Reflections on F1 2016 – Ferrari fall short of expectations, major upheaval at base
Ferrari F1 Australia 2016
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Dec 2016   |  9:08 am GMT  |  208 comments

Ferrari will be one of the teams that cannot wait to see the back of 2016. It was a poor season for the sport’s longest running team.

Chairman Sergio Marchionne sent them on their way with messages like, “I expect us to win”, a line which he threw into the mix just before the Spanish Grand Prix.

At that stage, Ferrari had scored just 76 points from the first four races, compared to Mercedes’ 157, and had achieved a best finish of second for Kimi Raikkonen in Bahrain and Sebastian Vettel in China.


Ferrari had been in a position to win the season opening race in Australia but made the wrong call on tyres during the red flag period caused by Fernando Alonso’s enormous crash with Esteban Gutierrez.

Ironically, Spain did offer the Scuderia its best chance of a win, thanks to the two Mercedes drivers taking each other out on the opening lap. Only Red Bull stood in its way, but they got the upper hand thanks to a better job in qualifying by their two drivers.

The Ferrari was the faster car on race day, but Ferrari didn’t put enough pressure on Red Bull strategically, especially when Red Bull unexpectedly switched Ricciardo onto a three stop strategy, when he had been pacing himself for a two-stop.

Ferrari lacked confidence; especially with Marchionne dropping in on race day, after they had underperformed in qualifying. The team needed to respond to the pressure from the Chairman by being bold, but they looked more like they wanted to avoid taking a risk that might backfire in front of the boss.

James Allison

And so the season began to unravel. Disagreements behind the scenes between Marchionne and the technical director James Allison led to the Englishman’s departure, replaced by Mattia Binotto, who had been head of engines. Marchionne spoke of reshaping Ferrari around Italian engineers, moving away from a reliance on foreign ‘mercenaries’.

The impact of Allison’s departure was huge and although the team coped admirably in continuing to develop the car, inevitably it fell behind a fast improving Red Bull and further adrift of Mercedes. Much of the failure to achieve results in 2016 was pinned on the operational and strategy side of the team and it is true that they had a number of ‘off days’. It was a tough year for Inaki Rueda, (above right) the strategist and a close ally of Allison’s from their Lotus days.

But the fact was that the car just wasn’t fast enough. Ferrari’s abject qualifying record speaks for itself; the team has scored only one pole position in the last four years and failed to qualify on the front row of the grid for any of the 21 Grands Prix this season.

You cannot hope to win anything in F1 if the fundamental pillar of competitiveness in qualifying is not there.

The SF16-H chassis was a good step forward from the 2015 model, with many aerodynamic upgrades, including a short nose to improve airflow under the car to the floor, where so much of the downforce of an F1 car is generated. But the car’s weakness was that it operated in too narrow a window of temperature.

To get the tyres working perfectly was a struggle if the track temperature was too hot or too cold and that pretty much defined their season.

Sebastian Vettel

More worrying was the decline of Vettel, who began the year with a string of podiums, but then after the European Grand Prix in June, scored only one further podium in 12 races and began to look as though he was reliving Fernando Alonso’s nightmare.

However Vettel ended the season with a strong podium in Abu Dhabi. He will be a free agent at the end of 2017 and with Nico Rosberg’s shock decision to depart Mercedes and Fernando Alonso’s contract up in December at McLaren, Vettel could be a key player in the driver market next summer, if he decides to abandon the Ferrari project.

He makes the right noises about the future, but one wonders whether he able to move on after he was slapped down by team principal Maurizio Arrivabene in Suzuka for trying to lead the team outside the cockpit, or has that made up his mind to change horses?

If there was a positive it was that Kimi Raikkonen rediscovered his touch, after a couple of seasons of anonymity, which led most observers to question why he was being retained.

Kimi Raikkonen

The switch from pullrod to pushrod front suspension gave Raikkonen the feel for the front end of the car that is indispensable to his cornering style and he thrived; outqualifying Sebastian Vettel 11-10 across the season, including the last four races, which no-one would have predicted at the start of the season.

