Montezemolo calls for Ferrari engineers to be ‘more aggressive and extreme’
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  21 Dec 2012   |  11:02 am GMT  |  74 comments

Luca di Montezemolo has used his annual pre-Christmas dinner with journalists to outline his desire to see the team’s designers take off the shackles and be bolder with its 2013 car.

A lack of innovation in the Maranello design office has been widely perceived as the root cause of Ferrari’s failure to win a world title in the last four seasons, although a more aggressive approach  in the conception of this year’s F2012 was supposed to have been taken only for some initial design interpretations to backfire come winter testing.

But on the day Ferrari announced some changes to its working structures in a bid to improve its competitiveness from next season, di Montezemolo urged the design and technical team not to be so cautious in the pursuit of greater performance.

“Our technicians need to interpret the rules in a more aggressive and ‘extremist’ way,” he said. “Less conservative.”

While Mercedes and Lotus could point to design innovations during the course of 2012, and McLaren and Red Bull have had more than a fair share of their own over recent seasons, Montezemolo strongly hinted that he hadn’t been overly impressed by the way some of latter’s developments had been policed.

“[There were] things I didn’t like. I mean cars that weren’t as they should be, but the team was only told to change them for the next race,” he said.

However, for all of that, di Montezemolo did make clear that “there will be no revolution, we’ve just brought in a couple of good people”.

With Ferrari having shut down its problematic in-house wind tunnel until next August to make improvements, with Toyota’s Cologne facility to be used instead, team principal Stefano Domenicali also revealed further changes to Ferrari’s working practices.

Those changes are headlined by the move to split the design programmes on the naturally very different 2013 and 2014 cars, with the former’s coordination to be led by Simone Resta and latter’s by Fabio Montecchi.

“We have also adopted a better method of splitting up the work between those who run the wind tunnel and those who should concentrate more on the creative side of the job. This year, we saw that when we do too many things at the same time, maybe we are not efficient enough,” Domenicali said.

“As regards the design, we have decided, particularly in light of the unusual demands we will face in 2013, when we will have a completely new project to work on for the future, to have two coordinators: Simone Resta, an engineer who has developed his career in Maranello and is very effective, will work on the 2013 car and Fabio Montecchi, will deal with the one for the following year. Nikolas Tombazis continues as Chief Designer.”

In summing up his ambitions for next season, Montezemolo added: “The target? To ensure that at the end of the year Fernando Alonso doesn’t say ‘It was my best season’ but ‘our best season’”.

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5 steps to returning Ferrari to the top:

1: Get a Ferrari employee to print out internal design and build documentation for their 2013 car.

2: Break into a senior Red Bull members home, place documentation in secret area like ceiling.

3: Repeat step 2 for a senior McLaren member.

4: Repeat step 2 for a senior Lotus member.

5: Order investigation in September on team or teams that are ahead in drivers / constructors championship showing evidence to FIA that senior rival team members have illegal documentation. Be sure to leave powder dry if any of above teams are not doing well as this can be used for years to come.

Rinse and repeat each year.


To be honest, I think Ferrari’s biggest problem this year was that they tried to be TOO aggressive and extreme – I remember in the pre-season build-up many commentators (Gary Anderson in particular) remarked that with the pull-rod front suspension and aero package it was as if Ferrari were being radical just for the sake of being radical. That really put them on the back foot I would argue, and it’s no surprise the F2012 was subsequently off the pace being both difficult to set-up and difficult to develop. If anything, I would have advised the team to concentrate on the basics, come up with a car that does them well and then focus on how to extract as much performance as possible from it. That seems more likely to deliver results than going for another unusual design and hoping for the best.


The radical approach was brave but issues with the wind tunnel probably confused their development path. As for Gary Anderson, what did he ever win?


