Ferrari’s troubles continue as team fires blanks in Austin shootout
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  03 Nov 2014   |  6:26 pm GMT  |  233 comments

Ferrari’s 2014 season woes continued in Austin with Kimi Raikkonen finishing 13th and a lap down on winner Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso struggling to make any progress from his sixth-place starting position, finishing 95 seconds behind the race winner.

Raikkonen’s race was hurt by the need to stop three times, with the Finn complaining of unmanageable understeer which led to heavy front tyre degradation. To make matters worse, the Finn afterwards told reporters that the neither he nor the team have been able to pinpoint the cause of the persistent issue.

“Here was again one of the most difficult weekends,” he said after his worst finish of the season so far. “Japan was similar – we fight with understeer the whole weekend and whatever we do we can’t seem to get rid of it. Then you can expect in the race to destroy the front tyres.

“To try to drive slowly in certain places didn’t make any difference so I don’t understand it really,” he added. “Wherever we finished it’s pretty disappointing. Not being able to solve certain issues is frustrating. Hopefully something comes up and we find what the issues are.

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 17.21.16

“I appreciate some help and obviously we try to help each other to fix these issues, but if we knew the issue it would be easier to solve.”

The frustrated Finn concluded: “Obviously I hate the situation the way it is and the way things are going, and I cannot solve it by myself.”
The numbers don’t look good for Raikkonen: he has just 47 points, an average of just 2.7 per race and is 102 points behind Alonso, a far greater deficit relatively speaking than Felipe Massa had to the Spaniard.

Alonso, meanwhile, continued to spare his team’s blushes, racing to sixth place at the flag from the same place on the grid, but the time gap not only to Mercedes, but 70 seconds to the leading Williams was a source of great dismay.

The Spaniard was caught cold by a great overtaking move from Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo early in the race following a safety car period but thereafter consolidated his position and banked another eight points to bring his season total to 149. That puts him on the same points as fellow struggler Sebastian Vettel, though behind the German in sixth in the driver’s standings by virtue of previous results.

Yesterday, Alonso complained of severe vibration from his final set of tyres in the closing stages of the race as he held of a challenge from hard-charging Vettel to finish just half a second clear of the Red Bull man.

“I had huge vibrations on the tyres for the last two laps,” said Alonso. “I could not even see the track, basically. I tried to control the pace. I was asking for the gap from behind to cross the line just in front of them.

“But then Vettel overtook [Kevin] Magnussen and there was no time to save any more so on the last lap I was flat out with huge vibrations.”

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 17.24.54

The result was solid but hardly inspiring from a Ferrari point of view and the Spaniard admitted that he had finished where expected.

“It was a race as we expected; not easy, not competitive as we were not competitive over the rest of the weekend. We did a good start, but after that we could not follow the first five cars and they disappeared very quickly.

“We just tried to control the people at the back, they were doing some different strategies after stopping on lap one when the safety car came out. We just need to control the pace a little bit and then secure this sixth place that was important.”

And his assessment of his team’s chances in the remaining two round was similarly bleak.

“We were struggling over the weekend but we were also doing that in Russia and a little bit in Japan as well. We just need to keep scoring points because the constructors’ championship is still there and we have some fights.

“We thought we had lost too much with Williams and we will be in the middle of nowhere for the remaining races, but now McLaren seems to pick up the pace so we cannot afford to not score points.”

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1

Kimi has not forgotten how to drive. Haters will always hate. I have always tried to show some respect to Alonso and yet see posers over here bend my words to support the all mighty Alonso. Everybody knows in Ferrari why Kimi is having his problems. They very well know it can’t be taken care of until next year. Why is Alonso leaving now? To win a world championship? You really think he’s gonna win with McLaren? I am gonna say the truth as it really is. James Allison came out with a news report saying why not? Next year, we’re ready to build 2 different cars for our 2 different drivers. Ever since that news report came out, we got reports of Alonso’s fallout. The truth is simple. He is greater than any team he races for and would not have it any other way. That’s now changed and he’s running away. McLaren are bound to realise they are inviting the disruptor back into the team and they will end up sacking him for Hamilton. Wait and see.

