F1 Winter Break
Ferrari put confidence in Pat Fry as Costa falls on his sword
Ferrari put confidence in Pat Fry as Costa falls on his sword
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 May 2011   |  5:49 pm GMT  |  153 comments

Four years after Ross Brawn left the team, Ferrari has once again decided to put its faith in an Anglo Saxon technical director.

Costa: Out of time (Ferrari)

Aldo Costa, who was long groomed as Brawn’s successor, has been relieved of his post to be replaced by ex McLaren engineer Pat Fry. The 47 year old Englishman was brought in over the winter as deputy technical director. He was previously one of the senior engineers and designers at McLaren and he now assumes overall control of the chassis side of the technical operation. Luca Marmorini stays on as boss on the engine side and Corrado Lanzone is head of production.

Ferrari has lacked flair and imagination in its design recently and it is likely that Fry will now look to strengthen the design office.

Costa oversaw the 2007 world championship victory for Kimi Raikkonen, with a car designed by his team, under Brawn’s management and then his team came close in 2008 with Felipe Massa. But the title eluded them and has done so ever since as independent teams Brawn (ironically) and Red Bull stepped up to championship status.

Last year they narrowly missed out on the world title with Fernando Alonso, who led going into the final round and a disappointing start to this season, dogged by aerodynamic correlation problems caused by an upgrading of the wind tunnel from 50% to 60%, has led Ferrari’s management to act.

The car lacks downforce and struggles to generate temperature and grip from harder compound tyres, a long-time Ferrari problem.

Costa said last weekend that Ferrari had a significant upgrade to the car coming for Montreal, but he will not be around to see whether it works. Ferrari should be more competitive in the next three races anyway; Monaco, Montreal and Valencia, as they are tracks which call for soft compound tyres, which suit Ferrari better.

Although team principal Stefano Domenicali came up through the ranks with Costa and served alongside him for many years, the performance in Spain, where Alonso fell backwards and was lapped after a heroic effort in qualifying and the start of the race was clearly the final straw. The Ferrari is off the pace, Red Bull is getting away and a difficult decision needed to be made.

With Williams’ Sam Michael resigning earlier this month, Technical directors are becoming like football managers, who carry the can when the team fails to make the grade.

Under Brawn and ultimately Jean Todt, the technical team was very stable, with Rory Byrne as chief designer. In the four years since they left the technical side has promoted and then dispensed with Luca Baldisserri and Chris Dyer who performed senior operations roles and now with Costa.

With Alonso signed up for five years, Ferrari is clearly hoping that he and Fry can form a new dynasty and restore stability and excellence to the technical side. They worked together well at McLaren in 2007.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said at the launch of the 150 Italia that this year the Scuderia “have to win” but with its lead driver already over 60 points behind Sebastian Vettel, it is going to require a massive turnaround to get Alonso back into the title fight like last year.

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i think it was done in Turkey (Costas resignation)

i think this was the whole plan, to announce this around this time, and imo the package for Canada may have been designed without him.

just my suspicions.


Aldo Costa or Domenicali didn't do too bad job, if there is no Andrian Newey in the world of F1 .!!!! . . . Last year Ferrari would be world champion, and that look good for Domenicali (and everyone will talk about him differently for sure)

The big problem for Formula 1 is because Andrian Newey . . . Rebbull without Newey is nothing. He brought RB from nowhere to the Top.

he is too good for any rival teams. . . . any teams who have him will be much more advantage, more chance to win the Championship, look at his pet degree.

So, Fire him out of the F1 . . . more teams will play on the same level.

F1 without Newey will probably more fun, more level . . . . there might be no team use Blown Diffuser right now. Many Team follow or copy his design. Most Front nose design is copy form RB, even faster Mclaren still stem from Newey design.(without copy Newey design Mclaren probably still nowhere)

He is too creative. ! ! ! ! . . . RB is not fair to the rest to have him in their team because every teams would like to have him in the team. . . problem is there is only one Newey, and RB win him.

His creative create the following chain problem for other teams.


The Brits are gone (Brawn / Stepney) that's when their slide began.


Wasn't it Niki Lauda who said something to the effect that Ferrari's problems started when Italians were put in charge of it? I think the underlying meaning was that the same Italian passion and emotion that made Ferrari great is not the best temperament for management. But that could be pandering to stereotypes as far as I know since I don't exactly have lunch at Maranello every afternoon.


Stepney responsible for Ferrari slide !!!!!!! The only reason we've heard of Stepney is because he leaked Ferrari docs.

Marcus in Canada

Stepney never gets enough credit for the work he did. He raised the reliability bar for the whole paddock to where it is today.


He was famous for being the one who Schumacher knocked over in the pits. I think the expectation was that Stepney would take over Brawn's job?


It's good to be patriotic and all that but let's not forget abot Jean Todt and Michael Schumacher.


Or Rory Byrne.


🙂 Especially Rory Byrne !

Michael Prestia

I think it is nieve to think 1 person is to blame for a loss or 1 person responsible for all the glory. It is a team of hundreds of people. The leader just has to extract the best out of everyone and maybe Costa isn't the one to get the best out of everyone but he is not the sole reason for failure.


The guy who designed the Ferraris was Rory Byrne and IMO he is the guy Ferrari is missing rather than the much more highlited Ross Brawn.

As for Aldo Costa sacking, it might be right or wrong but it is not the main problem. The problem is Stefano Dominicali. He had a weak aero department for many years now and he has known Aldo Costa for much longer.

If Costa isn't the man for the job now, then he wasn't neither last year or the years before.

Why didn't Dominicali replace him earlier then ? It is either because he doesn't have enough vista to quickly spot weak areas or because he isnot strong enough to take tough decisions quickly.

In either case, he is the one responsible and he has to go ! Fuori STEFANO, Fuori !

