 2004 I guess all the championship winning cars were either Newey or Rory Byrne designed.


Certainly Brawn and Schumacher helped to organize, and motivate the team to get the best out of the people they had; but the loss of Rory Byrne seems to have big a major factor affecting their down turn.


IIRC, 1992 to 2004.


I agree, it doesn't look good for Montreal certainly - but Alonso's still in a prime championship position and considering the lack of updates so far one would expect them to have a decent (and probably well checked) package of updates for Valencia.


When Max Moseley left F1, did they buy him a present after a whip round?


The Fleet St journos bought him a whip as a parting gift


There must be some genuine tension between Alonso and the team managment now. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. I wonder if Alonso is still 'even faster than schumacher'?

That said with the current scoring system, until someone leads by 100 points with 3 races to go it's open.


4 races?


I am beginning to wonder how solid the position of Domenical is. If you look at it, the only championship Ferrari has won under his management is 2008. And it seems like that was more down to the steady regulations and the foundations created by Jean Todt than the excellent managementskills of Domenicali.

Last year Ferrari just misinterpreted the regulations and focussed on KERS and just missed the DDD. So logically they shifted their resources to their 2010 contender. And although it started really solid being equally as fast as the Red Bull, last weekend they were the 5th fastest force.

Although you mention that there doesn't seem to be a downward spiral looking at Monaco, to me Monaco seems more like a blip this year. Even with last years truck they almost managed to get poleposition (although the Brawn was much faster fuelcorrected) and got a podium.

I am beginning to wonder how the coming years will be for Ferrari. I mean, they have to reorganise because of the costcutting agreements between the teams. Teams like Mercedes and Renault already completed those reorganisations. I am not sure regarding Ferrari but if they still have to begin with cutting down their resources, it doesn't look good for Ferrari.


I agree it will be very very interesting seeing what happens to the big teams, especially Ferrari, when they have to cut costs down to the new levels. I don't know what sort of budget McLaren are on compared to Ferrari, but I know both will have to really re-shape both operations. McLaren's bill for the wind tunnel and engineer hours must be pretty stratospheric to be able to develop that much more rapidly than anyone else on the grid.

Then again, I wonder if they can keep it up - they have the best front wing on the grid which is giving them their current form. But Red Bull have their raw pace from their blown diffuser and floor arrangements, which are more complicated to develop on an existing car than a front wing. The wing is vital to shaping the air around the car, but it is easier to perfect a wing around the existing floor/car, than shape the car around the wing. Also the RB suspension is rather special.

What I am trying to get at is that I'm not sure how much more performance McLaren can wring from their car before they reach a glass ceiling due to fundamental design flaws. And when the other teams do optimise their drag reducing rear wings, their major advantage will have gone...I think the season can get yet more exciting.

P.S. I did hear that Ferrari might be experimenting with an exhaust-blown diffuser in Valencia; I have heard nothing along these lines from McLaren.


The budget cuts could affect Red Bull also - they are giving Newey a reported £7 million/year. That takes a big chunk out of RBR's budget after the cost limitation agreements come into play. Newey has previously said there are other projects he'd be happy to do if F1 doesn't work out, so RBR may not be able to negotiate him down too much.

Engineer salaries are included in the cost-cutting agreements, whereas driver salaries are not.


I thought the salaries of the top technical engineer was exempt as well as the drivers?


I think Domenicalli will be lucky to be team boss next year. Adrian Newey however, would seem to be worth every pound.


I agree. There are some interesting parallels with the the ideas in the book "The Innovator's Dilemma" which outlines why great companies fail and get beaten by newer entrants using new techniques, simpler technologies and different ways of working.

The newer companies operate on a different cost base, with smaller margins. Initially they are not competitive with the main players (but they are competitive in their own arena).

As time progresses (and in the book's case, the markets mature) the newer entrants start to erode the established companies product base and eventually pass it.

An interesting part of the ideas in this book is that it turns out to be almost impossible to use the management techniques from "big budget, big staff" companies to execute the slimmer, faster, leaner techniques of the smaller companies.

The book isn't about racing at all, but I wonder how these ideas which are valid for business in general translate to the racing world and the coming changes?

BTW. What happened to all of Alonso's so called development abilities that he took with him to McLaren? Did he forget to pack them in a bag an take them to Ferrari? Surely if he as good as he is, he'll be steering them in the right direction just like Michael did before him? Forgive my sarcasm, I don't think Fernando is Michael, not by a long chalk.


They do seem to be struggling somewhat compared to the likes of McLaren and of course Red Bull.

With the early design start date of the 2010 car and the promising start to the season (albeit and inherited win) it seems Ferrari still haven't adjusted to the testing ban and spending their way to the front of the grid.

RBR have hit the ground running, McLaren demonstrated last year their ability to develop a car throughout the year so the MP4-25 will only get faster. Renault are having a better year than anyone predicted and with Ross Brawn and Schumacher at Mercedes, Ferrari should indeed be worried because if won't take much and they could find themselves scrapping with Force India.

Great season, isn't it!


whatever happened to domenicali saying that alonso can develop a car and kimi cannot??


Funny the myth Alonso being a better choice than Kimi is exposed so early in the season. Wonder what Banco Santander will make of this...

Surely they will not like being sold a puppy!

Again, the probs with Ferrari last year were not the drivers they had and now we all see that.


Agree with that... KR gave great answer than and that is: He still hasn't met a racing driver who is an engineer

N. Machiavelli

Kimi is not old enough to remember the greatest of

all engineer / drivers :

Mark Donohue.

Those who remember the Can-Am know what I am talking

about. Just ask Porsche or Roger Penske about Donohue,

if you are in need of more info.


Totally agree. Alonso once claimed he brought 6/10ths of a second through his own development skills to a car..dont remember which season that was. But either way where are his great development skills now?

From being the front runner in Bahrain to being a mid field car what has Alonso communicated?

Kimi was an exceptional racer and true professional, never once complained about Ferrari...atleast not in public

Zobra Wambleska

I think over the years Alonso has taken more credit for car development and his own skill set than are his to claim. If he really brought 6/10s to McLaren why wasn't he consistently faster than his team mate? Why didn't he develop Renault into a better car in his last two years there, why hasn't he made Ferrari a better car this year? Alonso's posturing is mostly about head games, like this years Ferrari being the best car he's ever driven. That was said simply to impress the boss. He's usually good with the head games, but sometimes he over plays that hand as well (2007). I think his huge mistakes this year are coming from the fact that he's in a position where he no longer has any real excuses and he's having to push way beyond his capacity to try to get results. Good, yes, but he's hyped himself into a place that he can't maintain.


Kimi didn't need to complain in public, he said it all by wandering around with a terrible frown on his face and by barely speaking to any reporters...I mean, his biggest weakness (bear in mind I love his driving) has always been PR, he has never really had a taste for it. His emotions were always fairly visible and if he wasn't happy it was clear even if he didn't spout off in front of the camera - yes far better than doing so, but not quite as professional as could be.


Agreed. Kimi wasn't cuddly/passionate enough for Ferrari, but what ever faults he may of had, he was not a complainer. I don't think Ferrari understood that Kimi's passion was being really quick and consistent whenever possible, take Spa and Monaco for example in '09. Although it is too early to predict anything, if Ferrari management perceive a lack of devotion from Alonso, it could be a long year.

Prof Bolshaviks

He needs to nip across the water and chat with Jack Brabham.


Well, he has to be driving it, and there's no testing any more. Friday's not enough.

I wonder if Ferrari got lazy in the days when you could pound around every day of the week, and have not learned since to develop efficiently and quickly ? They certainly seem to lack the know-how. Are they trying to be too Italian ?


ferrari went backwards with alonso and mercedes went forward. In the schumacher days ferraris strength was to develop the car better than anyone else. 1997, 1998,1999,2000,2003,2006. In those years they started the season poorly but finished strongly. This season the opposite seems to happend


I'm not sure how true those comparisions are.

Firstly, they used to pound round Fiorano all winter.

Secondly, for a few of those years they used the old car for the initial fly-away races, and only brought the new car to Europe. (So they banked points in the early races with reliability, but didn't necessarily beat the oppositions new cars.)

Neither of those points is related to Schumacher.



Eight tenths back. If it wasn't for Alonso's now legendary ability to bring two tenths to a car's development, Ferrari would be an entire second back! 😉


Whatever the claims made actually were, as much as I am a Ferrari fan (or was a fan, more accurately), it is fun to watch Ferrari twist in the wind after all the "Alonso is our savior" fanfare that was used to justify Raikkonen's premature removal. Let's see if Alonso can also put the car on the podium long after development is halted on the 2010 car if this season becomes a blowout for the team.


I thought it was more like eight tenths......

I honestly think that without a good team of engineers and designers he'll go nowhere, as far as I am concerned.

He might bring speed but he al(ON)

so brings division, dissension and misery..

It they kept Kimi for another year do you all think Ferrari wouldn't at least be doing as well as they are right now (which is NOT leading the championship, not having a Pole Position on their resume this year, etc...) without all the public announcements, criticisms and comparisons with McLaren?)