2

@ Sujith

Mclaren will sack Alonso in favor of Lewis? in which wonderland could you please enlight

At this moment Mclaren need Alonso more than Alonso need Mclaren recently in many interviews dennis has stated that he has moved on from 2007 long time ago. If anything dennis did even state Alonso was not even the trigger in the spy-gate saga and he was only a part player. beyond this Dennis is clearly aware of the qualities Alonso possess as a racer and does not want to the miss the chance to sign Alonso.

Besides that lewis is in no hurry to return to Mclaren. Hamilton clearly knows which side of the bread has been buttered well. Mercedes will be dominant in 2015 as well and if hamilton wins the WDC as per the current script (He will win). The lewis will stay put with Mercedes for another two seasons at least. Once lewis wins this season. He can easily have the fastest car once again for 2015 and he will also have the luxury of a sub-dued team-mate as well. There is no way lewis will join Mclaren back for 2015 or 2016.

Aside all this i do not see any respect in your post towards Alonso. You seem to suggest that kimi will still win against Alonso and because of that alonso is running away now (pathetic and anti-alonso statement in itself). After having tore kimi apart this season. Does Alonso hold any fear against such a poor pilot for 2015? NO. Ferrari can build two or three or even 4 cars as well however they do not know how to build a fast package. As LDM pointed out Alonso cannot wait anymore for the pathetic Ferrari team to come up with faster package. Yet if honda can come up with something special for next season. Then Alonso will find himself in the right place at right time to win the WDC. A risky gamble still a gamble which is well worthy

What we will witness next season – Sebastian vettel will tore kimi apart next season and vettel will end kimi’s F1 career or Ferrari will sack kimi right at the end of 2015. Second time of the asking

3

+1. Very interesting point of view.

I have to admit that Alonso is very good driver, but have he good Sportsman(?) – I don’t know. Same people say that it is not important. For me is great Sportsman who is honest, fair, respectful and of course get good results.

4

What – and Raikonen just needs more time to adapt, even after 17 races! I mean, there is adapting quickly and there is………

Brad

5

I remember Alonso said several times :he can adapt his style to new cars significantly/quickly

6

James

Mattiaci has already “confirmed” Kimi and Fernando before summer break. And then…

I think he definetly found someting about Alonso. What’s your thoughts on this?

Do you think whether his relationship with Mattiaci(Ferrari) has broken significantly or not?

(Hope James will see this 🙂

7

Whatever the team or the car, Alonso gets it in it and usually nails his team mate. Never been a fan of his character, but you have to admit the guy does know how to get the best out of what he has. Who else could make Minardi look like they served any purpose on the grid?

8

Alonso didn’t nail Hamilton, though.

9

True. Lewis is probably the only team mate he didn’t get the better of.

10

The difficulties for Kimi….

Could it be due to the Ferrari pullrod front suspension?

James, what do you think?

11

No, the Kimi fans have it right – Alonso is not only responsible for the design of the car, but has managed to sabotage the front suspension/aero package to compromise front-end grip in a way that even the engineers can’t diagnose. He is not a better driver than Kimi – although he is an evil genius!

While I am wholeheartedly prepared to accept that analysis, I have one question for the Kimi fans: do they believe that the analyses purportedly showing Alonso’s different driving style to be a reflection of how he has adapted to the way the car handles now that he has sabotaged it, or that he sabotage it to make it conform to his inferior approach to driving a car?

Brad

12

Hahahah amazing coment. Thanks, you nailed it.

13

Kimi, Seb, Ricc, etc…

the fact is everyone is compared to Alonso.

This is self speaking, largely enough for Alonso I think.

Just let’s do a mental exercise:

what if we could have given plus 50bhp to everyone of them?

Probably the major part of the trending hypothesis would vanish…

And so would do several other teams.

For this, during a starting period at least, unfreeze may be a general need.

The same need that limited aerodynamic developments or electronic controls during several cycles.

The teams must be equalized regularly to preserve the value of the Pilot, the essence of racing.

14

I cant believe a scenario where alonso visits the design department and sees the new car and says ” whats that at the front ? And they say”thats a push rod” alonso says WHAAAAAT? No no no get it changed !” Really ?