P.S : the Brawn car that won WC isn't a privateer IMO. It's a Honda developed with huge resources even by Ferrari/McLaren standards

P.S.2 : the key to Ferrari success was neither Brawn, nor Byrne not even Schumacher, the key was Jean TODT and has he been english we would've heard much more about him. People under-estimate how hard it is to manage Ferrari. Witmarsh & Horner jobs are a walk in the park comparatively.


That is a very careless assumption to have , do you honestly believe this to be true?


if you look at the gap between Schumi and his teammates back then it was like half to a full second. There were a few guys pretty much on the same level with Rubens, like JV who qualified around 5 or 6 with Honda. So who really played the key role if you know what I mean?
Ultimately its always the ultimate driver pace, Ferrari is merely a mid-field team now without Alonso just like Ferrari wasnt that special without MS.
They both took the car to the places where it shouldnt be, a championship contender. I can't stand Alonso but you have to give credit where it is due.

I think the biggest problem in Ferrari is at the very top.
There is a reason why certain people retire at certain age.


Ferrari midfield without Alonso !!!


100% right. That former HR Director Dominicali needs to go. How an HR Director becomes team principal is beyond me. He has the final say in all strategy and he is the weakest link. The only thing he is good at is spreading blame across the team and not taking it on himself. Pit stops are another issue Ferrari are consistantly about 1 second slower than any of the tops teams. What is been done about it? I doubt this fool has even noticed it.


Is it any coincidence that in the four years since they left, there have been so many people moved aside or sacked.

Perhaps the Ferrari leadership should look at themselves for answers, and one of them should fall on their swords.

Look at all of the examples of large budget flops in F1. BMW, Honda, toyota. All very political organisations, too many bosses. Sound familiar?

How Dominicali is expected to get on with his job with the continual interference of LDM is beyond me.

If you want the reason that Adrian Newey turned down Ferrari twice last year, there it is in a nutshell.


Ah Jo… you so long for the days of Ferrari domination under TODT! How tedious that you want to go back to those awful days! [mod]

Dominicali is a refreshing and open kind of guy that has made me warm to Ferrari despite their reputation of manipulation. I like him very much and hope they win a title this year or next. I agree with you about Brawn, Honda backed him all the way until they bailed out, more fool them!
Huge resources do not equal good designs (see Toyota). It takes an accomplished design brain like Brawn's (try writing that when you are drunk!) to come up with double diffusers, etc.
Ross Brawn would be an awesome asset to any F1 team.


the key to Ferrari success was neither Brawn, nor Byrne not even Schumacher, the key was Jean TODT

I would say that the key to Ferrari success was their close relationship with Bridgestone and the way they tirelessly tested their cars fitted with those tyres.

The Japaneses were gone now and the data is not available anymore.

I already said that in other site: 'they really need to communicate or establish some links with the motosport valley to be in the top again because they are far away from the racing technology epicentre.'


If Ferrari managed a closer relationship with Bridgestone, it's a tribute to TODT as he is the one who built that relationship.

He is one of the greatest motorsport figures of all time


It was made up of many things, Todt was the band leader, but as we are talking about technical leadership here then the technical leader was Brawn. Todt empowered him and he took full responsibility for all things technical including hiring the rights staff and spending money and time on the right things. That is what has been missing, clearly, as they aren't winning.

Domenicali leads the team. Yes it's ultimately his responsibility to ensure that he has the right TD doing the right things, but the TD has to take responsibility for all things technical


"It's a Honda developed with huge resource even by Ferrari/McLaren standards" with the back of the chassis chopped off and run on the cheap.


...and all that is your opinion 🙂


No he knows all that as a universal fact, is why he stated it that way.


He's the one doing the writing; therefore the writing is his opinion and should be interpreted as such.


always a pleasure to read comments with solid arguments.


You could even make the case that the 2007 championship was a result of a lot of work from 2006 - before Brawn and Schumacher left, before Byrne became a "consultant" and prior to Todt moving over to CEO of the whole of Ferrari.

The key to Ferrari's past success was the combination here - a great designer in Byrne, who, as Jo Torrent rightly argues I think, is often over-looked. But also the guidance of Todt and Brawn and Schumacher's undoubted ability to galvinise and develop a car. All the elements were in place.

Really, when you consider the massive turnover at Ferrari at the end of 2006 it's a wonder that they didn't fall back further, faster. Imagine a football team losing its manager and most of the first 11; something similar happened at Ferrari.


The loss of in-season testing has hurt them badly, also. If their car wasn't working as expected, or they were having difficulty getting the tyres to work, then they would have Badoer and Larini pounding round Fiorano until the problems were ironed out. Factor in Bridgestone, who would modify their compounds to suit Ferrari in the tyre war days, and unlimited testing was a powerful weapon indeed.

In current F1, with the loss of testing and 'special relationships', it's harder to use your resources and influence to tilt the playing field in your direction. Ferrari and McLaren have both found it difficult to adapt to this new era and it's no coincidence that a smaller team with strong technical leadership that has seized the day.


Great post as always Kenny. hit the nail right on the head.


I've always thought Byrne was pivotal in Schumachers success and championships. Byrne was first class.

Toleman/Benetton (nearly winning Monaco with senna), benetton chief designer 2 champs with Schumi, and all of the Ferrari success.

And he's the only designer to arguable outdesign Adrian Newey (open to argument - cue arguement lol)


Where is Byrne now?

(Maybe it's stupid question, but I really don't know)


Fishing in south africa I suspect, retired (for the second time having retired from benetton only to be lured back to join ferrari).

He was working on the 2013 concept with Patrick Head but it looks like the ground effect concept has been binned from what I understand (in favour of a continued wing based aero dependancy).


Andy C, I do not agree with you offten

but you are " spot on ", I salute you.