Too much drama for not a whole lot....


Indeed! they are lucky to have him...funny how he has toned that chat down and is back to his usual professional approach of blaming the team for not trying hard enough!


Yep. I wasn't at all surprised by his behaviour at McLaren after his behaviour in the final year of his first stint at Renault. If he keeps trashing Ferrari in public, it looks like his good behaviour last year was an abberation rather than a permanent change - or maybe a contractual obligation! 🙂


Legendary, as opposed to factually.... And I believe he claimed 4/10ths at McL


chetz- Alonso can only give feedback to help develop the car, he's not designing, fabricating and fitting the new bits!


Maybe he should design and fabricate the bits. Probably do a better job at the moment.


i thought alonso took 7tenths to mclaren


Massa set the fastest ferarri lap and finished ahead of alonso. Alonso's legendary reputation is failing him so far this season I would say.


It was sixth tenths, so they would be 1.4 seconds back!

Young Slinger

I am not, never have been or ever will be, a Ferrari fan BUT I do respect their achievements both on and off the track - however I can not shed tears for them in their current situation, and as for Alonso, what can you expect from such a vocal, self centred person. Yet again, such talent but no consideration. (Shades of Ruebens, talk first then find out the facts!) Before the critics jump on me - the only team I have ever supported regardless of driver is the original Lotus!


My personal feeling is that goods times for Ferrari are gone. I think that the key point for their development are technical resources (in terms of people) - they are gone... most of the successful team from Schu era is working somewhere else and it is not that easy to rebuild the technical staff.

It was completely surprising that Renault during whole Turkish GP had much stronger pace than Ferrari and I fully agree with bitter/sweet comment of Tony Fernandes when he was comparing Lotus and Ferrari times in qualifications...

I don't think Ferrari will turn the card quickly and we will soon hear that "The team management has decided to focus on 2011 car"...

The only good thing is that, as Jeremy Clarkson says, when Ferrari F1 car is rubbish, the road car which they present at the same time is very good 🙂


I think they are showing that they were right to fight Max's budget cap. That, indeed, they cannot develop a car properly without that billion-dollar "budget!"

michael grievson

Ferrari have suffered the last few years with development.


A number of teams have been forced to divert resource in order to develop their own F Duct. The full benefit of which we have yet to see. It is possible that we may have seen a tighter race at the front if the FAI had banned the F duct with immediate effect.

I’m sure all the teams lay out a clear plan for bringing upgrades throughout the season. When Alonso complains that Ferrari is on the back foot he’s stating the obvious that the technical team had to incorporate a similar F duct system into the current car. McLaren already has the system up and running successfully and have always been strong at brining a constant stream of technical upgrades.

Reading between the lines, you could also suggest that McLaren listens more to the driver’s feedback and respond more quickly with improvements. Perhaps Alonso was expecting certain aspects of the car to be addressed based on his input but they never materialized in Turkey.

Now I see why Ferrari is so keen to maximize their Fiorano Test Track. Have the testing ban and budget cuts have hurt the big teams the most.


"A number of teams have been forced to divert resource in order to develop their own F Duct."

See, what I don't get is this... the f-duct (or whatever it's called) is banned next year (isn't it?), so why spend time, money, resources etc... on something that's only going to be deployed succesfully, after a lot of testing, for only half a season at the most.

We all know that you can't stand still in F1, but wouldn't it be more prudent to focus on developments that go forward to 2011 and beyond. Red Bull don't have an f-duct and their car's not too shabby is it? [That's a rhetorical question]. What is it they're doing (non f-duct related) that makes them sooo fast?

It's why I found Turkey sooooo enthralling... due to the track layout we had an equal battle between cars that are amazing in the fast corners and cars that have stunning top speed. Red Bull would pull away thru turn eight; McLaren would pull the gap back on the straight-kink-straight down to turn twelve.


I think the problem may be that everyone can see (more or less) how to make an F-duct work, but they're all still scratching their heads about what it is that Red Bull are doing.


It is up to the teams as to what they decide to develop. In the original post, it was asked why the FIA did not ban the F-Duct straight away. I believe (could be wrong) that it has been banned for cost cutting reasons.

Teams this season are developing make shift F-Ducts. We saw in Spain the Ferrari system uses a hole in the cockpit which is normally used to feed wires. The problem they have is that McLaren's system utilises a hole in the chassis. As these are homologated for the season, the teams cannot develop in this area. They can however, spend vast amounts to build their chassis for next season around the F-Duct.

The fact the F-Duct is not breaking any rules, the FIA would have found it hard to ban immediately.

But the teams do not have to develop the F-Duct for this season. There is no need for them to, it's their choice. However, as the McLaren cars are usually 6kph or more faster on the straights of most circuits, it is quite an advantage. If Renault got that, they could beat a Mercedes which hasn't. That is the thinking. If the idea is there, why not use it to an advantage? Also, teams at the front may be worried that McLaren can develop the car further, already have a proven and working F-Duct, and could become considerably faster as the development race continues.


I totally agree with you Stevie, there is little point in pushing development on something that will be banned next year, when other aero areas can be concentrated on that may give benefit to next season.

The problem is however, that next year the Double Diffuser is also banned. The cars are built this year to work with them, so in effect, any aero development this year will be hard to carry over as well. It's all about what can be gained this season to get the edge over the car in front. I know you pointed out the copying of Red Bull's exhaust system, but I believe (could be wrong!) that this is designed to work with the double diffuser, so copying it will be useless for next season.

Then again, there may be a way around the ban that we don't know about...!

The problem is that the F-Duct is a very easy way (in theory) to add speed to a car, and all these teams care about is competing.

We've also seen this problem before. McLaren and Ferrari developed their 2008 cars right up to the end. There was no benefit for 2009 as the aero rules changed. We saw what happened. So is following the F-Duct path the right one?

It's a tough call, there's a gain for this season, but nothing for next season. Why waste their time? only they know that one.


Sure... they decide themselves what areas to work on and as Iceman alludes to (below) the f-duct is a pretty obvious\visible development. But McLaren have had theirs in the pipeline for some time, teams bringing it to their race car on a friday have had lots of issues with it... Force India, Merc, Sauber, Red Bull have all tried it and then not used it (although I think Liuzzi did in Turkey) or used it a little and then had a re-think (Ferrari).

In these less-testing\resource-restricted times I can understand working on a development that goes forward to following seasons (like copying RBR's exhaust system); I can't get my head around developing an f-duct, then struggling to get it to work, which then gets removed from the car for next season.

I can see why RBR are looking into it, they need the speed on the straights... their car is super fast anyway, so they can work on the f-duct. For other teams, I'd be looking at something more fundamental, that isn't banned next season.


There aren't too many long straights at Fiorano!


but there is one at mugello.


Pit straight at mugello could of been handy at this point though, i saw a point earlier which sums it up for me, whilst the other teams have embraced and overcome the restrictions imposed by the cost cutting measures where as ferarri have not shown any attempt to embrace them, I even remember in an interview that they suggested a 3rd car in the stars and stripes livery??? In my eyes they need to stop playing the political war (which hasn't been helped by Alonso, and make the statements on track.

Another quick point, I can only see ferarri using the F Duct legalisation as an excuse, however given the fact that RBR are in the same boat but able to still bring "pace giving" updates shows up the incompetency of the technical team (in terms of f1 engineering standards)


Red Bull started seriously messing with the F-Duct in Turkey and Mclaren were on par with them at that race.

The pattern I see so far is that a team tries to get the F-duct working, it only kinda works, and they slip backwards at that race relative to where they were before.

It will be interesting to see how long Red bull mess with it on the Friday of the Canadian GP, and whether they can get it to work. If they don't get it to work then how much will that effect the rest of their weekend?


I think the single thing that they are missing from the majority of their testing at Fiorano is tyre data - Ferrari used to be able to run endlessly on the Bridgestones simulating pretty much any situation they could dream of and determining exactly how the tyres would respond..

It is this in depth knowledge that is now lacking, and with no testing Ferrari have no way of speeding up their data acquisition efforts compared to the other teams...


That doesn't seem to be helping Torro Rosso though!


Further to this - RedBull have the luxury of 2 teams worth of data with different weight distributions, suspension setups, pressures etc etc.. so in a way it is to be expected that they are extracting the most from the tyres and are at the sharp end of the grid...



2 questions;

1. Are rules for next year already out??We heard Mclaren say that the design for next year's car is already in an advanced stage and Pat Fry's departure won't hurt.

2. What about these testing rules?? Do any of the big teams have any testing days at their disposal??I mean "Private Test Days"


Yes the rules for 2011 are out. F Ducts and double diffusers banned so a big change technically. As for testing rules, FOTA are working through that at the moment.