15

Only way Ferrari will win next year, is if they buy a customer car from Mercedes! Seriously, they sold us talk about their wind tunnel not being calibrated. Then their engine, like some competitors like Renault haven’t quite understood the rules the way Mercedes have done. In the past they brought many innovations, some deemed illegal even but innovations all the same. I haven’t seen one such innovation and they don’t seem to be ‘borrowing’ such innovation from leading teams. The management talks constantly about taking risks. I’d like to know what risks they are talking about because there is no evidence on track. Then to add salt to the wound, they are pocketing more revenue than the other teams, some of whom are running in front of them! From a management point of view, Ferrari is now run like the Italian government. I am a die hard Ferrari supporter so it pains me to say these things. However, you have be realistic. I hope I am dead wrong or Vettel will find out that “red cars don’t go faster!”.

16

“Hopefully something comes up and we find what the issues are.” – I’m afraid if you constantly have an issue that nobody else including you can figure out….It is more often than not YOU!

Take yourself out of Ferrari and issue will be solved…

Sorry, I supported Kimi since he started in F1, but after watching this season I realised there is no way you can so consistently under perform and be out performed by huge margins by your team mate and still convince me it is the car…

Apart from Spa and to a lesser extend Monaco he has done nothing….Next year I can see the gap between Kimi and Vettel being much smaller…Then he will say the car is better, and some people will think he is on form again….

They will be evenly matched…But what would Ferrari really know about their car’s performance…

If it was only Kimi in the team, they would have had a disastrous year, if Red Bull only had Vettel in the team they would have had a disastrous year…Thankfully because of Daniel and Fernando we now know how crap they both really are and that the car whilst not the best, was far from the worst….

Now those two will combine….Poor Ferrari….

17

There is No way on earth you could support Kimi since he started in F1 – with comments like that . You mentioned Monaco, Spa. But you neglected Barcelona, Hungary. You also forgot the countless car problems both Seb and Kimi experienced at the start of the year which made them miss half their track time.

Real fans dont ignore these things and real fans have the sense to understand what problems Ferrari have built around Alonso and are now trying to fix it. It wont happen overnight and it wont happen whilst hes still controlling the team– Only when hes gone – thank Goodness!

18

How crap both are? People like you are pathetic kicking people when there down. Where where you the lasp couple of years then?. Is hamilton also crap becuase in 2011 he wasnt very good aint it. I remember in 2004 trulli had the measures on nando wich made uncle flavio,wich must be a coincidence as he is alosno’s manager, step in and all of a sudden trulli couldnt touch poor nando. Are you talking about the same Fernando who acused his Renault team to sabotage him? The same Fernando who blackmailed Mclaren to get preferential treatment? The same Fernado who won in singapore 08 and ofcourse didnt know anything? Because when you start at the back you fuel the car light ofcourse without asking questions… that Fernando? The same fernando who got outqualifyed in the last couple of races in 2012 by massa and needed massa as a roadblock in brazil 2012? and still couldn’t win.. that Fernando?

19

So you are one of those people who turn their coat depending on the where the wind is blowing? You have drivers that have proven their self through the years and when difficulties hit the you are tuoting for who ever comes out on top. Sure sure, what ever you say. Ricciardo is so good. And Alonso, well hes a god.

Hah! Gues you just started watching this year.

20

I am not sure whether it is Alonso who decided to leave, or Ferrari who realised that the whole project with Alonso failed. Read comment no. 50. It is not so difficult to understand the points difference and why Ferrari despite the lack of speed on Kimi’s part show a lot of understanding for his situation. I suspect that Ferrari realised that the car they have built around Alonso failed and they decided to abandon the whole Alonso project. Where is Alonso going anyway and why is he keeping it secret?

21

Amazingly Accurate

22

Very well put.

23

I was not at all surprised by Ferraris pace at Austin given the variety of high speed,

Wide and tight radius turns. The flat non compliant pullrod front suspension subjected constant load all this conspired to constantly damaging the tyre particularly the unloaded front left..