The 1 in 100 occurence. my opinions have now been validated 😉


A time of upset for Ferrari is good for Mclaren.

The team will be nervous of who is next.

The pressure increases even more.

A perfect Monaco result though is Ham, But, Alo, Vet, Web.

So Alonso can still be useful to Mclaren.

I never agreed with Domenicali and thought Brawn should have taken the role.

Glad he didn't of course.

Massa too is still uncertain.

This is very good.

Ferrari are Williams with a budget right now.


I totally agree with Jo Torrent. Domenicalli is the problem in Ferrari. Not only he doesn't see weak spots quickly. Whenever they finally have a competitive car in one race their strategy fails completely.


[mod] Obviously the best way to run the team who came second in the Drivers championship and third in the Constructors last year,is to sack your staff as soon as things get a little wobbly.
Why on earth McLaren didn't try that in 2009 I just can't guess.
F1 is now a development race for the teams, as it was in the golden days of old. Good for us on the edge of our Sunday seats. Bad for those with their own test track gathering dust. Pass the Black pepper!



As Chelsea in football can confirm, why have consistency when you can have 6 managers in 5 seasons or whatever it is.

They might want to look up the motorway at Man Utd (and I say that as a Newcastle fan).

Consistency, good people and good management. Its that simple.

Hire fire never works in any industry. Its like watching under 11s football. Someone kicks the ball in one direction, then all 20 outfield players run after it. and repeat.


Amm Hire/Fire is the name of the game in banking industry. People hire people for results. And if you don't. you are out, may be the same as f1.


And where are their Champions' League medals??


James, understand the post- lack of consistency in management led to no medals


You're a liverpool fan arent you, think you mentioned.

You have a guy like Ancelotti who they chased for something like three years and won the double in his first season, then fire him the next.

It's Romans money at the end of the day I guess (or rather was that of the russian people before the oligarchy days)


Whoa, I didn't see this coming. But good on Ferrari for they have began waking up & smelling the tea.

Now what they should do is get rid of all Italian personnel in the team & get rid of the curse coz from what I understand, Costa is just being transferred to another department & not fired out right.

Look, if you want your chances of success to shoot through the roof, you need different nationalities working together, I mean look at the United States.

Also Ferrari (Italian team) were most successful when:

Todt - French

Byrne - South African

Brawn - British

Schumacher - German

What about Red Bull (Austrian drinks Company)

Newey - British

Vettel - German

Webber - Australian

Mclaren (British 90s & 80s)

Senna - Brazilian

Prost - French

Dennis - British

Renault (French team)

Flavio - Italian

Alonso - Spanish

Now for the failures with same nationalities within the team

Ferrari (2009 - Present)

Costa - Italian

Stefano - Italian

Massa - Italian heritage

Mercedes (German team)

Schumacher - German

Rosberg - German

Nobert - German

Mclaren (Present day)

Whitmarsh - British

Hamilton - British

Jenson - British

And so this too should be a wake up call to Hamilton, a sign that he should leave the curse that's at Mclaren sooner rather than later that is, if he wants to win any more WDCs


Hahaha...well having lived in Italy for a couple of years I can't argue with firing Italians in this situation. But I don't know why you listed all the 'failures'...that is just a stretch. The problem isn't the drivers, its the car, so your listing the drivers isn't really helpful in this instance I feel. Think Massa and Alonso is still a decent pair, Massa is just looking horrible because the Ferrari is horrible at putting heat into its tires, and Alonso is significantly better thus making Massa look worse. Considering how much worse the Ferrari is compared to the Mclaren, I'm amazed that Alonso is being so positive, when Hamilton has already been complaining multiple times this season. Its an obvious reversal of what mainstream British media (in my opinion) was consistently saying for years, that Alonso is the ungrateful one. It seems to be the opposite of late.

I'm truly glad something is finally being done, though I don't believe it is enough. Surely if the level of Ferrari is the same over the next 3 races, it'd be time to make a clean sweep of the design department and put the future in hands of new blood?


If you want to achieve success, you need people who are the best in what they're doing. Their nationality is secondary. That's how I see it.


@Lilla My But what are the odds that people who are the best at what they do are all from the same country?

No, you need to look for the best people in different countries for different cultures/schools have a different way of solving F1 problems.


The odds are the same. The fact that I'm e.g. Italian, doesn't mean I studied in Italy or if I'm British or German, I could have studied in Venezuela (didn't have to do it in the UK).

I still think that if somebody is good and talented, then he's good and talented and will find a way to educate himself in his home country or abroad, wherever it's best and will find a way to the top. Thus nationality is not a big factor.


Thats a good spin on some irrelevant data...

If you used the same three positions in each team your table wouldn't look quite so nation orientated.

In fact the second best team at the moment (Mclaren) are probably the only team where almost all of the public figures (technical director, team principle, drivers etc.) are of one nationality.


@Tom-b No, No, No... I was not talking about the suits who run the corporate arm of the team, but rather, I was referring to the people who run the team hands on either in strategy or design


At the present for Ferrari you forgot to put Alonso (spanish) and Massa is brazilian..doesn't matter he was with Ferrari since 13..he's not italian.

The nationality things is plain stupid. I'm not trying to be rude, but that's how I see it.

Go and make your list again using 3 figures: 2 drivers and 1 principle. See what results you get. you have to use the same positions within the team everywhere, not only where it suits your list.



Yes, of course. If Todt was italian Ferrari wouldn't have won any championships. Don't be silly. Nationality doesn't mean anything - talent, experience and money does.


@Jaco Of course, if Todt was Italian, despite all his resources, he would have won only one WDC at best like some Italian guy did back in the 70s + Enzo in the 50s

But to win the multiple titles that Todt won - No!!!!!

Marcus in Canada

That's nuts.