Next year, with the significant change of regulations, offers Ferrari hope that it can challenge for wins and the title. But the opposition is very strong, especially from Mercedes and Red Bull and one suspects that Ferrari may be looking over their shoulder at McLaren Honda, rather than ahead at the benchmark teams.

But let’s hope not. A strong Ferrari is very important to F1.

What are your thoughts on Ferrari’s season? Leave your comments in the section below

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From the outside, Ferrari look like a team that is falling apart, and that is a far worse position that at any time during even the latter stages of Alonso's period with them. Their problem at that point was a disgruntled lead driver. Whereas it appears to be a lot more serious now. We are heading into a period of radically revise due rules, with opportunities to progress up the grid that haven't existed for some time. Yet who would seriously bet on Ferrari coming out on top? More likely they'all slip behind McLaren-Honda before long IMO.


Ferrari have the same problem they have had in every era except the Todt, Brawn and Schumachers era. The Boss is too busy sharpening his axe to swing at whoever he perceives to be 'failing' at a moment's notice to make a real plan. Ferrari is the only team in Motor Racing that would fire the designer of a car that lost the championship by 4 points, an approach that has been of huge benefit to Mercedes.


I wonder if some of the "issues" arise from the fact that you have a bunch of business men running the corporation and the racing program.

When did that happen before ? I think Mr. Ferrari would sack the whole lot of them if he came back.

Ferrari were never known back in the day for overspending and throwing money at the program. Mr. Ferrari was basically cheap, frugal but he knew how to put people together that could win, and that included drivers like Mr. Lauda and Mr. Villeneuve.

I am afraid Ferrari needs better leadership and some racers before its going to win anything.


Aldo costa! If only he is still working for the team.


Not much has gone right for Ferrari in the past few years. Their only major success has been to produce a competitive hybrid engine. So is the chassis that is letting the team down?


It would be interesting to know how much input Allison has had on next year's concept. No offence to Binotto, but an engine man in charge of aero is doomed to fail, as we have seen in 2007 with Honda's Nakamoto-san.

The politics are ruining Ferrari unfortunately, and it's hard to see them coming up with a car that's going to beat Merc and RBR. That said we are yet to see Merc show their true colours in a proper competitive situation, so let's see.

2016 felt like 1992 as far as Ferrari is concerned. Let's hoping it's not going to take another 7 or 8 seasons to win another title!


With all due respect, I think you misunderstand the role of the Technical Director. Binotto is not "in charge of aero" as you suggest. He is managing the resources, not the drawing board...

That's not to say it isn't an enormous challenge, and only time will tell if he is the right guy.


Maurizio Arrivabene isn't cut out to lead the hopes and aspirations of Italy, which again proves that a man with a beard doesn't achieve success..........

Put it like this: I can't imagine Sebastian Vettel giving Ross the Boss a load of expletives - unless he wanted a shiner or two! Point is, there doesn't seem to be any admiration and respect between driver and manager, unlike Ross and Schumi which was a friendship first and a business relationship second. Capital can buy a lot of things, but the one thing it can't buy is trust, respect and friendship between two men.

Italian motor sport is analogous to the Italian economy itself - it's is all or nothing.............


@Gaz Boy - Ross Brawn was definitely respected because of his technical know how and his calm, controlled leadership but why do you feel the need to paint him like some feared heavyweight all the time???. He's a 60 odd yo tech guru not a *^#>%*! UFC champion..& your constant attack on beards is getting loathsome & pointless -it really is..


@ Elie...i tend to agree with you re Brawn. Yes, he's a talented chap but so are many others and this constant "bigging up' of him, especially the repetitive nominative 'ross the boss' is simply both tiresome and childish.


It seems very clear that those at the top in Ferrari, business folks, know how to sell, yet don't have the one major factor that has given world championships in the past - PASSION!


Gaz, Italian motor-sports one of the few beacons of success in the Italian economy. You probably have no way of knowing it, but I can assure you that there are many specialist firms in the Modena - Bologna areas that are supplying components and engineering services to teams outside of Italy, from F1 down to Karting....