Comparisons between both Ferrarindrivers here are rather mute given before the impact they were not far apart – as they started. Its all well good for geniuses here to say the impact did nothing to the no7 car other than damaging the rear left – yet this in itself destroyed the tyre and forced an early stop. Also till now we have Ferrari saying they have no knowledge why the car was so terrible on its tyres- NOTE FOR ALL- Raikkonen is probably the best tyre manager in F1..- Yet despite slowing considerably to preserve them the 2nd stint still kept scrubbing them & forcing wear..

Might I suggest there was some minor damage done to the rear suspension/ aero as a result of the impact that has yet not been detected that did upset te already poor balance!. Further if you stop 4 laps earlier than planned the whole strategy on the tyres is/was compromised.

I cant wait for this season to end so I dont have to read the comments posted by people to what has been a topsy turvey season with these new regulations.. All of a sudden A 4 time WC cant drive and possible one of the fastest drivers simce the turn of this century cant drive!!.. Its beyond absurd.. I just cant wait to see them in the same team & pushing it forward rather than balwards likenit has been going for 5 years.

24

Hi James. Please discard the previous text. I corrected the second paragraph from the bottom.

Thanks!

==============================================

There has been plenty of discussion on Alonso – Raikkonen performance. One needs to know the difference in driving styles in order to understand why Alonso is doing so much better than Raikkonen. Only then you will see that those who say that Alonso is the best and Raikkonen should quit F1, actually understand very little about F1.

Alonso’s driving style is well described here: http://abulafiaf1.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/driving-styles-part-a-an-introduction-and-fernando-alonso/. As you can see Alonso turns the car early into the corner, lets it slide and still hits the apex as he predicts how much the car will slide in that corner. The balance of the car should be on the back giving excellent grip and very little sliding on the back which is essential for such driving style. However, the grip on the front is not so good as he needs the front to slide through corners.

Raikkonen’s driving style on the other hand is the complete opposite http://peterwindsor.com/2012/03/23/notes-on-kimis-driving-2012/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmEoJCKhsqo. He likes the front end to be very precise and responsive, which requires a lot of grip on the front, which is opposite to Alonso’s requirements. However, he doesn’t mind if the back of the car slides a bit, which again is opposite to what Alonso requires.

Ferrari has been adapting the car to Alonso’s style for a number of years now. This includes both, the aerodynamics and the suspension of the car. Where did that get them? They ended up with a car which only Alonso can drive, just. Neither Massa nor Raikkonen could/can drive the car. It was important for Ferrari to bring Raikkonen to the team to check whether it was just Massa or it is really a car which is very difficult to drive. It is not just about the engine. In Monte Carlo the car did not perform so well even though the engine is not so important there. Interestingly, on this particular track where the maximum downforce is implemented on the car, Raikkonen was running in third place before he was hit by Chilton. This just shows that when the car has got more grip Raikkonen is not slower than Alonso.

What is the consequence of all this? Apparently Alonso is leaving Ferrari. We will never know for sure, but I guess that Alonso project is over and he felt that there is no sufficient support for him left there. It was a failed experiment.

This doesn’t mean that Alonso is not a great driver. However, this means that the reality can be a bit more complicated than it looks at first sight. The points difference between Alonso and Raikkonen does not, in my opinion, show the full story.

25

And one more thing, Kimi was more than 6 tenths slower than Alonso in qualifying at Monaco… He was ahead of Alonso in the race just by chance, as Alonso was blocked at the start. So please get your facts right.

26

Ahh and I forgot. Alonso is the best dealing with oversteer, and these are De la Rosa’s words. The thing is that he also is the best dealing with understeer. It is almost unbelievable, but as a driver his is almost perfect. And these are Massa’s words.

Alonso’s only weakness is that he uses a lot the tires when at full one lap pace. In Singapore and USA he had to compromise a bit the first two sectors on his quali lap. But it has happened more times, and in 2007 he had serious problems with the soft tires in qualifying.

27

Yago,

I agree with you 100% as will most non-biased, knowledgeable race fans (and current and former champions).

28

Yes very nice…

1) Alonso drove like that in the Renault days because the car required it.

2) Alonso has never underperformed in any car, and he has driven for three teams. His most difficult tie was at McLaren due to the change to bridgestone tires, and he was more or lees on par with Hamilton.

2) 2010: the input of Alonso into the building of that car was zero, yet he destroyed Massa.