I disagree.

Talent is the answer, no matter where it comes from.


@GP But what are the odds of finding the best talent from the same country. Everybody is good at something & the Italians trying to make Ferrari a family affair, is one of the things that's leading to their downfall



How can you say Ferrari is trying to make it a family affair when they just replaced an Italian by a Brit? And don't forget the other Brit, a tactician, who was hired at the same time to replace another Italian.

In the current reality of F1, I would go so far as to say that of your whole list there is only one name that really counts and would turn any of the teams mentioned into championship winners: ADRIAN NEWEY.


.Sorry but a bit wrong...


Yes and don't forget the Greeks who seem to be brilliant at aero and the Germans and all the other nationalities among F1 backroom staff


Yes, Icarus was amazing. 😉


Yikes, I had no idea the Greeks were in F1 too - Very quiet chaps, as for the Germans, am not surprised. Not only is half the grid made up of Germans, but most of the F1 components are made from Germany.

And now Germany have the most successful & youngest Champs, damn. No doubt, Germany owns Formula 1


Which is the most undesirable job in sport; technical director at Ferrari, or manager of Chelsea?


Salary is slightly better at Chelsea and you get your contract paid-up in full.

What sort of salaries are the team directors on?


Newey is rumoured to be on 10m plus


Almost as well paid as myself.


Both are a great honour while you have the job (not that I'm a Chelsea fan) and very well remunerated.


Yes, but better company car with Ferrari...or do they still get lumbered with Fiats?


Which is usually about 9 months.


Whatever it is, theres need to be something done not only with Ferrari but any team to stop Vettel/RedBull, because we dont want to bring back the Shumi era were he was like taking a walk in the park rather than fighting for the win. Here in Spain the commentators said when the Spanish GP ended and Vettel took off the helmet, at least this time he is sweating.


He certainly was, when was the last time you saw a winner pushed that hard to the finish?


Abu Dhabi until Hamilton hit traffic.

Brazil until Webber hit engine/heat problems

2010 Korea... that's it. I don't think Alonso stormed away then.

And I don't think Vettel was exactly pushed 'that hard'. At no point did Hamilton even have the chance to run side by side with him. I call 'pushed hard' as in Vettel had to take a defensive line and brake hard and try to pull away from him out of the chicane. Instead some laps Vettel had to slightly move his car and others nothing.


Singapore last year? Relentless chase between Alonso and Vettel from start to the end of the race. Brilliant race!


yey!!!! i was there 😛 ...... it was great race 🙂


I would argue it was in 06 at imola between schumi and Alonso.


It's funny how F1 has become fundamentally a British dominated sport. They seem to be the only ones capable of technological brilliance in terms of aero design & dynamics. Way better than the pro's you'd expect from Merc, Renault and Ferrari. Why is it that F1 doesn't seem to generate the interest of engineers from other countries which are just as famous car manufacturers?


I think the opposite actually I think that the British dominance is diminishing on the engineering side in particular. An F1 team is much more international in its make up than you might think


Sounds like a topic for an article...


And in driver terms even more so. Apart from the recent 08-09, there hasn't been a British WDC since Hill. And back then it was nearly Hill just before and then Mansell just before that.

Coulthard was never up to it. Button wont unless McLaren ahve a brilliant car and Hamilton can't drive all the races. So it's just Hamilton currently with a chance.

Di Resta could be great sometime.. but who knows when. There aren't any spots open with a WDC capable team currently


....spot on.........


here here, a v concise analysis of how we got to where we are today.


Correct. F1 was dominated by Brits from the late fifties through the sixties until the early seventies but isn't no more. The times they have changed.


A lot of the big innovations that have shaped the way formula one looks have come out of British teams, rear-engined cars, carbon fibre monocoques, wings and aero, the Brits have always been great inventors, which during the era in F1 late 50s through to the late 80/90's when the cars were constantly changing British teams thrived, but nowadays the rules are much stricter and perfection in engineering and design to the confines of the rules are what matters, and perfectionists the British are not, so every F1 team is an international effort nowadays and its been like that for quite a while. A lot of teams are based here because their roots go back to teams when the Brits did dominate. Another big factor I think a lot of the teams are still in Britain is the quality of British University's, which have some of the best engineering and design departments in the world with pupils from all over the world, so the teams have a great pool of talent available in Britain. Interestingly the last car to win the championship that wasn't built in the UK other than Ferrari was the 1968 French Matra, although it was run by Tyrell and driven by Sir Jackie Stewart!


While that may be true, it's always surprised me that most teams are based in the UK. Two-thirds of the current teams have their home base in the UK, plus Mercedes and Cosworth engines are manufactured in the UK.

Not to mention that many non-UK based teams from the recent past have achieved mediocre results or have been high-profile failures. Toyota being the biggest of them, but also USF1 which never got off the ground and Prost which crashed and burned.


But as Ligier they did not too bad for a team of their size and funding. Prost was pushed into it.



1. "Have to win" is not going to happen...let's face it.

2. Fry is not Brawn and not Newey. I think he is another Costa. How is he going to form a dynasty with Alonso and dominate the sport?

Desperate move that is not going to change anything....

Stephen Kellett

With Williams’ Sam Michael resigning earlier this month, Technical directors are becoming like football managers, who carry the can when the team fails to make the grade.

And that is a really bad thing. Occasional replacements can be good. Continual replacements (as with Chelsea) are ridiculous and can only lead to poorer and poorer performance as morale inevitably drops.

My sincere and profound apologies for including a football reference on your website. Just it is the perfect example of what not to do.


Surely most of them most become naturalised Brits? Would make an interesting piece to follow some backroom people between race weekends.


James, would you see Sam Michael joining Ferrari? Even before Aldo Costa's resignation, this rumour has been around in recent weeks. Now it seems even more 'tangible'? Any thoughts on this?