He designed the Stewart SF3 which took that team’s first victory, as well as designing the Jordan 191 which nearly won in its debut season, so I think he knows how to design a good car – and more to the point, what to avoid when trying to design a good car. The fact that Ferrari was so off the pace in pre-season testing and the early races would vindicate his statement, I would suggest. The wind tunnel calibration issues certainly caused problems, to be sure, but in deciding to go for pull-rod front suspension (which they were unique in doing, it should be noted) they made life unnecessarily difficult for themselves – it was a completely different suspension set-up from last year, particularly given they had not used pull-rod on the back of the car either, and the aero gains from the switch were limited. Same goes for things like the sidepod design and much of the packaging, and things did not improve much even when they started using Toyota’s wind tunnel instead so it seems like it was as much a fundamental problem with the design as much as a calibration issue. It was only lack of consistency and/or reliability from other teams which allowed them to achieve 2nd in the constructors championship, and that’s not something they can rely on happening again next year. As such, getting the basics right will put them on a better footing for the future.


…& I sincerely wish you a very Merry Christmas, Luca. 🙂 & I do mean that. May someone buy you a nice hot mug of hot chocolate or coffee & listen while you talk yourself out. 🙂


Everybody are building some hopes, referencing onto some assumptions and verbal data of some F1 key persons, but in depth of their heart and logic everyone knows the fair answer for the next year’s saga 😉

Merry Christmas to all and to all’s fans!


FA brings a lot more than just cash!


It’s interesting how Luca di Montezemolo can still preside over a racing department such as Ferrari, and pontificate as he does, when his team hasn’t won a drivers title in 5 years.

His fixation and pressure on Alonso to deliver is hardly fair, especially as the problems must surely run very deep inside the technical department at Maranello. The nonsense of wind tunnel calibration is laughable and at what stage does the ultimate senior manager take responsibility ?

How would di Montezemolo and Ferrari cope if Fernando fell in the shower and missed 5 or 6 races ? Surely their focus should be on building the very best car, which any of the top F1 drivers could win races in.

In reality the mighty Ferrari is being humiliated by a soft drinks companies marketing division, who do a better job of building a faster racing car, albeit on the edge of regulation.

Maybe Luca needs to re-appraise his own role over the last five years and take some serious responsibilities for the decisions inside Ferraris Formula team.


Well said. It’s simply absurd that Ferrari have let a drinks company beat them several years in a row. At least McLaren has occasionally had a fast car. Ferrari have been poor for the last 5 years and in my opinion deserve very little. It’s the driver that has saved them from serious embarrassment. I would love to say they might improve this year but if we were to let history be the judge…


Every year is the same speech from LDM. Ferrari always says that they will do something after the unsuccessful campaign and that the next year is going to be very different.

Wind tunnel doesn’t work, people do not seem to be riding the tide of technical innovation either.

So what should change?


Maybe a new driver, Either Hamilton or Vettel lol.


They would have been having meltdowns or temper tantrums by race 2, whereas Alonso just got on with it…


Alright have been looking at some stats and it seem Ferrari’s problems begun just about the time Mclaren joined the sport in 1966.

Before then Ferrari were winning a WDC title roughly once every 3 seasons but beginning 1965, Ferrari went through a 10 season dry spell till 1975.

Then the team won the next 3 WDC titles and this is around the time that the Williams team was born in 1977.

So with strong competition from Mclaren & Williams, Ferrari went through their worst WDC dry spell which lasted 20 years till 2000.

So British teams have been a problem for Ferrari especially Newey’s Williams cars and it’s thanks to Williams lose of form in the early 2000s that Ferrari was able to get back to winning ways because ever since Mclaren begun producing their road cars in the early 1990s, their cars got slower, and thus much easier to beat as resources got stretched.


Oh by the way, wishing everybody a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Ho Ho Ho…


You forgot Brabham which was an Australian team (based in the UK)

Merry Christmas goferet


Aggressive… that’s exactly what they tried this season and look how it turned out, I think LDM is running out of things to say to motivate them.


Wind tunnel let them down last year..


That final quote is vintage Montezemolo.


