Ferrari preparing to switch focus to 2014 at end of September
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  30 Aug 2013   |  3:18 pm GMT  |  134 comments

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali says the team are planning to switch all their efforts to the 2014 car at the end of September.

Teams face a big decision as to when to stop developing this year’s car to allow them to divert more resources to next year when the regulations change dramatically with the introduction of new 1.6 litre V6 turbo engines.

Ferrari are third in the constructors’ championship, 94 points behind Red Bull with eight races remaining. In the drivers’ standings, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso is second, 46 points adrift of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, with team-mate Felipe Massa seventh, 130 behind.

The Italian team have decided to keeping pushing until the end of September, which will be after the Italian and Singapore Grands Prix, and then decide whether to continue pushing in pursuit of Vettel and Red Bull or completely switch their attentions to 2014 to ensure they don’t lose ground from the start of the season.

Domenicali told www.f1.com: “September is the month where we will basically start to shift, as the 2014 project is very complex. At the end of September we will then basically switch everyone, depending, of course, on how the situation is with the championship.

“All the top teams realise that if they want to be a force in 2014, then they have to start very quickly to switch resources, as it is a very complex matter – especially for the big teams. My guess is that we might see huge surprises next season in terms of the pecking order.

“In my view – and as far as I remember – the changes that we are facing are the biggest changes we have ever had in Formula 1. It is really important to get it right, otherwise you’re lost.”

XPB.cc

Domenicali also said that he would like to retain Massa, whose contract expires at the end of the season, for 2014 – however, he says the Brazilian, who has driven for Ferrari since 2006, must start to deliver results immediately.

Massa’s future at the team was the subject of speculation at this time last year but a strong run of results saved his seat. The Brazilian continued that form into the early part of this year but following two crashes at the same corner in Monaco in May, his form has dropped off and he is now 84 points behind team-mate Alonso.

He has scored just two podiums since the start of last year and is without a win since 2008, the year where he challenged for the world title before missing out by a point to Lewis Hamilton.

Last time out at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, Massa’s fastest lap was eight tenths slower than team-mate Alonso’s best. While the Spaniard finished second, Massa crossed the line seventh, 26 seconds behind his team-mate.

Domenicali said: “We have to wait and see. My favourite choice would be, of course, to keep Felipe because Felipe is a very good guy – very dedicated to the team – and when you look around there are not so many drivers out there that you swap and they immediately deliver.

“But, of course, we need good results from Felipe, so that’s why we will not rush as we have to make the right decision for the team. As soon as we have made up our minds we will announce it officially to silence the rumours once and for all. When we are ready.”

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1

To be clear, by “it’s a fairly straightforward statement”, I mean for the pronoun “it” to refer to the statement “The meaning of life is moving”.

2

Can’t blame Ferrari for throwing in the towel. They had clearly the best car up until Monaco yet Vettel pulled away from then.

Vettel’s only had the best car in Bahrain, Montreal and Spa yet is nearly two races clear of second place. Shows the incredible speed and consistency of Vettel. Must be discouraging for Ferrari to give Alonso a fast, bulletproof car and see Vettel build a championship lead like this with a car advantage at only 3 races.

3

I don’t know whether to describe it as a ‘haunted look’, but if you have video or a clip of the end Brazil 2012, the look the still-helmeted Alonso has while looking at Vettel dancing or standing on his car after parking it, that look has stayed with me from the moment it happened to now.

I don’t feel Ferarri have the same Fernando this year that they had the previous 3 or 4 years. Something broke. Something that I figured he would need a year to get over.

4

Alonso buys cycling team.

Planing for life after F1 or wanting access to best performance enhancers out there? Hmmmm..

5

why are people suggesting that hulkenberg would be a good replacement? he appears to be a very ordinary driver and if it hadn’t been a fluke pole position in brazil for williams he wouldn’t be on the radar.

6

If Bianchi is so good, just put him in the car and let him get on with it. Personally, I don’t know what the fuss about him is – there’s nothing to suggest he is superior to drivers like Hulk, Di Resta, Bottas, Ricciardo, Sutil.

Massa needs to be shown the door though, that much is clear. I think the point has been made above, but I’ll repeat it, it’s true there is no guarantee that any of the drivers mentioned will be better than Massa, but it’s hard to see how they could be worse.

7

those drivers you mention dont exite me at all, if bianchi is their acadamy driver , put him in the car ! or get anyone from gp2 or what ever , massa is past it i’m afraid,

8

We are talking about Massa exit but is Alonso on his way out? Something interesting is happening out there …

9

Unfortunately I think it’s time for Massa to leave Ferrari. He’s been a great servant of the scuderia but he’s been more than amply repaid by the team’s loyalty to him. He’s too inconsistent – except in the wet when he’s always been poor – and should regularly be one or, at most, two positions behind Alonso. Coming up with a replacement is more difficult but Bianchi would seem to be favourite – after all, what’s the point of having a drivers’ academy if you don’t promote people from there to the team?