I bet if you bothered to acquaint yourself with some knowledge you will find out what men with beards have achieved


Both of you may talk about different type of beards. Point is Gaz Boy is quite knowledgeable in fact, boring sometimes with too many details.


Well said gaz. My thoughts aswell👍
But I'm getting a little concerned over your infatuation with the humble beard😄 Have you thought about talking to someone about this😂🍻


I couldn't help but to chuckle when you said men with beards don't achieve success, and then go on to talk about how successful Ross Brawn was, who sported a beard for most of his career in F1!


michaelangelo and rodin, two 'uber' achievers, both sported voluminous beards.....


i never thought so much Ross Brawn was "sporting" a beard. More like, he forgot to shave! cheers!


Ok, I have to ask, seeing as none of the more prolific commentators on this site have-to my knowledge- brought up the issue. What the freaking heck is going on with you and the beards? I get your free-market, reaganomics, anglo-Saxon, Protestant, grandstand stuff, although I hardly find it palatable, but each to their own. But the beards?! I mean, it's been your motto for the greater part of a year already, and I just don't get it. Care to elaborate?


Usually people who have a 'thing' about beards are only capable of producing a rudimentary patch of pre pubescent fluff!!!


haha well said!


Interesting observation. . . Hmmmmm, but, just maybe the third party who is the "Chairman" isn't the leader he would like to think he is, either ? If memory serves, an ". . .off with their heads. . ." strategy didn't work well in the fairy tale, either. Trust might just be the operative concept here, eh?


Ross Brawn had a beard and has proven to be the most successful technical director in the history of the sport. Take a close look at what you're shovelling.


I think the Ferrari was good enough that had it been run by Red Bull or Mercedes it could have gotten a couple of wins at the very least. It definitely was the second best car IMO and Vettel underperformed and Kimi was meh....


Funny how quickly people forget or intentionally overlook. Vettel was not stellar for sure, but so many races were 'stollen' due to various circumstances that his enthusiasm was 'curved' to the minimum.


Kimi actually did very well. He was sharp for the most part and dragged the car to where it should finish likely.

Second half of season certainly not the best car.


Ferrari management are horrendous.
The car was good but the strategy employed on race days was dire.
Then you had the moaning German loosing the plot. Marchionne disliking Arrivabene who didn't get on with Allison and the circle of anxiety stress just went around and around.
It's going to be a similar thing in 2017.


Ferrari had the second best car? What season of F1 did you watch?

Vettel underperformed? He was the least overtaken driver of all....he was overtaken fewer times than either Nico or Lewis. Also, don't forget Bahrain, China, and Russia, Vettel had his race severly compromised by factors beyond his control.


@Twitch_6 Ferrari started the year with the 2nd best car and ended with the 3rd best car after Spain. Seb generally qualified 3-6 and it was very close between Ferrari and RBR all year and whoever qualified ahead generally stayed there. Seb generally qualified 3-6 and the next best cars were the Force Indias which were 1/2 sec + slower so exactly who did you think was going to pass him??... Especially given he was favoured strategically over his team mate who had the better of him most of the year anyway.Vettel caused 2 major pile ups - China & Spa & was rightly asked to be a little calmer after both. He had some great races too like Abu Dahbi but he generally drove like a desperado because he was being shown up.


@ Twitch....I'm afraid that arrivabene does not come across as being particularly savvy. Yes, he's been around the paddock a few times but to me he always appears to be evasive and gives the impression that he's not quite on top of things. Mix that with his faux expressions of 'passion' always there whenever a camera is pointing at him and you may get my drift. Maybe it's an italian thing with being interpreted by english speaking people...i don't really know but i can't warm to him at all. As for marchionne...well the less said the better.His predictions were a real giggle and he just looked stupid for making them. F1 does not usually reflect in a postitive manner to wishful thinking!


Overtaking statistics are very misleading. If Vettel qualified poorly behind the Redbulls, who else was realistically going to overtake Vettel in a Ferrari.....unlike Mercedes drivers who are in a position to lose places.