I don’t know because from where am sitted, it seems like Ferrari are going through one of those dry spells.

Surely it’s no coincidence that Kimi (Ferrari’s last recent champion) was born the same year and I think the same month that Jody won his title back in 1979, incidentally that was the same year Ferrari last saw a title in a couple of decades.

Also if you take into account the fact Italian team principals do not do well with the team, this all adds up to a pretty gloomy future.

So in my view, Ferrari need a new design team plus Vettel in their car inorder to achieve success because with Alonso already in the top 5 drivers of all time in terms of wins, the trophies are coming to start rolling in pretty slowly.


Somewhere a kingdom is mourning the loss of its jester…


@ hero_was_senna

Hahaha maybe


Does anybody have a short list of engineers who have the ability to be the next Byrne/Newey”s of F1?


See my post in this regard under comment 10. Rules are so restricted now, it will be more difficult to spot the rising stars cause they have such little room to innovate.


BBC also did an article about the recent things LDM said. And I must say, he has a very good point. this is what he said:

Di Montezemolo said he disapproved of the tendency for new races to be held at circuits in the middle of nowhere with no atmosphere, adding that he was sorry to see the lack of engine manufacturers, and complained about the ageing audience and the lack of opportunity to develop technology relevant for road cars.

“If I could have tomorrow, Porsche engines, Honda, Audi that would be good. But if you cannot develop your engines it is not possible. It is one of the main problems that we face,” he said.

“We have 100 people working only in the wind tunnel. Why? It is a joke. We don’t do any mechanical research. We don’t test any more.

“We are not in a position to give young drivers opportunity in a competitive way. We are not in a position to organise events for sponsors.”

I can’t fault this. How are 100 people and lots of millions spent on wind tunnels relevant to our road cars?

The money should be spent in technology trying to perfect the parts and engines that we also have in our road cars.

Will love to hear some opinions from the readers here.


You are completely spot on. I can’t understand why F1 journalists don’t bring this point up more. James? I don’t know if it’s a thing where no one wants to make an issue of it cos it would turn F1 on its head? Anyway, it used to be that F1 was about pushing the limits, it still is, but now it’s with aerodynamics? It has no significant relevance to the car companies which make up the majority of F1s history. Quite disappointing, it seems like a waste of good people, good time and good money. Couldn’t rules be changed so teams are forced to go back to mechanical aspects and lower the importance of aerodynamics to a degree?


I think F1 doesn’t really need to fully translate it’s tech into road cars (and I don’t think they ever will). Like anything else, the change in technology in both road cars and F1 undergo constant adaptation to keep up with the change in laws/rules, manufacturing/engineering/design processes.

For example we have road cars that have areas designed to absorb energy during a crash whilst keeping the passenger cell safe and there is similar design in F1 cars. I think there is more cross over from F1 to road cars than we know and to be honest by the time we see any tech / design in road cars they would have gone through so many changes / improvements to pass the nuemerous tests / laws it will be unrecognizeable compared to what we see in F1….that said…the whole flappy-paddle gear box and dials on the steering wheel seem to have crossed over ok lol


There is a lot of money spent on F1 r&d… surely it would make sense for at least some of that to benefit anything away from the racetrack?


forgot to add…Ferrari are planning a limited run replacement to the Enzo… read somewhere it will be called F150(keep thinking of Ford’s Lighning pick-up). Will be intersting to see what new stuff Ferrari put into this.


It won’t be called that, rest assured. They already backed down last year with naming their car the F150. Ford sued, they changed names.


I agree with those comments, although I am not sure can ever fully translate F1 tech to road cars, the requirements are just too different, but I’m not engineer.

I think the freeze on innovation in the name of cost savings under the current rule structure hurts the sport and keeps the manufacturers out. The FIA car rules are so tight that it is very nearly a spec series now, little room for engineers/designers to play. When the clever guys come up with something at the edge of the rules, it usually gets banned rather than applauded. My two cents.