10

Ferrari will get Kimi back. The idea of becoming Santander’s marketing department has been a 4 year failure. If Ferrari had had Kimi in 2010 and 2012 they wold have won the championships and everything would be completely different. That is what I must believe is the perspective from within Ferrari. Massa is too slow, Alonso shunts too much and chokes too much under end-of-season pressure. Alonso’s a great driver, but he leaves too many points on the table due to these flaws relative to Kimi.

11

I am a Kimi fan. But how do you explain 2008 when Massa beat Kimi? Today it’s unthinkable that Alonso could ever be beaten by Massa over a season.

I too feel Kimi had awful luck that year – Hamilton crashing into him at the end of the pitlane in Canada, numerous car failures etc.

What’s your view as to why Kimi finished behind Massa that year?

12

Here take a look;

http://f1bias.com/2012/04/05/truth-about-kimi-ferrari-santander-2008/

This is how Kimi was beaten by Massa and Ferrari both!

13

I am not Michael but I am going to answer 😉

It has nothing to do with luck. Massa was faster than Kimi that year, plain simple. Why? Because Massa is a very fast driver, and when he has a very good car under him, he is difficult to beat as he is a very good qualifier. You have to add to this that Kimi struggled with the direction Ferrari was developing the car. He is a driver that when the car is to his liking is very fast, but his sweet spot is quite small.

Even being a bit slower than Massa, if Kimi had in 2008 the consistency he is having this year, he would have had a chance of being world champion for second time in a row, as Massa’s consistency has never been good. The thing is he was inconsistent, and only Kimi knows the reasons. But consistency at ferrari is hard to reach, due to the super high levels of pressure, even more if you are not happy with the behavior of the car.

14

Maybe the fault for where Ferrari is in the pecking order lies not with Massa but with Domenicali for not making the right choices at critical times.

Are Ferrari backing the best designers/ engineers to give them total ownership of the development?

They certainly have one of the very best drivers available in Alonso.

15

The thing that irritates me about Massa is he has the personality of an old boot. Ferrari is about speed, passion and excitement – or at least that is what they trade on, and which has nothing in common with Massa.

Kimi is similarly devoid of personality but he manages to use it in a way that makes him topical and controversial plus he is consistently quick so everyone wants him and will happily put up with his mono-tone delivery and FU attitude for the results he brings.

Ferrari needs the champion driver (which they have) and a crazy young gun who wins, or crashes, gets into pit lane fights and bares his arse at reporters. Other massive corporate run teams could not put up with this behavior but Ferrari is different so some passion here could be displayed and even welcomed. Look at the stupid stunt LDM did with the knives – what a pointless histrionic thing to do as a manager… but if a driver were to carry on like that the press couldn’t get enough of it. That would suit their image so much better than want they have now which more than hints that Ferrari just is a slow, lumbering multinational company devoid of imagination or drive.

Plus having a clearly slow number 2 driver undermines Alonso’s credibility as there is always the question of how quick he actually is in comparison and I think he is feeling the pressure from this right now from management and fans.

16

For sure it all starts in Sep. Because Ellison starts from Sep:) His task will be to build a winning car for 2014.

17

James what is your view on the Kimi to Ferrari rumours?

Seems like it would be win win for everyone at first glance but more complex on second viewing. At first glance Ferrari get a second top class driver who is a points machine meaning they can challenge for the constructors championship. Kimi slips into a Top 4 team with all their resources and money at his beck and call. At the moment Kimi reminds me of Senna when he drove for Lotus fighting the big boys in a smaller team.

Yet feels almost too dangerous to hire Kimi. While it reminds Alonso that there are other fast drivers on the grid and could force him more in line. (Ferrari boss did say recently no driver is bigger than Ferrari. Alonso must have been a little annoyed with that considering he has been carrying that team and their second best cars on his back for the last 4 years.) Also Ferrari know that Kimi could lose interest if not properly handled as he did in 2009.

It is an interesting story which seems to be getting bigger and bigger. Love to hear your comments on it?

18
The Spanish Inquisitor

An elegant way of saying “The season is over”

19

Unfortunately F1 is not a place for nice guys. Ferrari need 2 drivers who can consistently score points and Massa can no longer do that. Kimi would be 1st choice but I think Hulkenberg will be given the seat. I don’t see Di Resta getting a top drive as he’s too quick to criticise everyone but himself which won’t sit well with the top teams

20

I’ve never considered this before, but maybe Massa’s seat is actually being saved by Ferrari’s 2009 experience after Massa’s accident. Remember how slow Badoer was in comparison to Raikkonen? Replacing him with Fisichella wasn’t much better, yet both drivers were highly experienced. It could be this that prevents the team from just tossing Massa aside and putting some new blood into the seat.

This might also be why Raikkonen is possibly in the picture again – they know he knows how to drive a Ferrari and his new found consistency is highly appealing surely.