A very good article James. I believe that Ferrari need to enact some major changes to their personnel if they wish to be at the very top again. Considering the team started work on this year's car months before anyone else one lucky win so far is a poor return. Alonso essentially inherited second in Spain. Would he have beaten the RBRs in Monaco? I don't think so. Alonso's array of mistakes do not help either when every point obviously counts. It's amazing that he is still so close in the world championship. May be he has been more lucky than unlucky so far this year.

Considering the very positive noises Alonso was making at the start of the season to be saying what he is saying now only highlights the problems.

Regarding the number of mistakes Alonso is making this season (which many attribute to being under pressure because of the speed differential to RBR) surely Alonso will not want Kubica or Webber as teammate next year? Potentially a lot more pressure.


I just don't like how Domenicali and the drivers are all used to saying " We have to react calmly and in a strong way ". Being a Ferrari fan for 14 years, it disappoints me when all I hear is fluff with no results. The thing is, as James you will be aware, all of his interviews and press releases contain the same message of approaching everything calmly and in a cool manner. It is clear McLaren are developing their car like anything and Ferrari need to work much harder. For once, they could start with their front wing which looks archaic compared to RBR's or McLaren's!


I think someone has made a similar comment, buy it's quite interesting that when michael was there they were able to do loads of testing at fiorano to develop the car. Since the testing ban they have been less able seemingly to develop the car throughtout the season ( in comparison).

I also dont think they ever really replaced rory byrne with someone of similar calibre.

out of interest has Adrian newey ever come close to going to Ferrari?


Not that I am aware of. He dropped in there once en route to driving in the Mille Miglia. Newey had a fallow period, but he's right on it now.


I bet they'd pay him whatever he asked to go to Ferrari at the moment.

What is Adrians relationship like with McLaren (i.e did he leave on good terms, and any chance he might reappear there)

As I read they had the biggest F1 budget by some margin, do you think they fall into the trap of spending too much on too many different avenues of development?


The way Ferrari and most teams used to develop their cars was entirely logical- change something, test, change some more, test etc. Test life of parts, reduce weight , test again etc. But now it needs a new development method in order to achieve any advance since the testing is not allowed. Virgin again logically tried to overcome the lack of testing by using simulations and CFD. They have since found that they need to add to their simulation because the tracks and/or cars have not behaved as they first predicted. However they should have been collecting data from each track all season so next year's simulations will have a better basis.

Ferrari need to change their development philosophy, (and maybe part of their development team) it has not caught up with the current test ban treaty. 🙂


Indeed, we both agree there. They need to get a new approach and a refreshed tech team.

They have from memory twice the budget of most other teams. If I was in charge I would be asking fit slightly more for my money.


I think that Ferrari and everyone are over-reacting to the lack of pace in Turkey, whilst they were off the pace this seemed quite normal last year with many types of cars, with some stronger on certain tracks whilst others weaker. It was only a fortnight ago that Alonso was unstoppable in the F10, and if it wasn't for his mistake he would have won that race and people would not be as critical of them. That said, they really do need to step up the development work as this is going to be an extremely hard fought championship, and the people who will win won't be the fastest, but the ones who are fast and reliable at the same time.


Would have, could have, should have. Alonso should shut up and concerntrate and bringing those 6 tenths of a second to the F10.


You can say that a car is stronger/weaker at certain type of tracks when your drivers qualy in the top 5, Massa was 8th and Alonso was 12th. That type of performance doesnt come down to "certain tracks", that means that the car is just slow, at any track.

Theres is no would have, could have, should have in F1.


It's stating the obvious, but Ferrari have clearly lost their way since the departure of Schumacher, Brawn and Todt. Montezemolo's calls for Mosley to influence the Singapore appeal hearing only reinforces the adage relating to what 'F.I.A.' really stood for at the time.


Domenicali's seat must be quite wobbly at the moment. The team has been going down ever since he took over from Todt. They managed to put the blame for the last couple of years on Kimi's shoulders (which was easy, given that he was loyal to the team and never publicly criticized them), but now that things are not going right with Alonso either, even Luca must see that it's not the drivers who are at fault. On the other hand, I have a feeling it's Luca himself who is the ultimate problem.

The comments from Alonso are quite surprising, they can hardly be considered as motivating the team. Given that the team has not publicly criticized Alonso for his mistakes during the season, maybe he should keep his comments internal as well.


As this year's rules are essentially an evolution of last year's, together with the minimal winter testing, I thought that they made a big mistake in not developing the car on track last year, learning the subtleties of how they worked. Ferrari have not got the data on which to work with, while RBR had a winning car which they have simply further adapted and optimised, and McLaren were able to modify their car enough that they were able to get a useful understanding out of it. Even Renault have moved forward. Button seemed to be well aware that Brawn 2010 was not worth fighting to be in and fell on his feet (and for the second year running, he's made the right move, casting off the shackles of his reputation).

Of course, I thought I had got it wrong after the first race, but there is no sense of direction at Ferrari, no incremental pressure - and it is unsurprising to me that "6 tenths" Alonso has not been the catalyst for change - he didn't contribute at McLaren, he couldn't turn Renault around: he believes his own propaganda too much to be a true leader. The Schumacher years at Ferrari were not Schumacher, but a complete management takeover, a management that have gone.

The Brawn development for 2009 was known to be misleading, there were so many special circumstances as to why that came off. Thank goodness that McLaren have demonstrated that you can develop in back to back years, and BMW demonstrated that you don't necessarily win out by giving up and moving on, or else we would have been facing half seasons as the teams gave up and banked on next year.

there is a bright side to Alonso struggling: it means that the team must acknowledge it is not a failing Massa but a failing car. Perhaps Massa failed to adapt to it as well as Alonso who has had two years of driving appalling Renaults to hone the skills of getting something out of nothing, but Alonso failing puts the blame firmly on the team. Perhaps the team should have spent their Kimi retirement fund more wisely.


I could not agree more Spenny, your comment is excellent. Alonso is no Schumacher we can see that, but it may be that he can't do any more for the Scuderia than Kimi. I think Kimi and Massa was a better combo than Alonso and Massa as well. Much less pressure and friction and posturing. If Alonso wants to seal his reputation as an all time great, now is his opportunity, He needs to put up, or shut up.


"there is a bright side to Alonso struggling: it means that the team must acknowledge it is not a failing Massa but a failing car."

Indeed Massa has been quicker in the same car!


YES! Why it this never mentioned anywhere? People criticize Massa all the time but then never give credit where credit is due.


Yes.. they should have kept Kimi..

Even when the car was a dog and Santander were paying him to leave to make way for their golden boy he just kept driving brilliantly rather than slagging them off, and even managed to conjure a win for them...


Ross Brawn did a deal with Haug in June 2009 to go fully Mercedes in 2010 with an all German team - therefore Button and Barri were both dropped as Rosberg and M.Sch ( Or Nick H ) was coming in - Yes it was that obvious - dont you remember the Button complaining that he was only offered a contract for about 3 quid a year and he was genuinely insulted. JB was over the moon that McL offered him a seat otherwise it would have been Renault or lower.


James, we have read in the Italian papers that it was Alonso's fault, as he was making many mistakes, probably because of the high pressure that means being Ferrari's #1 driver. Now it seems that the problems can be also in the car. Who in your opinion is to blame for the poor performance of the Ferraris?


8/10ths is a big step backwards and there are a lot of heavy duty meetings going on inside Ferrari at the moment, so it's definitely the technical team where the problem lies. Alonso has made mistakes and the competition is more fierce than last year


Hi James,

What are the chances of Ferarri snaching Pat Symonds as a "Consultant" to help them?

He has been instrumental in Benetton/Renault team during the Schumacher and Alonso triumphs and has always seemed to be a very well organised and experienced engineer, probably exactly what they need right now. PLUS - we already know that he can handle alonso's childish petulence, so that would be another benefit...

Actually I hope that they don't hire him as I am loving watching alonso wallow in his own filth at the momment!

Goooo Webber!!!


That would be quite a controversial move. Pat is more on the operational engineering side anyway, rather than design and development.


Alonso always makes more mistakes when he's having to over-drive the car. When the car is uncompetitive he makes more errors because he is trying too hard. That's one of his few weaknesses. Schumi rarely made mistakes outside practice. My belief is that he would use practice to verify the points on the circuit where you can push and and the points on the circuit that would punish you.


So far, Fernando Alonso hasn't really done anything to show that Ferrari were right to ditch Raikkonen for this season. So much for being able to bring 6/10ths and galvanise the team. So far they've lost 6/10ths and the wheels are starting to fall off their campaign. I think we may well end up with a mclaren fight for the drivers championship this year!! 🙂


because of the legacy, it is very hard for people to swallow the fact that Ferrari is not longer the team that is leading on all fronts - the red mist has evaporated and the shocking reality is revealed instead.

It doesn't matter what Valencia is going to bring. You need to dig deeper to see the problem - the direction is lost, there is no certainty - Ferrari found themselves is the territory that is not very familiar - they simply do not know what to do. Instead of setting the trend, they are trying to understand what other teams are fast and trying to copy.

What is going to happen next? Who can save the team? Who is going to be the next Schumi+Brawn+Todt dream team? What is going to be the next move?