3) Late 2012 early 2013: those were Massa’s best performances against Alonso. The evolution of the front end of the car went in a direction more favorable to Massa and less so to Alonso.

Corollary: Alonso adapts to whatever car is thrown at him. The rest not so much. You are overestimating driver input in the design of a car, like a lot of people do. If Alonso had jumped into Ferrari this year he would have destroyed Kimi anyways.

29

A fair point. Massa did say that Alonso brings the whole team to himself. That implies the design philosophy also. So Kimi just joined a team that was Alonso’s already to begin with.

31

John

Alonso was hopping mad when Luca hired Kimi.

I’m pretty sure that when he tried to placate Alonso and calm him down, Luca explained the very same argument that you put so well here.

Luca probably ended his conversation like this:

– Relax, Samurai. I’m telling you … Kimi will be out of the points all year. If he scores a single point, then my name is Ron Dennis ….

32

Very interesting analysis. Thanks for sharing. Definitely makes sense about the reason for hiring Kimi. What are your thoughts on how Kimi will measure up against Seb next year?

33

With Ferrari in trouble (seemingly) and the talk of Alonso walking away, JAMES- if you were in charge of Ferrari, would you be doing what Ferrari are doing right now, ie., letting the spaniard leave and hiring vettel while retaining Kimi?

34

I would never want to lose Alonso, but if he wants to go…

35

James,

Mattiaci has already “confirmed” Kimi and Fernando before summer break. And then…I think he definetly found someting about Alonso. What’s your thoughts on this? It is more likely that Ferrari will be faster than McLaren in 2015. Does he really want to leave?

36

I second that James. The guy has been a contender whenever he has had a car capable of winning the championship and even at times when he didn’t he did come close that one time he didn’t have a competitive Ferrari(that year that Grosjean took him out at Spa) the guy never gave up

37

James, please, an analysis from your good self of Ferrari’s problems in relation to Kimi is awaited. Can you please shed light on how one of the best has had an entire season wiped off in this unbelievable way?

Could you do a technical spot on this pull-rod business?

difficult to gather much info on that, esp for those of us who are not NASA level physicists.

38

Its the characteristics that Fernando helped to develop that are the problem so no wonder hes more able to drive “around” them! He likes to push the car with with understeer and the make it turn agressivly when the front bites. Really impressive but all so quite extravagant style. So different from Kimis. As it was said on the moments that Kimis getting the front to work he is as quick or quicker than Alonso. I still believe;)

39

James,

Why there is too much fuss about car is not to the liking of kimi? Being a 1X WDC kimi should have adapted better and at least should have scored more points instead he managed to do. 2014 was all about new regulations and all the pilots in the GRID surely need to adapt themselves more or less to certain extent. Few fared better and few others were dismal. I do recall one of the article which appeared here on JAF1 in the pre-season where massa tipped alonso to get the better of kimi easily and it seems like massa was spot on with his assessment.

All this tiresome excuses about kimi through out the season makes people sick here. How long these exuses can be considered even after 17 races we still hear the same excuses incessantly from kimi fans and himself just to overshadow the terrible performances of kimi.

Alonso’s Aristocracy level is totally different and he is a legend in the making indeed

40

When kimi was rallying did they remodel the chassis of a production car for him?

41

F1 is not rally though is it..

42

This year Ferrari seems way worse than the one driven by Berger and Alesi.

For Alonso I wish better decisions for the team. He still has several years to win that 3rd title.

43

I’m bit sick to hear about Fernando outperforming Kimi based on skills; it’s a basic fact that Ferrari developed this car, for about 2 years, around Fernando ( same as the first Mercedes around JB when Michael Schumacher struggled to get the grip on it ), it will be really disappointing if Fernando wouldn’t outperformed his teammate in this conditions.

It is a oversimplification stating the greatness of Fernando over Kimi based on this year car; it is a shame too that we will not be able to compare them with a car that was developed ( or mended ) having in mind both driving styles ( hopefully James Allyson come up with a solid platform ).

Is clear to me that the skills that Fernando have as a driver are not comparable to the skills he have developing a winning car from an average package.