21

Great point.

I’ve always rated Fisichella – but I was shocked how badly he struggled with the Ferrari. He was way out of the Top 12 in an era when there were only 2 or 3 teams with race winning cars.

22

is the ferrari so much more difficult to drive? is seems so , badoer a long established ferrari testdriver was nowhere, fisi coming from a guaranteed win (only for the lack of kers )in a force india went to the back of the grid and, before , mika salo wasnt great either . On the other hand , alonso won his first race for ferrari . .

23

Driving for Ferrari used to be a privilege but Massa’s continued presence is making it look like a right.

Domenicali’s somewhat odd show of support, just the weird timing of it, sounds like a half cooked comment some anonymous team outsider would say. Sadly, it just adds to the idea that Ferrari have somewhat lost their way.

I really hope they’re not thinking of retaining Massa because he’s a nice guy but sadly that’s just what it sounds like to me.

24

Time for massa to move along I’m afraid, button to the red car I think he and alonso would work well together they have very similar driving styles. Kimi back to mclaren? And the hulk to lotus? Works for me!

25

Its time for Massa to go. Ferrari don’t care about the constructor champ or they’d push harder to finish second, and have dumped Massa already. I think Hulkenberg is a good fit because he has shown pace in several teams. I believe the Ferrari is a very hard car to drive possibly harder than merc and the red bull which is why Ferrari are nervous. But it’s time. Massa is a millionaire several times over. He should have no complaints.

26

There is something in your comment. The Ferrari is an extremley difficult car to drive. Since Germany (3 gps) we have seen a spin from Massa at Germany, a spin from Alonso at Spa’s qualifying and then in the race Alonso almost spun after outbraking Hamilton while defending, right after passing him. Not to mention Massa’s accidents at Monaco’s and Canada’s qualifyings, and an spin from Alonso at Canada’s qualifying too.

Alonso is a driver who almost never blocks the front tires under braking. This year he is blocking more than once in almost every single race. I think Ferrari did concentrate too much in total downforce levels instead of bringing updates to better the overal handling of the car. Now they have said that they are switching the focus towards the later.

27

Meanwhile, the one area where Ferrari are still top of the pops is via reliability.

Get this, in Alonso’s Ferrari career to date, he has had only one mechanical DNF since Malaysia 2010 incidentally which was his second race for the team.

And again, this must be down to the Ferrari consultant Byrne for this used to be his main strength during the Schumi era.

P.s.

Meanwhile, isn’t Alonso long overdue another mechanical DNF???

Me thinks we should get ready for one anytime soon.

28

I know you are not really wishing Alonso to have some bad luck in the coming races but I was watching some programs on Sky F1 and almost everyone wants Vettel to have a few DNFs. Journalists, F1 past and current drivers, everyone.

It is rather sad. Teams should try to improve their cars and drivers should improve their driving as well as physical and mental skills instead of trying to play mind games when it comes to delivering results on track.

Only in F1 they are expecting the person who is doing the best job to have bad luck. Very sad.

29

James, don’t know why they are keeping Massa still, but is it something to do with keeping Alonso in “check”.

i.e Massa competed for WDC in 2008 (when they backed him over Kimi).

Any new driver in that Ferrari will take some time to start delivering and Alonso for sure outscore him easily. Seeing this who Knows Alonso starts getting a little more demanding and tries to run this team his way (read power struggle)Ferrari could switch allegiances to Massa to tackle Alonso!

P.S. I’m just speculating because I can’t really find any other reason as to why they want to keep Massa 🙂

30
Jacob la fripouille

I’m so sick of Ferrari!! as a long term fan of the red team i’m starting to wonder what has happened to them.

Why keep Massa if he can not deliver good results? they will never win another Constructors championship if only 1 driver scores points.

And they are always complaining about their wind tunnel, their updates never work, without Alonso they would be a joke!

Ok i’m done.

31

Where speed & aggression are the names of the game, I wonder why Ferrari is choosing to be conservative here. No offense to Massa. But given Ferrari’s legacy and their quest to be the #1 in this sport, they should have replaced Massa by now.

James, do you think the dearth of talent pipe line in F1 the cause of Ferrari not able to find a suitable guy sooner? Could the emergence of paid drivers have inhibited the real talent from taking stage and showcasing their talent ?

32

Possibly. There is some talent coming through from other areas of F1, but Ferrari only has Bianchi anywhere near ready to go

33

James, Massa took three podiums since the start of last year. Suzuka 2012 (2nd), Brazil 2012 (3rd), and Spain 2013 (3rd). You stated he has only achieved two. Still, that is not enough for a Ferrari driver. P.S. Keep up the good work.

34

Of all the top teams red bull is the ona that can switch to 2014 the fastest. I think that last 5-6 races will be really boring….not because there will be no racing, but because there will be no fight for the title.

I woul love to see Kimi in a Ferrari again…..

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