This year it was all or nothing...and it is nothing...


Just shows how lucky Schumacher was. Could be a blip though, let's see.


Not sure about that. Schumacher joined Ferrari during one of their worst periods. But by the time he joined Ross and a number of other key members were in place to start turning the team around.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

You lucky Ferrari was to have Schumacher.


Lockster, he won all his championships with Ross Brawn, including those for Benetton. Ross even made Jenson Button a WDC who previously only won one single race, to use your way of argument, Ross Brawn is the real key in their success. The fact is that period of dominance is unlikely to be repeated even though Ferrari has a driver of the same calibre of Schumacher. It's Monty who's running the team now, there's nothing Alonso can do to keep the politics out, he's only a driver. Ferrari didn't immediately start winning as soon as Schumacher got in their car, and they didn't become midfield immediately after Schumacher quit. Compared to the other members of the dream team, schumacher's contribution has been overstated.


no, I really mean Schumacher was the one who's lucky. The last few years really showed it's the management rather than the driver who's the key factor of Ferrari's success. They won both championship in 2007, WCC in 2008, only just missed WDC. If it's mainly Schumacher who's making the difference, you would have seen a immediate drop in competitiveness but that's not the case.


Wow, Schumacher must have been HUUUGELY lucky as he managed to luck into a competitive Benneton drive right when they were about to win two drivers championships too!! 🙂

The fact is that you only need to look at where Ferarri were prior to MS joining (and the way that Benetton dropped as soon as he left) to see that he (together with Jean Todt and Ross Brawn whom Schumacher played a key part in recruiting) dragged that team up to a level that they would never have achieved otherwise. Ferarri couldn't even win a SINGLE championship in the 21 years prior and then Schumacher wins for 5 YEARS IN A ROW!! You tell me who was "Lucky"??


Great post again James Allen. After all there are a lot of other reasons why this blog is so popular. The best of all is that as readers we are not restricted to put our own honest opinions here.

I’m really finding Ferrari’s performance bizarre. I am sure everybody was expecting them to have the best car on the grid this year being that they stopped developing their 2009 car earlier than everybody else. So, there’s no excuse for them to have a slow car this season. Plus having Alonso in the team gives more ingredients for a successful season. Ferrari has dominated Turkish grand prix more than any other team. It’s understandable that the cars aren’t same anymore, but still it’s a massive change in pace from them since Monaco. We have seen teams performing differently in different tracks. But 7th & 8th place for Ferrari in Turkish grand prix is just unthinkable. Of course not having the same personnel as Schumacher era makes a big difference. But their performance in Istanbul raises the question about their capability of winning multiple championships (or even one) with this new management. The great thing about this Ferrari team is that they are handling their drivers really well & not blaming them for the lack of pace.

Monaco result was the highlight for Ferrari this season so far based on recovering from the horrifying crash by Alonso. Let’s hope that they come back strong. After all, having the famous red team fighting hard for the championship always makes the season more interesting.


It would be interesting to see how long Ferrari can tolerate Alonso's complains. We are talking about a team spoiled by Schumacher. Luca once stated that Schumacher did not say a single cross word after his car failed on the parade lap where he qualified on pole. I think this is the sort of quality Ferrari was expecting from Alonso but the Spanish is not similar to Schumacher as many seems to believe.

Media was bigging him up. Alonso - the most complete driver, the best car developer etc..

Renault is doing better without him and he made more mistake than any contender this season. Don't get me wrong he is a very fast driver. But Kimi at least shut his mouth well and didn't say anything negative.


Alonso said " this is the best car I have ever driven" not so long ago ..... 🙂


Though I am an Alonso fan, I never agreed with him that F10 is the best car he had. The best car he had was R26 and MP4-22. I'll say R26 was best by a slight margin over MP4-22.


i loved the early 90's when Ferrari were a midfield team at best, and i look forward to the good times again.


Me too!!!!!


I concur, now the ferrari/schumacher era has ended, F1 has become enjoyable again.


Its funny how no one has mentioned (much) the fact that Alonso was out paced by Massa the entire weekend.

And Massa did not stack it in Monacco, spin, false start etc. yet Massa was the one getting flack?

Its been a along time since Alonso had a consistent decent car, and perhaps he may well be wondering if he should have fixed things at Mclaren- who knows the number of championships he could have won?


Perhaps this is an indication that the Ferrari CFD and windtunnel data does not match the real world? (ala Honda's switch to a full scale winddtunnel in 2006 which resulted in the '07-8 cars)

McLaren on the other hand seem to have that down pat. Yes they produced a slow '09 car initially but it wasn't using the double-decked-diffuser, once it was they outstripped the others in the development race. They also seem to be doing that again this year...


ferraris' post 'dream team' personell

has not yet produced a championship winning


Kimis' win in 07 was greatly influenced by

Brawns' input on the car back in 06 aswell as

the manufactured drivers' blunder at the start

of the brazillian gp in 06

Ferrari have been on a steady decline since

the dream team left


....brazillian gp in 07


It seems that the Ferrari really took a step back with the introduction of their F-Duct. While they are certainly bringing some updates to each race, it's appalling that they are talking about major improvements - a month away - in Valencia. Maybe the sentiment in Italy is correct, the apparent Italianization of the team is a failure and that Domenicali and Colajanni should be booted...


Who have Ferrari employed to beef up their technical team?

Think Alonso is right to be honest about the team's failings: he needs to spur them into action.

As so many people have already said, Ferrari are missing the likes of Ross Brawn. They should have made him their team boss. Such a silly mistake.

Feel sorry for the fans that we aren't seeing Alonso and Massa in the mix at the front of the grid.


Poor performance on low fuel is typical of an F1 car when something is fundamentally wrong in the chasis /aero. When you fill them up with fuel the much larger load on the car tends to mask the problem.

Alonso is playing a dangerous game with his criticisms re the ability of the team to put speed on the car.

The Alonso/Ferrari marriage has the potential to end in tears. The honeymoon isn't over yet but they both need to lift their game pretty quickly.


I think Ferrari should have continued to develope the F60 just like McLaren did last year. After all a lot of the work done were carried over into this years car.

I am really not sure if resources spent on F-duct is worthwhile as this will be banned next season.

Watch out for Force India !!


They should ban all the Shark Fins period for next year! It would make all the cars look a lot better!


I must admit I was genuinely suprised how slow the Ferraris were in Turkey. It must have been a bit of a blow to the confidence for both drivers, especially Massa as he's said before that he 'owns' istanbul park. Perhaps the preformance in Turkey was more of a downward blip that they can bounce back from soon but I have my doubts. As some other have pointed out, key personnel have left the team in recent years and brains means gains in F1. I have never been a Ferrari fan but respect the team and its achievemnets. I think they might have some tough times ahead.

mugerwa francis

I think ferrari has developed the toyota syndrome of overpaid engineers who can't make a fast car they are a shame to ferraris legacy and montezelo should fire most of them.


If Ferrari are in a Crisis, then Williams are in Armageddon...

That said, I was confused by the Ferrari drivers comments, describing the race as "Boring". Boring? What race were they in? Alonso's fight with Petrov was pretty good, so he doesn't really have an excuse.


Agreed that Williams has some problems. They seem a long way off the front, after seeming to be along with Force India a possible for top ten at the start of the year


Ed, great Williams comment. Old Frank shouldn't have been so keen to give BMW the boot. Imagine a BMW funded Williams team with Montoya still on the grid in 2010. Few things would be more exciting.


A driver can only do as much as tell the engineers which area of the car he would like more performance; the engineers are the one's who, upon listening to the driver, make those changes. It is then the driver, mechanics and engineers' collective responsibility to deduce the best setup for specific conditions.

From Ferrari's standpoint, it must be very troubling that the F10 lacks downforce despite being, ostensibly, being under development from the middle of last year. The only inference I can make with confidence is that people at Maranello have not done their jobs correctly or the other teams have done a much better job than the Ferrari engineers until now.


It will be interesting to see what happens come the European GP... it suggests that it bring in small steps/new parts at each race might not work for the F10 as the whole aero package needs an overhaul, hence the one big package.

But with the limitations on testing/wind tunnel use, how are the cars developed away from the track - is this purely CFD work? if so, how does Ferrari stack up against RB and McL etc...


James, I think I've missed something. What was this appeal about ? And what happened in the end ?


Brawn double diffuser


Slightly off topic but on appeals, I have read that Force India have started legal proceedings against Lotus over the use of Wind tunnel model design and chassis design; whats your take on this James? thank you.


Also read somewhere that Mark Smith is joining Lotus from Force India..

James can you throw some light on the state of affairs at Force India?

Not too long ago they were touted as McLaren's team B with Mercedes engines and technical cooperation, but now all we read is stories of unpaid bills and Confiscation of motor homes, while the team has done pretty well in the past couple of seasons.


