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’”.