I mentioned the same thing to a few of my F1 buddies that Sam Michael may have been offered the position but needed to get out so he could start on development of next years car.

However, Ferrari seem to have a few gremlins in their design between computer / wind tunnel results & actual car results for a number of years which has led to Ferrari 'borrowing' other teams wind tunnels. Baldesserri was sacked for a fundamental design flaw, do we have the same here or is it the old adage of rubbish information in rubbish out?


Bsldisserri was dropped from race team (he's still at Ferrari) due to operational problems at races, nothing to do with design


thanks for clarifying that, was wondering why Ferrari would still be having the same issues after so long.


I hope for Ferrari's sake that it isn't true 😛


The fact that Ferrari and a number of other teams are being linked with Sam shows just how highly he is thought of in the pitlane. I'd like to see anyone else do much better in the current finance structure of williams.

I think the Coughlan hiring will be inspired by the way.


Bad news is that we have to wait till 2012 for a Ferrari that's capable of winning races.


That's a bold prediction. I won't be putting any money on it, based on current form.


It's a bold move, dumping key staff mid season. But then I suppose there's really no off season for F1 development. Does this mean Ferrari have given up on 2011 and are thinking about who builds next year's car?


This is crazy. McLaren started the winter massively behind. And by race 1 they were the second fastest team.

Its absolutely achieveable for a team like Ferrari to bounce back. Their issue is getting enough points to win the WDC is nigh on impossible from there.


I wouldn't say they have give-up, but I think it's more of a situation where the 2012 car needs a whole new thought process.

I do not doubt they will continue to try and make that car better, just in the least to look better.


Never underestimate Ferrari.

Never underestimate Fernando Alonso.

That is all


Never underestimate Ferrari. Or their ability to push the panic button.

Poor leadership. Again. And it stems from LDM in my view.


JUst wonder how good were the mclarens n ferraris of 07 n 08 coz rbr really seems to be from a different planet. Mcl n ferrari had good gap to the rest of the field then and usually a couple of tenths amongst themselves back then n even in 2010 but rbr was further ahead. Guess if rbr was on top of its game then, we might hv seen a similar walking in the park we're seeing now. Rbr reminds me of ferraris of 01-04 era when they looked to hv come from a different planet. We'll never know i'm afraid


"but with its lead driver already over 60 points behind"

erm... cough cough. I think you mean "but with its equal more slightly further ahead driver over 60 points behind".... Ferrari doesn't have a number 1 driver until the other driver can't win (or whatever they said last year).

By the way, just a side note on what I said before...

Is anyone else feeling a little sad at how even with 3 teams going for it, there aren't any real seats to offer. The teams seem to 'owe' it to certain drivers more and more.

RBR 'wont hold Vettel back'.. he is on a lengthy contract

Even Webber who is bashing the team/HMarko looks to be able to sign a new contract for another year some time in June/July

McLaren are offering a lengthy contract to Hamilton

Button wants Mcalren to be his last team

Ferrari have signed ALonso for many moons

Massa seems to have some secret about Ferrari or something because they aren't getting rid of him despite results. Although I want him to stay.

Even at the 2nd tier teams

Renault... Kubica is staying pretty much is the theme despite no one knowing what his injury entails

Even Petrov, a rookie with few decent results managed to get another 2 years! 2, not even 1!

Mercedes... Schumacher is slow and slow and slow and makes mistakes and would be ditched if he wasn't bringing money.. or was Schumacher.

Rosberg can't be dropped as he is smashing Schumacher who is being kept and seems to be an actual driving force of momentum there.

That's it, out of 5 teams we will be lucky to see 1 seat change hands. MAYBE 2.

James, do you know why?


I see your point but really, why would these teams want to replace most of the drivers you listed? Mclaren's team of drivers is a great fit for them, they complement each other perfectly. Should the package suddenly change their drivers have such different styles that one will find a way.

Red Bull only need Vettel, the 2nd driver's goal is to take points off everyone else. And i do think they will get a new driver if the right one comes along. Remember before Vettel Red Bull basically held on signing drivers till the end of the season when Alonso left Mclaren, they held off on everyone just waiting for the chance to sign him.

Mercedes have a great team in my opinion. They don't have a race winning car, and there isn't really a driver that could pull off a win in that...so why drop Schumacher? He is still the biggest name in F1. Rosberg is a talent and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone that is significantly better to him.

As for Renault, I was disappointed they didn't give Senna a chance, but I have a feeling they are already planning for next year, with the possibility of Kubica, and if not they will then try and sign someone special. Till then they just need a solid driver for development that they can market.

For Ferrari, they don't need anyone special because they already have the special one, they just need a consistent driver to partner him with. I'd like to see Perez in a Ferrari...


Excitment, change, difference.

People tend to find it boring if it's the same guys going at it every year. Watching Raikkonen in a McLaren with sidekick Coulthard/Montoya vs Schumacher with sidekick Barichello/Massa year after year after year repeat half a dozen times just doesn't seem interesting.

It's not as if the rest ofthe field is lacking. Di Resta, Perez, Kobayashi etc... all are showing some kind of talent. Even drivers wtihout a driver like Senna as you mentioend deserve a shot in atleast a midfield team which no one is giving because the drivers are all not moving upwards because the top teams are holding onto their drivers.

I'm just wondering why some teams would want to keep their drivers forever and a day. Button while not the fastest is a good 2nd as he doesn't cry when beaten, but keeping him for ages.. he could get off as he gets older. And RBR with Vettel. Vettel isn't the fastest guy out there. They have others coming through like Ricciardo who aer yet to be tested and look to need a place somewhere.

What's the point in having a driver development program if you never need the drivers. It would be cheaper just to sponsor certain teams rather than buying seats for drivers and sponsoring the teams.