Although what you say is strictly speaking correct, it refers only to qualifying. What we saw in the race was two Mercedes cars holding up the two Renaults and the two Ferraris. It wasn't possible to say whether the Ferrari was faster than the Renault, but we can certainly say that they were both faster than Mercedes.

I am by no means a Ferrari fan, but I think we are looking at the third-best car which is being held back because it has problems in qualifying, on low fuel, on soft tyres, whatever it might be. That's not to say that qualifying isn't important - obviously it is extremely important, way more than it ought to be in fact, but I think Mercedes has worse problems than Ferrari.

I wonder how much money these people would be willing to offer Adrian Newey to go and work for them?


I don't understand why they didn't just copy and paste the Red Bull design language over the winter. They debuted an evolved and improved version of the F60, but the RB5 of last season would probably still beat the F10. It seems that since the new aero rules of 09 that Ferrari is on the backfoot, whereas in the 08 and season and prior they were at the razor sharp end of development, and that's a shame.


Yes the Mercs holding everyone up seems to have happened twice at Turkey IMO. Once in the race, and once in qually when Schumi got everything he could out of the car and then immediately went out and spun it in turn 8 to end the session as the standings were then. And I bet he got a new set of tires for it too! Ah, the Schumacher of old is back.

It did get the result they needed though ..

Prof Bolshaviks

He got the ones he set his fastest lap on as per the rules. He had set a pb first sector on the lap he spun on and only held up button.

I don't think it was in his interest to do it on purpose.


So far, letting Kimi go hasn`t solved the problem, it seems. I think they have management problems it was visible last year by all wrong strategic calls. The car hasn`t been an excellent one since a long time now either.


I agree. Personally I think the proper order of the universe would have been for Alonso to use his garage talent at Ferrari to develop the car for Kimi, that would have been a real show!



So far this year Ferrari is on a much better standing than last season, after the same amount of races.

On the first three races and monaco, they could have contended for victory and won one actually.

Last year at this time, they were on much worst shape.

I would not count them dead as yet. They can still make it.

I mean become world champions.

richard hughes

How long is it going to be until FA starts making waves like he did in the silver cars when things are not going his way?

watch this space.


Waves? Straight lines. Alonso is neither a submissive nor a sneaky person. And, I respect him for this.


I think that this has started already - Ferrari don't like drivers being too critical of their cars (eg. Alain Prost). Strange, really - they didn't like Kimi 'coz he didn't provide enough feed-back, he just got on with the job and tried to wring whatever performance he could out of what he was given. Now they're getting feed-back, but it's not what they want to hear!

Alonso's prediction of ending his career with Ferrari may prove prophetic - where will he go once he pisses them off? And maybe sooner than he intended, too.


Maybe back to Renault, again to race with his buddy Bobby K.


red bull? may be it's the only way for him to be world champion again. To do a button's. Because the magic, if there was ever one, it's gone.


Kimi provided very good technical feedback to engineers. It was his media face that was quiet and uninterested.

You are perhaps correct that Alonso’s feedback is more negative – focused on me, me, me. Whereas Kimi gave constructive, technical feedback then drove the wheels off the car without looking for excuses.

To me it looks like Ferrari is not set up operationally to react to drivers input. McLaren on the other hand do a good job of listening first then bring a number of different solutions to the next race. And that touches on driver confidence which is eventually what soured the Alonso – Dennis relationship. If a driver doesn’t feel his input is appreciated his mind is forever on other things.

That’s exactly the position Christian Horner is in now with Webber. Any whiff that the RB team favours Vettel and the silly season gossip will start in earnest.

Mark would make a good team mate for Massa…


I really like the idea of a Webber and Massa as team mates. They would be so underrated as they went about tearing up the competition. 🙂


@Spark, Ferrari did not win the WDC in 2008, LH did. Their last WDC was in 2007 with Kimi. I am waiting for them to find a way to blame Kimi for their bad race in Turkey as Andrea Stella did after the Monaco race 2 weeks ago. Force of habit I guess. 🙂


Marybeth, of course you are right, but so was I 😉 I was referring to championships in general, in this case the WCC. That was what I meant with Ferrari has won one championship in the Domenicali years.

Prof Bolshaviks

2007, when Ferrari designed the top 4 cars. 😉


McLaren are the team to watch as they did something last year never done before with the development of their dog of a car all at a time with no testing.

What they learnt last year they are clearly putting into practice now and the others can't keep up.

The F duct was a terrific bit of out of the box thinking and why it's going to be banned from next year is just ridiculous, sour grapes from the other teams.

McLaren's biggest problem will keeping their engineering team together as others come to poach them.

Maybe it'll be some time before Ferrari have a big car advantage again as they did for most of Schumacher's time (with a little help from the FIA before the falling out).

It's a different ball game not we have Mercedes and Redbull getting their acts together and no amount of moaning from Alonso will alter that - all the journalist who say he's the best drive, I could not disagree more, give him the same car as Hamilton and my money would be on him every time as I believe he's both faster and in Alonso's head which is the real key in F1 just like Webber's getting into Vettels head.


James, have you heard that Ferrari have appealed about the design of Mercedes revolutionary air box and engine cover? Seems like to me Ferrari are spending more time appealing about other teams creative development and not concentrating on producing any of their own.


Agreed. As a Ferrari fan, it's rather annoying.


Looking back to the last few seasons, the Ferrari team lack technical innovations. So they have to copy others during the season. I was very surprised to hear they need the help of ex-Toyota person to perfect their DDD this season. My feeling is that the current management was chosen when the F1 competition was less fiece that what we are seeing now. And they are clear less prepared to deal with regulation change, let alone taking advantage of it as Brawn and RBR. Ferrari needs to recognize the current problems first, then it will be easy to fix.


they didn't need help from Toyota - they hired the ex-Toyota aero guy, i believe he is now the head of the dept at Ferrari now.


That explains the F10's 'Toyota pace'. 🙂


The Ferrari doesn't look to be a very balanced car. Even in Spain, it understeered horribly and then would snap into oversteer. Alonso was very lucky in Spain, he would have only finished 4th if Lewis and Vettel hadn't of had technical issues.

The car hasn't looked ultra competitive since Bahrain really, in terms of fighting for wins. Turkey was a turning point for Mclaren, for sure. In sector 1 they were quickest, which features a lot of corners where the Red Bull is supposed to be quicker. Even in dirty air, Lewis was right behind Webber and even the dirty air effect did not prevent the Mclaren from sticking with the Red Bull. And in sector 3, where the slow speed corners are supposedly Mclaren's weakness - they were fastest in the slow corners there.

Funny how Ferrari has had such a long time to develop their 2010 car, yet struggle to beat Renault now with Kubica.


Question for James.

Do you think that Ferraris season is over and done with now at this stage, or do you think they will still be in with a shot if things change around?


Good question. They are a very good team, but there are some negative trends which need correcting. Alonso was hired for his leadership skills and this is a test of how he and Massa can work with the engineers to drive the team forward.


Hmmm,this could actually make or break Alonso if you think about it,if this were Raikkonen then people would half expect it i think,but Alonso has a reputation for being a leader so a lot might be on his shoulders for it.

Personally hope they get back on track so to speak soon,would make the end of the season more interesting.


James, I am so very sorry but with all due respect I need to ask: Alonso's leadership skills?

He is no doubt a very fast driver, but... leadership skills?

That's interesting, because if there is something I feel Alonso lacks completely is, precisely, leadership skills. I know you like him and consider as a positive fact that he "takes a lot of air" inside the team, but I always felt that taking a lot of air is not exactly leadership skills.

Schumacher was a leader. Prost. Senna. I can't see Alonso in the same level of skill managing a team.


alonso is not at the great driver's level. He used to be a winner, may be he still is, but do not try to compare him with people like prost. The french was better and senna and schumacher as well.

Peter Hermann

IMHO Fernando Alonso has those skills. The problem is, the team has to support him and give him room. So far i don't have the feeling Ferrari is doing that.

What i don't get why they payed a lot of money, got rid of Kimi and brought in Fernando one year earlier than planned and then not giving him full support. What are they afraid of?


Schumi was instrumental at Ferrari building a strong team comprised of the best people.

Prost was very meticulous and disciplined.

Senna was incredibly focused but matched that with a magical presence and passion. For both racing and for people.

They were all successful but used different skills to take them to the top.

Alonso’s needs to start using his talents at Ferrari or learn to develop new skills. Time is running out on what should have been a perfect opportunity to bring at least one of the championship trophies back to Maranello.


Last year Ferrari drivers normally were saying :

- Our race pace it´s better than our qualifying pace.

- The car lacks downforce

- We have a new upgrade coming that are gone move us closer to the front.

These year i´m earing the same things.

They will have a good car at some tracks , probably like montreal, budapest and somewhere else, but i don´t think they will catch up the Red Bulls and the Mclarens.

Let´s wait and see.


Bet Fernando wasn't expecting to be regularly looking at the back of a Renault this season, perhaps he forgot to take his 4/10s when he left them...