If you look at the race history graph of most races on our Strategy Report you can see the gulf in pace between top 3 teams and the rest

Tornillo Amarillo

Ferrari is top 3, they cannot fall further down, they can just improve.
But they just have to take some corrective decisions.
Marchiones has to take a lateral step, in "other business" and no to show up or talk negatively.
Vettel could stay or go to Mercedes. Mercedes can negotiate a good-but-not-to-much salary for 2018.
Bottas can replace Kimi in 2018, weird eh? Finn by Finn, you know...
If I were Ferrari, I will take good decisions, like get the best driver -HAMILTON- just offering an amount he cannot refuse.
After all, in those circumstances even me could be a Ferrari fan!


Hmm, well Vettel thinks Ferrari was the 2nd best car:

I'm not saying I agree with that, and who knows if Vettel really believes that, or is just saying it as some sort of pick-me-up for the team?

Ferrari certainly should have done better with that car than they did in the end. Their strategy this year was really, really bad. They should have won in Australia, and had a good shout in Canada. In Austria they blew it by allowing Rosberg and both Red Bulls to jump them in the first pit stop cycle, and then keeping Vettel out too long, to the point of tire failure.

RBR beat Ferrari by 70 pts in the final reckoning ... without the DNS in BHN, or the driver mistakes in MCO, BEL, MAL & BRA, and then better strategy, it would've been very close indeed with RBR.

I would say RBR was the 2nd best car, but it wasn't clearly the 2nd best car. They just edged it on Ferrari, with better strategy, and a better driver pairing.


After Spain the Red Bull was better. Vettel was just singing the party tune most of the time. He took Raikkonen out in China & Spa. The driver mistakes were mostly him. Kim's aqua plane event in Brazil was probably his only major one -though understandable. Ferrari cost both their drivers significantly through strategy.


May be he was overtaken least because started further back then he should?

Vettel lost motivation and underperformed, that much is clear and opined by most insiders too.


Ferrari - the definition of poor management. Comments about foreign mercenaries simply make them look pathetic - wasn't it a german/ english combo that won them 6 WCCs and 5 WDCs in a row? When did they last have an Italian driver who won a WDC? 1953! Not likely to change any time soon with the culture they currently have.


If they relied on pure Italian, maybe they'd have a chance with gondola racing.


"When did they last have an Italian driver who won a WDC? 1953".

There is no chance of it happening anytime soon as there is not even an Italian driver on the F1 grid and there hasn't been one for years (2011) and there will not be another one for many years to come (if ever).

Ferrari have never done anything to help young Italian drivers progress to the highest level of motorsport, unlike what McLaren and Williams have done over several decades with British drivers. They have only recently signed Antonio Giovinazzi as their 3rd driver to take some heat off themselves (after another dreadful season) from the Italian media. I bet Giovinazzi will never get to race a Ferrari in a F1 Grand Prix, or any other F1 car for that matter.


After BREXIT and Trump, this is the third in the holy trinity of nationalism on the rise in 2016.
None of them will end well.


It's not nationalism, it's actually pragmatism. Some cultures just cannot co-exist peacefully with one another, as sadly 2016 has proved. That's true for racing as it is with politics. Italians are very proud of their Roman ancestors, which is fair enough as the Eternal City republic did achieve some great things.

There is a lot of talent and expertise in Italian engineering, it's just a question of finding a wise, respected leader who can harness and guide that talent. The University of Bolonga churns out hundreds of youngsters with mechanical engineering degrees, it's just a case of the Italian racing industry picking their brightest and best.


I can't disagree more. Pragmatism! Honestly what are we doing here? Commenting or ping pong?


GazBoy, I'd say the situation has a whiff of pragmatism but REEKS of nationalism.
As for the culture clash you mention, I think the Schumi era proves coexistence is possible, even in Italy.
In the world at large cultures commonly coexist. Ideology is usually the spark that ignites conflict.

Having said all that... I fully concur that Bologna University should be the first stop for Ferrari's employment needs. But never at the exclusion of others who may be better suited to the situation but deemed unworthy because of nationality.


Wasn't it French/English?
Talking about Todt/Brawn aren't we?



What kind of programs is Ferrari running in Itali to help cultivate a generation of young, aspiring F1 engineers and personal?