I just wish the top teams would be the best drivers changing every few years rather than teams having a commitment to drivers whether that be contract (alonso ferrari) or 'we don't want to hold him back' (vettel RBR).

Sure most hope Kubica will be fine, but why are they planning around it. Why keep Massa? or Schumacher. How about if they are too slow let the contract expire.

I see your points and I agree with most but it just doesn't seem right for a team to want to stay with a driver despite being sought after by many talented drivers

Grayzee (Australia)

Argghhh! Why do Ferrari have to have this "we must always win or else" mantra, as if it is their god given right!. It is not, and it just shows the arrogance of them to think so. They need to acknowledge that there is more than one team on the grid! At present,3 of them are genuinely capable of winning.In any competition one has to respect the fact that you can't always stay on the top, no matter who you are or how much money you have.

( There, I feel better now....)


I think i read it in James' first book on Schumi his first test with Ferrari. The test was scheduled to start at 9 AM, and Schumacher turned up at 8:45 only to find the mechanics stretched out,unprepared and sipping on coffee! Ofcourse, everything changed after "the horsemen" took complete control at Scuderia.

In Todt, you had arguably one of the best team principal in the sport who was also politically astute. Brawn was a brilliant technical director who could come up with seemingly suicidal race strategies but knew they had a driver who could execute it and he did! In Michael they had not just a great driver but also a terrific leader. And Rory Byrne and his evolutionary approach to design,Zapski and his software skills,Martinelli and Simons on the engine side when it all came together we had the 2000s. Somehow, they managed to lose them all within years.

Alonso has leadership skills but i doubt it if he has the patience and team-player attitude of Schumacher, after all we are talking about a driver who has changed team 4 times in 5 years! The repair work should start with team principal. How about persuading Reinhold Joest to lead Scuderia in F1 ?


I think they are still feeling the effects of the change to restricted resources.

They probably had much more they had to 'lose' than everyone else. Reputedly they were spending half a billion dollars each year! Enough to have their own nuclear submarine!

Not to mention the thousands and thousands of miles run on their own track. What an advantage *that must be!


With Alonso at Ferrari it will be truly a disaster if the development is at this stage.

It's been said 60% car and 40% driver. Alonso has way passed the 40% mark IMHO.


well said 🙂


Having relinquished the Technical directorship, has Costa gone back to his original role of chief designer?


Costa hasn't left the team, but Nicholas Tombazis is still the Chief Designer. For now, at least!

Like Baldisserri, I think Costa will be moved into another important role somewhere within Ferrari. They are still talented people and Ferrari would rather use their skills elsewhere than let their rivals have them.


A little friend of mine in Italy tells me that Ferrari had all along intended to give Pat Fry the TD job but it wasn't that easy to move Costa aside without a reason.

The thought behind Pat Fry hiring is very simple.

Ferrari in recent years has always moved up people from within and since Ross Brawn era with Jean Todt, they did not have any external personell in the F1 team.

With Pat Fry they have opened up a easier chance to go and get people hired from other teams because the perception in the paddock and in the Italian press has changed, they need to hire to win and they can't win with people coming from the Ferrari structure.

It is slightly politicalbtu I think that if they had a figure of the stature of Jean Todt, they will not be such a fuss and caution.


That's a brave move in the middle of the season. But it also means - we're done chasing any titles this year, we're clearly third .. which is bad, the race is virtually over. Mclaren will remain after Red Bull, and the season starts to look very predictable - Vettel WDC, Webber and Hamilton fight for vice, Button and Alonso for fourth place.

Red Bull to be weak on high-speed tracks, but that won't be enough.


The way I see it is - if you can't achieve success for a long time, then you have to meet consequences. And Ferrari didn't have a clearly winning car for quite e few years now. So there must be "something wrong" and they need changes. On the other hand, every company needs a sense of stability to prosper, so you can't change staff too often. The problem is to find a proper balance between stability and necessary changes. If things are really wrong then big changes are crucial, but sacking people must be followed by some rational steps and actions (i.e. sacked people must be replaced by better ones), otherwise it's just a witch hunt and looking for scapegoats. So if Ferrari management does it all because they got mad and decided just to show that they are acting without a bigger plan what next, then it's totally senseless. But if they have a plan and know what they're doing, then maybe it was a right decision. It all depends on what follows such actions.


I think you summed it up. I dont think there is a bigger plan.


This is no surprise to me and it is why jean todt did such a good job at ferrari. When the newey mclarens were quicker in the late 90's did todt panic and have major re-shuffles? He waited and let his mangement team grow and when they grew what happened - a peroid of domination like no other. Similar to what happened with sir alex ferguson...........


I think changing Costa only five races into the season probably means thet Ferrari consider the F150 a dud and want to concentrate on the 2012 car with a new technical director right away therby giving him ample time to set things right....James do you think Pat fry has it in him to lead the design team and produce a top class car ?


He's very experienced and knows what it takes. Will have to be very strong. It's a lot of pressure. The Italian media is talking about a 'last chance' for Domenicali so there's a lot riding on this now. Upheaval is never good. Stability is always the key around a group which is on the same page. Alonso believes in Fry, as Schumacher did in Brawn/Byrne


I thought Ferrari was all about family and support. ie. supporting Felipe Massa's recovery after Hungary 2009, even when he wasn't performing at his best.

But what do they do with their technical staff? dispose of them when they can't produce results they need and offer the next person a higher salary?


I'd also like to add, that it seems Ferrari can't handle not winning. It seems that firing one person will just allow them to sweep all their mistakes under the rug, and start from a clean slate again.

I really empathise with Chris Dyer, I'm sure that decision on Alonso's pit stop wasn't his alone.