I’ve been thinking this for a long time but couldn’t say it as well. I agree 100%


Can’t agree more.


Well, if they can’t figure out the aero, then might I suggest instead of a V8 an R8 (R for Reindeer) under the hood. Works for the Big Guy in the red suit.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all!



Easier to say than do!! When your already behind Red Bull and Mclaren, what do you do to get ahead of them when the rule changes next year are minimal (Agreed Alonso can make some difference)? Both Mclaren and Red Bull are developing their 13 cars off a more solid base, which suggest a better understanding to. Some other teams to may be developing from what are fundamentally better cars!!

Personally I think over agression in design was what got them into this mess, good job Sauber developed a good car (OK – being a little bit naughty)


does that mean “pull-rod” or “push-rod” this year?


agree with most of the above relating to Ferrari, especially what “franed” said. I too remember the same thing this time last year.

They need a resturcture over there because although their engineers and designers are good something needs to change if Ferrari is to provide Alonso with a cup winning car.

As for the preference of Vettel over Hamilton…surprise surprise even if he preferred the queen of sheeba to Hamilton there’s no chance he will get either as long as they keep building dog-ear cars…you think Vettel will go to Ferrari i n their current state, let alone Hamilton lol


Hamilton went to Mercedes…. need I say any more?


There is a difference. If you jump to Ferrari, you’re expected to be at the front immediately, and to win. Even moreso when they direct the majority of their efforts behind one driver. But their development has not allowed that.

Mercedes are not expected to be at the front winning. Any winning they do is all a bonus.


Re the move to will be interesting how the pairing of Brawn (he who over saw the Schumacher years) and Hamilton will turn out against Ferrari. I only hope Niki Lauda doesn’t get too involved and let Brawn/ Hamilton do their stuff.

Also even if Ferrari didn’t have any issues I don’t see Hamilton ever sitting in one of their F1 cars…not that he doesn’t want to….more a case of clash of personalities…both Ferrari (the organisation and all it’s following) and Hamilton are very passionate but he won’t fit in… And on the face of it seeing how Ferrari build thier teams up, he will be like a square peg in a round hole so to speak.


I hope Ferrari really do go agressive, build a really fast car, only to find it breaks down every race- now that would be hilarious. Monte is a clown and should go & join the circus – or politics- oh that’s right ! They are much the same thing.

Lotus to win in 2013 with Mercedes a close 2nd – could not give a hoot what happens to Mclaren or Red Bull ( please no more 1 finger man in 2013)..

Merry Christmas fellow posters and Mr Postman !


I am pretty sure that we heard exactly the same calls for more aggressive design this time last year. Then the first few races were spent back-pedalling and taking off all the aggressive bits that did not work. Different designers is what is needed.


While I mean no disrespect to Tombazi, that might not be such a bad idea. 🙂


Not only last year but in 2010 as well! It may be that Alonso’s overperformances are contraproductive in the sense that they falsely confirm Montezemolo’s conservative approach as for the car rather than a revolutionary one.


To sum up then:-

We must adopt Red Bull’s innovation-focussed strategy.

(I assumed all premier teams would be doing that by default?)

We don’t have the expertise to develop an effective wind tunnel.

(Then your expertise to develop an effective car is questionable)


Depends on how you define innovative.

Ferrari have employed many relatively unique designs over just the past few years. They just aren’t remembered in the same way as Red Bull’s, for the simple reason that Red Bull has had more success with their innovations.


and more controversy.


Didn’t he also mention something about preferring Vettel over Hamilton, should the opportunity arise.

Happy Christmas!


Actually he said that he prefers Alonso over Vettel – what a surprise! – and that he wants to keep Alonso as long as possible. He also said that if Alonso should (want to) leave at some point in time, only then he would pursue Vettel (rather than Hamilton, who he named as the third exceptional driver in present F1.)

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all of JAonF1 readers – Vettel fans included 😉 – provided the Mayas don’t prevent it!