What apparently is not forgotten but underachieved is Ferrari ability of building top line competitive F1 cars. This is why Alonso's words are of value. Alonso's mistakes in this season might well be caused by trying to overtake the lack of competivity of a faulty car as compared with the likes.


Just my two cents worth, I really think it's time Di Montezemolo woke up and swallowed his pride. He needs to see that his current line up in top management isn't good enough. It's obvious Domenicali is complacent and lacks forward vision, and that the technical team isn't strong enough.

I mean, it may sound crazy, but how many top brass designers did they let slip with their fingers and allowed to join other teams? There was Gascoyne, Willis and even Symonds (now likely to consult with Williams F1 last I read). All of which were available. Yet, none. Complacency.

I don't necessarily think what Alonso said was anything underhanded or nasty. I mean, he gave it as it is. Any driver in his situation - even Schumacher - would have said the same thing because there was no other way to put it.

I can understand his frustration, given that his job is to provide accurate feedback in terms of fine tuning the car, not come up with new designs/upgrades/parts - that's Ferrari's job. Alonso's job is made harder by the lack of testing (which should be brought back really), but I don't think he's giving it any less. Management just really needs to step up and go for everyday like there's no tomorrow!

Prof Bolshaviks

His job is to give accurate feedback to the team. I think the hubub is about him using the press rather than the briefings to air his troubles.


Classic Mosley:

“He (Montezemolo) was on the phone every day saying, ‘you have got to sort the Court of Appeal out and make sure we win’,” Mosley, referring to Ferrari’s charismatic president, is quoted by the Daily Mail. “He didn’t put it as baldly as that but that is what he said.”

So, to translate into reality, Mosley misrepresented what LDM said, but chose to present it as a direct quote nevertheless. I'll reserve judgement until I know what LDM really said, in context. And I still hope that MM one day will just shut up.


Also if this was the case did Mosley then ensure that the judgement would go against Ferrari?? esp as the whole Manufacturer series talks were still fresh??

Søren Kühle

Is it likely that they simply got the setup wrong?

We'll see where they are in Canada. Probably still lacking in pace compared to RB and MAC, but most likely ahead of Renault an Mercedes.

BTW great site James. I Go here everyday.

First post though 🙂


Thanks for leaving a comment


I think Ferrari uses a very conservative approach in refining the machines, it looks as though they are afraid to do mistakes.Domenikale not enough adventure,дook at the front wings, Renault, Red Bull and McLaren, they are elegant but Ferrari is using a But Ferrari is using a very stereotyped forms.I know that all have their own philosophy, but you need to take risks.


I actually think they are overly aggressive, they chose to implement the F-Duct instead of adding performance on other areas of the car. Big mistake since they got distracted. I don't think the F-Duct was the way to go, like James said RedBull is assessing the pros & cons before implementing it.


Do you think Alonso might be having 2nd thoughts about joining a team that could well be on a long downward trend, especially when we see how sucessful Red Bull are becoming?


Indeed. Ironic isn't it that Renault seem to be back on the right curve again since he left.


I think Alonso is hugely disappointed by the lack of progress compared to RBR & McLaren. I’m sure his prime motivation for joining Ferrari was that he saw it as the best way to win another WDC, especially after struggling in the uncompetitive Renault - I doubt the honour of driving for such a legendary team would mean anything to him without the possibility of achieving this goal.

He also has to be careful with what he says in the press – being too critical of the team may have him looking for another employer before too long (ask Alain Prost about this!).

When everyone was talking of Schumie’s big risk of damaging his reputation by coming back, I had similar thoughts of Alonso committing himself to Ferrari ‘for the rest of his career’. If the car remains uncompetitive, he will shoulder at least part of the blame, which will have a detrimental effect on his perceived value in the driver’s market.

It must be pretty disheartening for him to see the Renault currently out-performing his new team.


Ferrari threw Kimi out with help of Santanders money and Alonsos glory.

In the beginning of next year Santander will be broke and Alonso has no glory anymore.


are you serious. He is at ferrari with two titles in the pocket already. The worst thing that could happen to him, it's to retire with just a few victories in the red cars, and not titles. I think he could survive that one.


Alonso seems to have second thoughts everywhere.. unfortunately where he goes wrong is that he airs them in public rather than getting on and doing what he is paid to do..

The guy may be a world class driver but he's also appearing to be a world class whinger..

However I do agree that Stephano must be on shaky ground.. I recall that Luca preferred him to Ross as team principal which has to be an amazingly and obvious bad call.... basically Mr Domenicali is a nice guy and, as they say, "Nice guys come last"...

Hiring Alonso to make up for Stephano's lack of leadership skills hoping that he would be another Schuey also leaves out the point that the management and technical team of Todt, Brawn et al were one of the strongest and most professional groups around..


"world class whinger.."

Awesome Call!! 🙂

Well that's a title that he is well equiped to win, I can see it now...

Fernando Alonso 7 time World Whinging Champion...

He is certainly the most well-rounded whinger on the grid and I hear he brings "6/10ths of a Whinge" with him to whatever team he joins...


Do you think Alonso wanted to piggy back on past success and bring home another championship without too much effort?

I thought true champions relish the challenge and dig deeper when the going gets tough.

If Alonso moves it will be because Ferrari do not see him as the leader they wanted and because his performances do not meet the high expectations of team and fans alike. I think the Italian press will have the final word.

Any chance Alonso will go back down to GP2 with his old friend...


Maybe two years down the road Alonso might be saying that he wants to retire at GREEN BILL$$, I mean Red Bull..



What makes your question really salient is that Alonso had the opportunity to join Red Bull after the 2007 nightmare with McLaren. If only he had the foresight to see what could happen with a top designer on the team in Adrian Newey.


Perhaps Ferrari's problem is that they are producing some very good road cars at the moment?

Commercially this is a huge issue for Ferrari with Mclaren about to enter "their" road-car market they must be anxious to beat them on track. Mercedes too for that matter with AMG stretching their muscles on the road.

The Scuderia need to beat their former dream team of Brawn and Schumacher first and foremost. Or should I say Stefano needs to beat Ross and Ferrari needs to beat Mercedes first and foremost. Mclaren need to be taken care of on the track for strong commercial reasons.

At this stage I think a second place to RBR would be acceptable at Marrenelo but not looking likely at the moment.


As we saw last year on the low downforce tracks strange things happened at canada is usually stranger than most and we could all be talking about somebody else struggling. I think Ferrari will go well in Canada as they have decent straight line speed and have been pretty good in slow corners also. Expect it to be Ferrari v mclarens there as redbull don't have good straight line speed. I still think ferraris front wing is very under developed


I think Alonso is well within his rights to criticise the development path of Ferrari. He knows that Renault and McLaren are both able to update their cars at every race whereas Ferrari tends to bring a bigger update but say once every 3 or 4 races. This latter approach means that you are only able to match the pace of the front runners at a 1/3 or 1/4 of the races, which is just not good enough.

Also I believe that McLaren's development advantage may be due to a very sophisticated driver simulator. It is possible that with a very advanced simulator that Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations on new aero parts can be run in real-time, thus allowing them to effectively circumvent the in season testing ban. I know for a fact that quite complex Finite Element Analysis (FEA) simulations can be run in real time to which CFD is closely related.


I dont understand this, I thought Alonso brought 4 to 5 tenths to any car he drives, or is that just McLarens ?


I may be wrong, but I was under the impression those 4,5 maybe even 7 tenths he claimed to bring to the MP4-22 were pulled/culled from the 07 Spygate docs. (like having Ferrari's playbook in his back pocket) Not much use for anyone now since it's kinda like taking stolen goods back to the scene of the crime...


I wander If Ferrari are spending too long looking for a 'silver bullet' first the F'duct/drag reducing rear wing.

Now were hearing they want to copy red bull's exhaust, somthing that may have no huge benifit.

McLaren + Renault on the other hand are making many smaller changes all over the car, quantum steps ron would call it.


I wonder if their lack of performance these last two years is down to the switch to slick tyres. A large part of Ferrari's dominance last decade was their relationship with bridgestone, and they would have had alot of knowledge of the grooved tyres. Even after Schumacher, in 07 and 08, they had the best car and won the constructors title both years, the drivers in 07 and Massa just missed out in 08. Then F1 moved to slicks and the form is gone relative to the past. Maybe they are missing that exclusive relationship they once had.


I think you bring up an incredibly valid point Michael. With the issues Kimi had warming up the tires last year, the issues Massa has had with the harder compounds this year, and the trouble both red cars had with the tires this past weekend. Maybe more of this has to do with the different characteristics slicks bring than a lack of aerodynamic prowess, though it clearly is both to an extent.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

So they must be really slow, especially taking into account Alonso's 0.6 sec contribution!

I think that Ferrari realise that they were little without Schumacher and the Anglo-Saxon work ethic. Will they ever return to the glory days of 2000-2004??? Doubtful


Thats a bit stereotypical isn't it mate. Are you trying to tell me all the people they have lack work ethic?

Meanwhile, James I am waiting for your Hamilton article.I am sure you have a nice one cooking

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Stereotypical maybe, but true.


