Since I posted this morning Ferrari has announced the major changes that team boss Stefano Domenicali hinted at.
According to the team’s website, “Neil Martin takes on the role of heading up the new Operations Research department. A 38 year old Englishman, Martin previously worked for Red Bull and prior to that McLaren and he will now report directly to Technical Director, Aldo Costa.
“At the same time, Costa’s deputy, Pat Fry will, in addition to his current role, take on the job of head of race track engineering. Up until yesterday, this position was held by Chris Dyer and his role within the company will be redefined in the next few days.”
So as predicted Dyer falls on the sword for the strategy mistake in Abu Dhabi.
Meanwhile Neil Martin is an interesting appointment. He comes from the financial services field originally and wrote a programme which he realised had uses for F1 strategy. He showed it to McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh who hired him on the strength of it.
He was headhunted by Red Bull and headed up their strategy unit until last year when he promptly left the team. Last summer there were suggestions he would be joining Ferrari but I got a categorical denial from Ferrari when I asked. On the face of it, it seems that the events of Abu Dhabi have prompted a rethink. Ferrari say this is not the case and that Martin was hired before Abu Dhabi.
Although Ferrari say that Martin’s role is not specifically to run race strategies, it is more of a strategic overview role looking at ways of improving operations across the board, his appointment will also have been at the behest of Fry with whom he worked at McLaren. It takes up part of the role Fry was due to have and has been done because Fry now puts his head in the lion’s mouth as head of track operations, making the big calls, an area where Ferrari has struggled a few times in recent years.