I think FA will try his luck with Mclaren in 2017 or maybe earlier. Now that LH is gone, its there for the taking!


Is he bringing $40 million with him? That’s the only way he’d ever drive with McLaren again.


I don’t think anyone would deny alonso really does deserve to have more than 2 world titles by now. Come on Ferrari give this man a car atleast as good as the best and let’s see what happens.


He had the best car in 2005 and 2006, more than happens for most other drivers. Hamilton and Button both have only had the best car for one of their seasons.


Best car in 2005 and 2006? In 2005 McLaren was way faster than Renault in most races, their only problem was reliability. In 2006 Renault had the best car for most races in the first half of the season, but after the (extremely questionable) prohibition of the mass dampers (which were considered legal by Charlie Whiting, the stewards who scrutineered Renault’s car and the FIA itself, but then they strangely changed their mind *in the middle* of the season), Ferrari became so superior to Renault in the second half of the season (Massa was easily outqualifying Fisichella and Alonso often, two drivers who completely trounced him in equal machinery) that the advantage easily compensates for the first season half. Fact is Alonso never put a foot wrong that season, while Schumacher, who more often than not had an excellent car, made many errors throughout the season. When we look at the current list of all-time race winners in F1 history, we see names that had, at least for one season (sometimes more) a dominant car – one of those where a 1-2 is the expected outcome in virtually all races unless something really wrong happens with one of the cars. Schumacher had that in 2002 and 2004, Senna and Prost had that in 88 and 89 (but being in a team without a clear 1-2 philosophy, they robbed victories form each other), Mansell had that in 92. The only driver in the top 5 who never had such luxury is Alonso, and he has just one less point than Mansell (who by the way also had excellent, if not the best cars in 86, 87 and 91). That should say a lot about his quality as a driver.


“Their only problem was reliability …”

Ok well then, seeing as McLaren’s ONLY problem in 2005 was the most fundamental one (i.e. not being able to finish races to score points), I take it all back.

Here’s a simple and easy test … if YOU were a driver in year ‘XX, which car would you have wanted to be in? The answer is simple for both 2005 and 2006, as well as 2009, 2010, 2011, etc.


Lucas, there’s no point having a quick car if it doesn’t get to the flag. Just ask Sir Stirling Moss, among others. In that respect, the 2005 Renault was the best car to have in that it was both quick and actually reached the chequered flag more often than not. The mass damper system, meanwhile, was only investigated from the French GP onwards (race 11) and was only formally banned for the last 5 races of the season so it’s fair to say Alonso had the best car for the majority of the season. No one is questioning his ability (not as far as I can see, anyway), but he is no miracle worker. His success has, by and large, come in cars and in circumstances which permit him to achieve it, and that applies to any driver on the grid including the Sennas and Hamiltons of this world. On the Mansell points comparison, the points system has changed somewhat since Mansell’s day so I’m not sure a straight comparison is advisable.


Don’t forget fastest car in 2012, not the best due to reliability


…and as I’m counting 2007 as the year in which Hamilton had the best car, then add that year for Alonso too. As I recall, he’s even said the MP4-22 was the best car he’s ever driven in F1.


I seem to recall him stating the F10 was the best car he has ever driven when he first tested it too.

Only the F150 has been a bad Ferrari during his time there. The F2012 and especially the F10 were very strong cars.


In 2012 FA earned the title that McLaren gifted him in 2005. 2 titles sounds about right to me…


Ferrari brought Alonso to the team to develop the car but it only gets worse for each year, at least according to Alonso.

Unfortunately Alonso has failed miserably.

Every other interview in 2012 he complains about car development.It is time to pick up those magic 6 tenths he supposedly brought to the McLaren car 2007.


“Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has shed a little more light on the decision to drop Kimi Raikkonen and hire Fernando Alonso, saying that Alonso is a better development driver”

“Jean Todt in 2006 and when explaining his reasons for taking Raikkonen, Todt said that Raikkonen did not speak too much, which he saw as a strength. He focussed on driving the car.”