As long as Lou is has anything to do with Ferrari F1 racing, they will not do well. Lou lives in a world of general ideas, and believes that the situation of Ferrari can be improved via politics.

Now it is a different ballgame, and smart engineers using supercomputers count more than lobbying and throwing money at a problem.


Easy to throw FA's words back in his face -- 4 tenths or 6 tenths or whatever. But if the guys in the factory aren't capable of designing and implementing upgrades, then we have no way of knowing whether FA is providing useful input.

Seems to be a major cultural problem at the Ferrari factory -- complacency, lack of urgency, lack of imagination. I agree with the poster who compared them to Toyota.


Again, that didn't seem to be an issue for them when Schumacher was leading the team, his raw speed, his highly specific feedback and his inspirational nature obviously drove the team to success.

In fact, the Mercedes engineers have already (after only a couple of months there) been singing the praises of how specific and detailed Schumacher's car feedback and technical requests are. This trait alone helps to stop the engineers from exploring "dead-end" developments that end up not working and inevitably bringing effective updates more regularly. That is what Ferarri are missing, a true developmental driver and an effective technical manager that can manage and prioritise updates.


Agree. And maybe that's the reason why Fernando channeling his frustration out through the media, since he still has not built enough political clout within Ferrari. If not work, it will backfire though.

Boston F1 Fan

- It's because they lost the Marlboro barcode! All that subliminal advertising gave them a boost.


Very funny!!

Maybe the smoke was going to the diffuser giving them some downforce,lol.


Ferrari's concerns must be growing, where can they go from here?


Hi James

Do you think that Ferrari are suffering by stopping development on their '09 car, i.e. less experience of developing a race car through a testing ban? as i think '09 was the first season of the testing ban


Stuart Fenton

Ferrari will be back up there, basically due to money. It's Williams I find interesting. A lot of people go to blame Sam Michaels. Frank and Patrick aren't idiots. If Sam was/is that bad he would be out the door. He's been kept so I presume it must be some other factor holding them back?


from what i've read it is down to missed investment in their wind tunnel, the corellation between tunnel data and track are not accurate


If Ferrari can get back to the front with money, I think it is precisely a lack of money that is holding Williams back. They are a sad shell of their former selves and it seems funding is sparse when you're at the back.


Its a tough business. Ferrari are in danger of finding it difficult to climb back to the top as they ride the spending glide slope down to a budget cap. Successful people like to join a winning team.

Whatever the last few results, Alonso is a class act, he's proved that plenty of times. OK he's a bit whiney, but F aren't bringing enough speed to the car, he's right.

Will they find a way to spend money "off budget"? How about having a third car and another +50% on the budget cap...


my 2 cents: I think there are various factors for the car development: input from the race engineers based on data they process, input from the drivers, input from the various track configurations and last the development program or at least the 'road map'.

Ferrari chose to put more weight to the input from their drivers (Massa, Alonso complains), they adopted their car to support an F-Duct.

RedBull chose not to do F-Duct but they stick to their car development program and it paid off.

I bet there are some angry engineers at Ferrari saying that the F-Duct was not the proper solution to their problem but stick to their program. Actually from what i read the F-Duct implementation for Ferrari was a major reconfiguration of the car.

This is what happens when you try to copy the competition.


Stefano needs to be fired. He ran off Kimi when he could not get what Todt could out of him. Now he is fumbling the ball with Alonso a driver he sought so vigorously. And was some magical savior. Now what happens? Mistake after mistake and now they are looking for another scapegoat except this time Felipe is being paid as much as Kimi so its difficult to blame him. Especially when Felipe is well liked within the team


Aw c'mon! Kimi's fast, but he goes missing for 1/2 the season, so his salary isn't $25M, it's $50M. And even when you chuck him out, its another $25M. $25M!!, what, he was broke?, NEEDED that $25M more than he needed to race in F1 (OK, I'd take the money too, but he isn't that keen on racing in F1 is he?).

Compare that with Kubica "gimme a good car and let me race"


I feel there has been a very slow downward trend at Ferrari since a certain Mr. Brawn departed.


James, thanks for this analysis.

Despite what has been happening with the dip in Ferrari's performance, Alonso is still in the thick of things as far as the championship goes.

If they can optimize the F-Duct for Canada, just the top speed advantage will improve their lap times dramatically in Canada.

McLaren at this point does look like they may have the upper hand over Red Bull, in Canada and subsequent races. Kudos to their engineering team and their development pace.

This season is proving to be every bit as exciting as fans were expecting.


Might their lack of pace have anything to do with the Shell provided ''cool fuel'' - i.e. is it a horsepower issue, or is it just aero development they are lacking?


So it wasn't Kimi after all, now we find out...

I remember how Alonos fans were bashing Kimi, especially last year (while he had even a worse car than Alonso this year). And they never blamed Ferrari.

Now Alonso fans fully blame Ferrari, they have to concede (if they have some honor and dignuty in them) that last year, it was Ferrari's fault too...which it also will be next year, and the year after that, and and and...

Ferrari lost it....most of it in 2006, then at the end of 2008 it was still succesful because of the foundations still being here and then it all went Italian run Pizza shop.


The F2008 was the ultimate expression of Ferrari's dominance and refinement of the past decade. It looked like no other car on the grid and employed great aerodynamic tricks like the hole in the top of the nosecone. Take the V10 from the F2004 and drop it in the aerodynamically superior F2008 and you'd have the fastest F1 car money could buy. Stick some slicks on it and it would leave everyone in its' wake. But since the start of the 2009 season, everything is different and Ferrari don't have that perfect formula anymore, though no doubt Massa, Kimi and Alonso to an extent have pulled some great results out of a inferior design.


Isn't the f-duct banned for next yr? why are they spending soooo much time and money on this technology that they will not be able to use next yr. Shouldn't they concerntrate on other parts of the F10.

Also, I think Ferrari should start spending most of their practice on perfecting qualifying. It seems that qualifying is more important than race pace this season (as it was the last few and as it was shown in Turkey).

Alberto Dietz

Reality check:

Luca made some wrong choices, Todt didn't.

Forza, Felipe and Michael!


Forza Massa

A true Ferrari Pilot.


Fernando qualifying 12th in Turkey is blamed on the Ferrari. In fact, this was due to yet another mistake by Kimi's replacement, he lost it on his qualy lap. Felipe managed to drag it into Q3 after all. Crying about the performance of the car simply hides his own mistake.



2 questions;

1. Are rules for next year already out??We heard Mclaren say that the design for next year’s car is already in an advanced stage and Pat Fry’s departure won’t hurt.

2. What about these testing rules?? Do any of the big teams have any testing days at their disposal??I mean “Private Test Days”


Hi James

Could you tell us where you stand on the often repeated phrase (by the F1 media) that Alonso is the best all round driver in F1.

Nicolas Jerome

I wont be surprised if Ferrari stops the development of the F10, in recent years Ferrari has tended to freeze the car development for next years car only to find that they do the same thing over and over again.

In F1 nothing stands still, it has some of the brightest people on earth from various teams, you can have all the money in the world but someone who has better thinking skills and brainstorming ideas can leap frog you. Renault has a small budget but they made right executions which brought then 2 title in a row.

If you blick in F1, people can do many things that can leave you behind, Ferrari were worried about McLaren in the past as their main opponen but now its a different game now with Red Bull and many other teams.

That solid passion that was there in Schumi era is no longer there and the never give up attitide from Ferrari and the fighting spirit is no longer there, most teams copied what Ferrari did, everyone would get worried what Ferrari has up in their sleeve.

I would be surprised if Ferrari gets into the top 3 when the title is decided.

Im really sad about Ferrari


It'll be a bit of a wake up call if they slip behind one of the new teams who they so publicly berated before the start of the season.

I don't think the 800th race would have looked so dire for them if their senior management and PR machine dropped the self inflated ego and engaged the sport with humility.

Alberto Dietz

Exactly. An excellent example of humility comes to mind: Felipe, Brasil '08.



I think that this is just indicative of how good Ross Brawn is and that with each year after his departure from Ferrari the momentum he built is dissipating. I don't think that things are going wrong as such they are just lacking nous.

I think that it is also rather telling on how good a team leader Alonso is/isn't. He did not set the world on fire at Maclaren which at the time was put down to Hamilton's influence with the team, and he isn't doing it now. Whilst his race craft is unquestionable his ability to drag the team with him appears lacking.

Thirdly I think it also shows what a strong influence Pat Symonds and Flavio Briatore had on Alonso's career and they were probably underestimated.


Hi James,

Just a quick question, who are the reinforcements on teh way at Ferrari's technical department? Any chance Pat Fry will be joining them?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.




Ferrari miss testing more than anyone else, aparently. Wanna bet 5 bucks for a in-season testing return in 2011? And add another 5 bucks for it being granted as a measure to help the teams adapt to whatever new tyre manufacturer comes in.


In the meantime, some of Alonso's most fantastic performances have come when he was hurt and in need. I'll never count him out for a win.