Hopefully, next year, F1 will reward us, the fans, with a fair and engaging season.

44

ferrari will probably be better next year. the team has stated that it has identified where the car is lacking. james allison is no fool. the restriction on engine development won’t allow ferrari to solve the engine issues in one go.

45

If Ferrari had developed a car Kimi likes, I think he would have given Alonso a far better run for his money. Not saying he would have beaten him but it would have been better. You don’t become bad overnight. It would not surprise me if Kimi beat Vettel next season but then everyone has turned on him now since Dan is showing him the way.

It may well be that Alonso the guy dragging the results out of the Ferrari simply pushes the team in the wrong direction with car development. He says he brought 6/10 to McLaren but back then with testing, things were easier.

Kimi reminds me of Button, Vettel and Massa really. Give them a car that suits them and they will be rapidly fast. Some just need that sweet spot a little more than others. Lewis needs mental babysitting in the car but seems to drag results out of every car he has ever driven. With that said, he has never driven a car worse than the third or fourth best on the grid in any season during his F1 career. So he’s always had more downforce than at least 60% of the grid.

I am not surprised to see Dan doing the job this year. This Red Bull probably has almost as downforce as his Toro Rosso. I may be wrong but give it a Merc engine and I bet the chassis would be looking mighty fine right about now.

46

Mental babysitting?

That’s a new one

47

He reminds me of a child falling over in a playground. The kid goes over to the mum, she says aww I kiss it better and the tears then turn into a fearless child maniac climbing the highest slide in the park. Lewis just needs to be told “yeah it’s fine” every few minutes and he forgets the problem with the car is there. I remember being the mental age of 3 once too when I’d hurt myself given my enthusiasm for climbing things, touching things, trying to eat anything I could pick up, etc and when I got hurt, my mum would kiss my hand and it went away. Lewis is still there. Obviously they can’t kiss his hand at 200mph literally but the radio does the job for him.

I’d love to be his radio engineer. Just randomly I’d blurt out OH MY GOD and you’d hear from him “what, what, how, what is wrong guys, help my car is on fire, the wheels fell off” and then I would say oh nothing just no one put sugar in my tea all is well Lewis. And then he’d go purple, lap the entire field and buy an even bigger gold dog leash than the one he was sporting at the weekend.

48
Adrian Newey Jnr

Its been clear from the start of the season that the current car is off the pace and that the engine isn’t in the same class. So Ferrari appear to have made the sensible decision to put their resources into next year’s car. Remember 2015 will be James Allison’s first clean sheet Ferrari.

This is the same strategy that Mercedes put to good use over the Schumi/Rosberg years where the press and supporters were hammering them. Then look what happened. Yes there are differences between 2014 and 2015 rules. However, the principle is the same.

Vettel could be a surprise next year if James Allison can come up with a more competitive aero package. With no Newey in the field, he has the pedigree to be the best designer. Assuming the engine performance narrows, they will likely be more competitive.

49

James, I heard that Christian Horner said that Mercedes are accepting the engine unfreeze!

And news about that! Does it make Mercedes more faster than rest of them?

50

Turkeys do not vote for Christmas

51

Thanksgiving..

52

Domenicali is totally responsible for this piece of crap they call a car.Pat Fry said the same thing last year,that they need to work on all phases of this piece of garbage.Domenicali and Di Montezemolo for them to agree to these stupid changes to the cars and rules.Mr Ferrari is doing a slow burn in his grave,to see this car (shit of a car)

53

Ferrari have always shot themselves in the foot. Everybody is saying that Fernando is outperforming the car, and his domination of Kimi should make them ensure that Fernando stays. The Italian Ferrari way though is “Fernando is making Ferrari look bad by driving so much better than our last champion in the same car, so let’s get rid of him”, even though this will result in worse results. The whole “Ferrari is bigger than the driver” is more important in the Italian mentality than results. This is the same reason that they fired Alain Prost, (with the whole “red truck” thing a pretext).

54

I just think the chemistry isn’t there anymore, FA is tired of going nowhere and is leaving Ferrari.

55

Yeah let all get excited about Alonso finishing 6th-NOT

56

@Albert- yeah that too.. No big deal

57

Or somebody third last !

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