I can’t help thinking that part of the problem is the expectation of the press and the Ferrari fans. Every victory is a reversal of bad fortune, every second place demands a sacking.

I believe in the pursuit of excellence but I also think a sense of proportion is useful as well. Or rather, it is essential.

I don’t read Italian well, and I only speak Italian according to non-Italians, but if you go on the Italian fanzine and newspaper websites you can see what anyone who runs Ferrari is up against. They make demands, point fingers and criticise. The only matter up for dispute seems to be if death is too good for Stefano or whether it is just about right.

There is this expectation that Ferrari should win every race and if they don’t then someone has done something tremendously wrong. I can’t remember anything of a similar level against any other nationality of team. In the Todt : Brawn : Byrne : Schumacher : Bridgestone years I remember praise being heaped on McLaren for a good showing – if only for the occasional pit stop that went according to plan.

I started following F1 in 1966. The strongest team I have seen in the sport broke up, as it was bound to. It was unlikely that they could remain so far in the lead so a couple of seasons rebuilding was on the cards. That’s what they should have planned for.

There was a quote, the source eludes me, post the break-up suggesting that Ferrari were going to give preference to Italian personnel in recruitment. Everyone who heard that could have predicted just what has happened.

Mid season sackings (or is it just a sideways promotion?) are always risky. It will unsettle the team to an extent. When you want your engineers concentrating on the rather big job in hand they should not be worried about the Italian equivalent of a P45. Costa might well have supporters within the team who could feel a bit put out as well. But then perhaps Ferrari feel pressured into taking risky decisions.

Odd descriptor for Fry, Anglo Saxon. I know the surname’s derivation is AS but it is a bit of a leap of faith to suggest that is his cultural or ethnic derivation. But then it is not, I think, such a big one as Ferrari’s.


Regarding design talent, I wonder if the fact that Adrian Newey is a racer himself and drives racecars very frequently, even during the F1 season (crashes them too), gives him extra insight into what a car should feel like and what the driver needs?

Colin Chapman was a pretty fair racer too in his early days.


This is the consequences of the arising of Red Bull, the lack of in-season testing and the budget caps.

Since this 3 things came in to play ferrari started hiting problems and blaming individual members rather than the team. Last year they were in the fight because of the lack of relibility of Red Bull.

One of the things that we ear is some teams complaining that the upgrades didn´t work and one of them is Ferrari and i don´t remember Red Bull complaining about that. They were used to test it before they race them but now they can´t and it´s costing them.

They used to be on top and having a margin over the others but now they don´t have it and they are a chasing a big Bull and they are panicking.

Like many others i think this Aldo\Fry sitution is already a move for 2012.


Well atleast they cant pin all thier problems down to Kimi now and his so called "lack of communication skills". I thought Alonso was going to be the solution with his awsome technical feedback which was gonna make the Ferrari go faster. Guess not.


Well, it is a little difficult to provide feedback and develop a car based in the driver's feedback if you don't have tests, don't you think? Remember for instance Schumacher doing thousands of laps in Fiorano? Those days are gone in F1 and the really important thing is how good you are designing through simulation. Much cheaper, much more difficult


Imagine how bad it would be without Fernando's o.6sec!


actually it has been 5 years since Brawn was at Ferrari....



forgive me for an unrelated post, but one thing that has always fascinated me is the track layout at Monaco.

The one thing the track misses is a longer straight, but as you come down from loews hairpin and turn right to the tunnel, down on left (from memory as I havent been for a year or two) there is a big beachside road. Turning left then doubling back and going along the sea through the tunnel would make an awesome addition?

I think its l'avenue princess grace or something like that.

Of course they'll never change it. But when I looked there it looked like a fantastic addition.



Please have a word with bernie 😉


It looks to me that Ferrari is slipping slowly but surely into the same mess they were at the beginning of the '90s when they used to make so many changes within the team that even them didn't know who's doing what.


The key to Ferrari's success was not Todt or Brawn, it wasn't even Bridgestone it was the FIA and Ecclstone.

Remember their first team championship being won with an illegal car? I do! Had Ferrari been punished and disqualified as they should have been from that race McLaren would have been team champions and in all likelihood Todt would have been sacked and history would look very different.

Let's also recall the countless decisions that went Ferrari's way - maybe one day when certain players are deceased someone in the know will tell all!!!


bwahahahah. if this if that. and in every single race ferrari did not finish on the podium it was the fia that gave them the points while the another team actually won. 100% agree with you.


I almost spit my coffee, thanks for the joke.


I'm amazed that Domenicali has held onto his job this long. The team has been on a continuous downward slide since he took over. How has he kept his job and the confidence of Maranello?


This does strike me as a worrying return to the "bad old days" of the Scuderia, where reshuffles were rife even without necessity and one person would take the fall for the mistakes of many if they had an off year. It seems to be an undercurrent in the team and I do not know whether it's a question of politics or mentality (I would be inclined to go with the former); however, I am surprised that it is happening on di Montezemolo's watch considering he saw the devastating effect this can have first-hand in 1973. He was one of the key players along with Lauda, Regazzoni and Forghieri (as well as mechanics Cuoghi and Borsari) in consigning this mentality to the dustbin back then, so you would think he'd see the warning signs with first Dyer and now Costa taking the fall despite their reputations. I only hope it's not too late to stop another slide.


what reputation does costa have? one of not designing a championship winning car? Rory Byrne had to come back to the team for the 2007 car that kimmi won in to make that car a success.


He was Rory Byrne's assistant from 1998 until 2006, and was chief designer of all of their cars from the 248 F1 onwards (which nearly won the championship in 2006) - including the F2007 (which did). Byrne was indeed a consultant at Ferrari but he was so from 2006 onwards and was not "brought back" to design the car - indeed, he had more input on the 248 F1 than its successor if memory serves me correctly. In any event, his input into Ferrari's return to form suggests he has some talent, and certainly does not justify him taking the fall for failings in the team's aero department.


my rebut is read my post over and over till you get it. f1 technical has a list of every car and there designers. your Wikipedia info is wrong.