Val from Montreal

James, if you cross Alonso in the paddock ,can you please ask him where he left his 6 tenths ?

It seems his reputation of being a)consistent , b)team leader , c)great car develloper are pretty

much all B.S. ... What made his reputation were

a)Michelin Tires B)Illegal Mass Dampers C)Renault 05-06 cars D)Ferrari engine blow-up Suzuka 2006 ...

I Hope that Mercedes and Schumacher beat Ferrari and Alonso in 2010 constructors and drivers standings ... That will shut all of Italy up !@

stephen stepney

James a wonderful insight in to Ferrari and time will tell,i do believe however it will turn around though unfortunately possibly to late,the F10 was the only car at the start to rattle RB,and had development kept pace it would still be now. FA is known to have excellent feed back and is able to give engineers information on how the car needs to be,pre season testing showed exactly this.

FA made a comment as to why a team would wish to employ "any"driver when asked,his reply was "IF" a driver can bring a few tenths more then any team would be interested" He may have implied he can,but never actually said he could.

He is without doubt a very talented driver whose emotions can sometimes get the better of him,but never rule him out,and with Ferrari only a fool would,it may not be this year yet lessons will be learnt for both team and driver for next year.


Any word on why the car has suddenly become uncompetitive? They've fallen off the pace ever since the ran their version of F duct. Actually they admitted that it cost them downforce. Are they shooting themselves in the foot trying to dial it in right as oppposed to focusing on the previous strengths of the car? I don't know if that's the reason, but I doubt the other teams have made that big of jump over them. The order is still more of less the same beside Ferrari dropping off. I find it hard to believe that Mclaren, Mercedes and Renault have all outdeveloped them.


As I said, getting the wing right is difficult. It can cause problems when the wing is passive in corners, ie no air blowing out of it


Surely with him bringing 6 tenths of a second to the team, Alonso should be much quicker?!

The man is looking even more idiotic after making those comments 3 years ago.

Alberto Dietz

And he looks truly awful, the complete opposite of De Portago (sadly lost back in the fifties) who was wild but not abandoned, a guy with real class and some amazing ancestors over five or six centuries. Five Ferraris in those days and his team mates were Musso, Collins, Castellotti and Fangio.


I really wouldn't say Alonso was "criticizing" the team publicly. He just said that they didn't have as many updates as other teams. I don't see what's such a big deal about it. If you want, you can read it as "team is lazy" but it's not that. He was asked a question and he answered in a factual way. What was he expected to say?


You hit the nail on the head. Alonso's and Domenicalli's words were coincident stating that they didn’t have as many updates as other teams. Nothing more, nothing less. Significantly, it was Domenically who said Ferrari had to work quick and hard to keep the pace of the other top teams.


The problem James is as you pointed out about a year ago in an article, that Stefano Domenicalli doesn't have the same sort of temperament that the previous generation of team bosses did, (Ron Dennis, Jean Todt, Flavio Briatore and Ross Brawn). Those guys had ice in their veins and would chop your head off if you didn't perform. Stephano is too cool, too casual for this environment. Of course, it was Luca Di Montezemolo who hired him. Ferrari should have kept Ross, promoted him to Todt's old spot and put Stephano under him for a number of years (like Martin Whitmarsh under Ron Dennis). When Ross was ready to call it a day, promote Stephano. But no, Luca wanted Ferrari to be an "Italian team" again. Well, here you go, back to the 80's and 90's of underperforming. I agree that technically they're not strong right now. That's why they can't react very quickly.

Jake Pattison

James, any chance the FIA would consider allowing team orders in the future?

The sooner the better as far as I'm concerned, so that we can get away from all this covert stuff. We all know it happens.


If Ferrari want to speed up development and spend more of FIAT's money, why don't they introduce another team, like RBR have with Torro Rosso?


When McLaren introduced their F-duct, they said it took two years to develop and get it working right. They reiterated that when other teams started to show up with their own versions of the wing stall system. Stating they were surprised they had competing systems so quickly.

It's pretty obvious that this is a simple concept with very complex and finicky details needed to make it work correctly. I think McLaren is quite pleased that the other teams have diverted so much of their development efforts to the system that they have fallen behind in other areas.

AND it will be banned next year! Quite clever those McLaren boffins...


It occurred to me the other day that it would be really funny if it turned out the F duct didn't do much on the McLaren, either, and the whole thing had been a con to get everyone to waste their resources chasing it 🙂

However, in reality I'm sure the other teams can tell what sort of advantage it's bringing McLaren, and know it's worth pursuing.

It would be funny, though!


Hi James,

I was looking at McLaren's strong car development last year and this year (relative to the other teams) and it got me thinking...

Are we starting to see McLaren's prior investment in corelating their simulator and track data REALLY pay dividends now that the resource restriction is starting to kick in??

Does this bode particularly well for McLaren for the next few years when all of the top teams will have to start reducing their spending (and windtunnel usage)signifcantly??


Hey James! Funny that you write this statement

"It is also clear that the technical team at Maranello isn’t strong enough, particularly in developing a car, compared to McLaren"

After all your claims last year, that one Mr.Kimi was not able to motivate and develop the team technically and that Alonso was awesome in doing that?

Why is there no mention in your article about Alonso not being able to develop a car as you thought he would have? Huh?


The talk of Mr Kimi not being emotionally intelligent is either media hype or something which people consider important to motivate heavily paid employees of one of the most high-profile corporate giants of the world.


Well now we will find out won't we? Ferrari obviously felt the same which is why they hired him


Drivers have never been the problem at Ferrari. It's the management, starting from Luca, mostly Domenicalli. Nice guys not always get the job done, especially in this cut-throat biz. Until the day we see a major shake-up at the senior management level, Scuderia will not return to its former glory.


So Ferrari have enough money to run 3 cars and test all season but can't design a winning car? Logically therefore they don't have the engineering talent. I am as ready as anyone to be impressed by the achievements of any team, but Ferrari are so full of their own hype it's hard not to gloat when they find themselves in midfield and get all puzzled, thinking that their natural place is at the front! I especially object to their tagline that every driver wants to drive for Ferrari. Well how about Rubens Barrichello? He's already driven for them and say he's always wanted to drive for Williams. So there!

You know the old saying "Ferrari are owned by Fiat, Fiat by the Italian government, and the Italian government by the Mafia." Maybe that's where they get the idea everyone should respect them 🙂 Perhaps they should give up trying to win and just put horses' heads in the other teams' motorhomes.


I imagine that a large part of Ferrari’s current predicament stems from the fact that they lack the strong team leadership that they had in Jean Todt. Being part of a large public company that answers to a board of directors, and ultimately public opinion (read ‘the Tifosi’), they lack someone with the ability to steer them in the right direction and the conviction to see it through. There were plenty calls for Todt’s head prior to their return to form with MS, but ultimately he lead the most successful team in F1 history.

Their current apparent knee-jerk reaction to other team’s ‘gimmicks’ are possibly causing them to ignore development of their own potential in areas where they are strong. While the ‘F-duct’ is undoubtedly a success on the McLaren, trying to retro-fit one to the Ferrari seems to be an enormous waste of resources. I can’t imagine Domenicalli telling Luca that they should rather concentrate on improving their down-force, or FA that he doesn’t need a blown wing if he can improve his mid-corner speed with some subtle suspension tweaks. Luca wants an F-duct, the Tifosi want an F-duct, Alonso wants an F-duct, so we work on an F-duct.

RBR don’t have one, although they are looking at it, and they’re still quicker than McLaren even though they have less top speed (Button was amazed when Webbo confirmed that he was ‘flat’ through Istanbul Park’s Turn 8 on low fuel). Surely concentrating on their current car’s strengths, whatever they may be, would yield more positive results, especially as these may be carried over to their next design (unlike the F-duct). But then you need a team principle with insight and the courage of his convictions to make these decisions, even when they are not as successful as intended.

Having the largest budget, the best driver, extremely competent engineers and the most enviable name in F1 all comes to naught without clear direction.


It was a big dissapointment to learn that Ferrari next update will be at Valencia. Massa and Alonso must be frustrated with the situation. Could it be the economic crisis affecting the Italians? One will never know with such a high profile brand as Ferrari is. But then again are they complacent, I certainly hope not.

James, I know your're an ardent supporter of Alonso.

I am too, and it feels rather demoralising with his performances this year. Partially his faults and Ferrari too.

The only consolation I get is watching his personal times improve or when he's closing in during 'live timing' but with no refuelling all drivers times improved too. Shucks!

Off the topic, the criticisms shown towards Mark Webber in Turkey's race I feel Mark should be the 2010 WDC. Just like Jenson who won the WDC late Mark should too. It's about time the older loyal drivers in F1 earned their respect.


Just to be clear I'm not an "ardent supporter" of Alonso. I like him as a person to deal with and have a lot of respect for his driving.


If there is one team that knows how to bounce back its Ferrari, and it remains too early to draw conclusions now. Would not surprise me if they have something up their sleeve.



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