Good point! +1

Erik is simply pointing out that Raikkonen got the job done. i.e. Getting the driver’s champion.

Alonso who can really talk, make excuses and be political. But has not gotten the job done after 3 years. Say all you want about the car not having speed. Remember, Alonso was brought in to develop the car. Raikkonen kicked out because he supposedly can’t do that.

You can talk all you want but action and results is more important.


@Lucas regarding Schumacher, in fact he did so much with so little in 97. Just saying


Kimi is a great driver, one of my favorites in the current grid, but this comment does not make much sense. One thing is to “get the job done” in a 2007 Ferrari. A very different one is “get the job done” in the cars he’s been driving since 2010 (in fact, Ferrari isn’t building great cars since 2009). Kimi also didn’t “get the job done” this year – because he couldn’t do much more with a Lotus. But the real question should be – which drivers would be able to finish this season three points behind the WDC in the F2012? Not even Schumacher in his prime could do so much with so little.


…This is really ridiculous. I’m no Alonso fan but he can’t be expected to do everything on his own can he? How many cars has Seb Vettel developed… or Schumi for that matter!


The fact is drivers have very little to do with the development and design of a car. This has been said in McLaren interviews I remember seeing. The driver can give feedback on how it feels for them, which can help set up choices, but at the end of the day, the design philosophy of the car is down to the engineers and their use of modelling tools and scientific principles. It is the likes of Adrian Newey who decides and nuances of the aerodynamics of the car for example, not the drivers.

Having said that the original comment above is just silly talk from someone trying to belittle driver they don’t like!


he is always a 6 tenths driver. check out the races/quails where massa was at his best to know the diff


According to you is Alonso’s fault the lack of creativity and faulty wind tuneel too?, comments like yours should not be allowed here because you have a clear agenda and the facts mean nothing to you.


I don’t understand your point. How is it Alonso’s fault? If he’s actively complaining that the team is, for all intents and purposes, letting him down, then why is it his failure?

If you compare Alonso’s time at Renault with his time at Ferrari I don’t think it’s too hard to believe that the failure is probably more the fault of Ferrari than Alonso.

Or you could just look to the team principles and Montezemolo himself who all agree that Alonso personally did a fantastic season, which leaves only the car/team to blame.

As a Ferrari fan, I have the feeling that the team really dropped the ball when the regulations changed a few years back. They’ve been steadily improving ever since, and were MASSIVELY set back by Massa’s famous accident. But they seem to have been building up some momentum and may finally break through in 2013 or 2014.

The other factor to consider is that Red Bull are “in their prime” and are very stiff competition for the rest of the field.

Realistically, Ferrari have never fully recovered from the loss of the key to their success in the early 2000s with Schumacher…the brute force method of unlimited testing. The elimination of that crucial differentiator transformed the competition from strength to finesse.


The main issue surrounding Ferrari not winning is because they have a hell of a competitor in Vettel/RedBull

Kudos to Vettel, his cold head prevailed in the most critical times of 2012… And he won!


Let’s not forget they also lost Rory Byrne.


@ Rockie

What is your malfunction?

Alonso has what is acknowledged by most observers as a near perfect season, is rated driver of the season in 3 separate votes in a week, above the youngest ever triple world champion (Fans’ Vote, James Allen top 5 and most importantly the team principals) and you claim ‘he hasn’t delivered simples’.

I am surprised that anyone could write something so stupid.


Of course it’s not all Alonso’s fault, and while he has driven very well do you not recall the (in)famous remarks made about his supposed superior abilities to help teams develop a car? Looked at from this perspective he HAS failed since he has apparently NOT brought any development advantages to Ferrari.


The actually read the comment well before you replied?

You talk about his stint at renault am sure its just the first one you talking about!

At the second stint he didnt do anything there as the dream team had left.

Also I agree with Erik thats why they hired him and hes failed to deliver simples.


I get Erik’s point. He doesn’t like Alonso.

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