As this is fast becoming repetition, I will be as brief as possible. Byrne and Costa co-designed both the F2005 and 248 F1; after that Costa was sole designer. Consultant is not the same thing as designer, and Ferrari themselves list Costa as chief designer for all the cars from 2007 onwards, one of which won the championship and two of which came very close. Your initial claim that he has a reputation of "not designing a championship winning car" and that Byrne had to come back to salvage the season therefore remains wrong, as does your claim that Costa is somehow my "hero" simply because I feel he is being used as a fall guy for the mistakes of the team. My opinion quite clearly will not give anyone at Maranello sleepless nights but that does not make it invalid or wrong, nor does it remove my right to comment about such matters. If my opinion is in your view irrelevant I would question why you have devoted such energy to refuting it. My sole reason for posting was to set out my opinion that this is starting to look like a return to bad habits for the Scuderia in light of Dyer's earlier removal from the race team, and I still stand by that opinion. I therefore intend to make no further comment on this.


If you say so buddy. Aldo designed one car that won and even that is up for debate because Rory and Aldo were credited for designing the car. Aldo by the way designed the 2005 car which only won 1 race(US grand prix) and we all know why they won that one. After that Rory jointly designed the car with Aldo. 2006 they came close 2007 they won by one point and would have lost the constructors championship too if mclaren wasn't caught spying. AND then Nothing else for 5 seasons. Now you can try and twist the FACTS into a non-fact or into opinion if you want, but winning ONE championship in 7 seasons might be fine for some small team not for Ferrari. That is not good enough and clearly whoever removed him did not think so either. So like i said your opinion or fact makes no difference in the grand scheme of things. So say bye-bye to Aldo.


I feel I should point out that in resorting to ad hominem attacks you are breaching the rules of this blog. You may disagree with me about Costa's ability and that is your prerogative, but that alone does not invalidate my argument which you have failed to rebut on any substantive point.


At the end of it all you are an armchair critic and your opinion doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, not even a little bit. get over it your hero has been removed.


I do not see what more I can say other than that your "fact" is refuted by the fact he designed the F2007 in the second of his five seasons as chief designer. Your argument therefore falls at the first hurdle. He may not have managed that thereafter but the F2008 was a title contender up to the last race as was the F10, and while the F60 was a dog at first it still achieved 4th in the championship. Based on the above, I feel my claim regarding his reputation is still valid and do not feel it is worth any further comment.


[mod] Aldo had 5 seasons to build a winning car and he could not and that is no opinion its a FACT. its a FACT you cannot get away from. did he win anything after F2007? I'm pretty sure your answer will be a fact. [mod


With all due respect, you are incorrect in claiming that the car improved only after Byrne got involved - the F2007 won on its debut, and claimed 5 out of the first 9 races, so it was not a bad car by any standard. In addition Byrne was at Ferrari as a consultant from 2006 to 2009, so would not have been "brought on board" as he was already there, and seeing as the F2007 lacked his signature single-keel front suspension arrangement I feel it is fair to say it was not his design. Your other "facts", Alonso comment aside (which I agree with), are more statements of your opinion, and the remainder I feel does not warrant a response.


OK david u can have your fact of winning one championship(not withstanding the little fact that u seem to be conveniently forgetting that the car only improved after Rory got involved) out of 5. not withstanding the FACT that ferrari has had some of the best drivers in this time. not withstanding the FACT that the only reason ferrari was still in the championship last year was because of Alonso. Not with standing the FACT that the car only improved once others came in to help(there seems to be a pattern forming here). Unless of course i have been seeing the wrong team winning the championships over these few years. You seem to think winning one championship with all the resources makes you some sort of untouchable. Or maybe you are Costa's brother? Are you Costa?


I fail to see how the fact that Costa designed the championship-winning F2007 strengthens your argument that he cannot design a championship-winning car - by standard logic, it rather torpedoes it. Likewise, claiming that Byrne designed the cars when Ferrari themselves state to the contrary seems to me an unusual gambit. In any event, I am less concerned about "winning this argument" and more concerned with the facts.


Thanks 4 the detail you just strengthed my argument. But u won't be winning this (brought back) argument on a semantic error. Either way u spin it, the cars "he designed" has not won anything and let's be honest the only reason ferrari was still in it was because of Alonso. And by the way almost doesn't count for anything.


James, you said "Stability is the key in Schumacher's success, in the following video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Xz0MSgkPXg

Now, they are completely unstable. What do you make of this management approach?


I think the wind tunnel issues are what set the Scuderia back, and Costa is taking the fall for it.


according to a newspaper i read, it was that in 2010, Costa was tasked with creating an agressive car. he didnt, but Stefano let it slide for a bit, as the looked good in pre-season.

then when the car turned out to be off the pace, he he then resigned.


My source was Ferrari's press release for the F2007, not Wikipedia. I imagine Ferrari would know who designed their own car, and the fact it made no mention of Byrne is quite significant.


i would like to see that press release that has been now found by you. Because the first time we argued who designed the car your reasoning was that it lacked the single keel design there for you felt it was fair to say Rory did not design the car. I want proof not assumptions that he was the only designer because of the suspension setup, and now apparently a press release. The versions of course of the press releases I saw never said he was the only designer. It actually did not mention who designed the car. Your wording about the suspension by the way seems to be the same as Wikipedia. Which is an assumption. Like i said f1technical shows Aldo and Rory as designers. But like i said you can take your F2007 ill give you that free of charge..there's 6 other seasons where the car was not fast enough and did not win. Best drivers no wins. The car was not fast enough.

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