If Ferrari is the heart of Italian motorsports - the way for example one could say McLaren is the heart of British motorsport - what is Ferrari doing to help promote young Italian drivers to the forefront, like McLaren has done with Hamilton, Vandoorne, or Norris.

Like, maybe I'm still half asleep and need another coffee...but since Fisichella, I can't think of an Italian driver who has done anything significant in motorsport above the GTLM/GT3 level.


Yep Not many Italian drivers excelling into F1. But they are not doing that great with Vettel. Perhaps Vettel needs to see Charlie Sheen for a chat about Anger Management 😄


I prefer people who show emotions and curse in the heat of the battle over people who are paranoid close to a medical case and claim foul play by team, press, god, and whatever all the time - even in the pauses between the races when logical thinking should have taken control again.


Until 'senior' Ferrari management stop interfering with the running of the Ferrari GP team they will continue to struggle. Simples.


"heads will roll unless we win!"
no wins, Heads roll
"ok, now that we lost our most talented what do we do now?"


Heads roll faster than wheels.


James how do you see kimi next season shaping up? Would the new tires and regulation suit his style...I would love to see the iceman back to his best


Let's hope for Kimi it's a dry year. Rain is something he does not seem to grasp anymore.


He came into F1 when traction control was used up to 2008. He was King in V10's with the big rubber , high DF & grip. If he's physically prepared he will be a force.

I've never liked sliding cars in F1- it should always be the pinnacle of speed - that means grip, traction, no loss off acceleration and ultimate lap times. Some of which he still has.


Never did so well in rain (unlike most WC) for some reason. But he's fast still. The oldest driver on the grid? Remember the teenage kimi? Oh boy I feel old now ...


Their car is also terrible in wet conditions which never helps. He won wet races at McLaren and Ferrari.


The Alonsification of Vettel.
The Prostification of Ferrari.
The Trumpification of Marchionni.
The Brexitfication of Arrivabene.
Ferrari is swimming against the stream here.
Nowadays the world is the marketplace for high profile companies.
But Marchionni is raising a Trump Wall against the foreigners in Ferrari.
Going nationalistic doesn't work in autosport.
We can clearlly see that the 100% French ProstGP didn't work.
Also the Japanese manufacturers insist on sneaking a National Hero inside the teams they work with. Sometimes they are a handicap.
Hope the wider tires helps Ferrari with their neverending problem with traction.


If Marchionne wants any good to come off next season, he should distant himself up to 12,000miles from the race track at each venue. I myself perform far worse at my workplace when my boss is over my shoulder and I guess its pretty the same for anyone. I expect him to be wiser than that


That's not the Marchionne style. He is very much involved. And to be honest its worked well in other areas. It may or may not be suited to F1, but only time will tell.


The last couple of seasons have made me long for the good old days. Remember 2012, seven different winners over seven races, and a drivers championship fought between different manufacturers right to the last race? It's 2012 that I'd like to see emulated more than any other in the past decade.


2012 being referred to as "the good old days" is without doubt the funniest thing I've read all year.



Ferrari's poor performance is the main reason for the Merc domination of the PU era, with an engine very close to the Merc, and resources at least as good, they have no excuse at all not to be challenging them. The political in fighting and power struggles, along with the ever present revolving door of senior staff have all played a part in their failure, but the blame culture that has always existed there is the primary reason for it. The chassis guys blame the engine guys, the engine guys blame the strategists, everyone blames the drivers and the team boss blames everyone but him self. I see no end to this malaise, refusing to hire people based on their nationality is not smart, and firing people as well respected as James Allison will only put people off going there, and make outside job offers for people already there that bit more attractive. In the middle of this mess, the drivers are unimportant really, nobody is going to go there and turn that car into a winner, it appears that Vet wants out (and who could blame him) and Kimi won't be there for ever, so who will they get for 2018? Who would want to go there?


Seems I agree with you on topics not related to Mercedes or Lewis. Mind blown*


Agree with you. Although the Allison thing is a bit of a one off IMO considering the circumstances. I reckon they will probably keep Kimi for 2018, these regulation changes will only suit his diving style more. There may be a different driver in the other car though. Totally depends on what they roll out at the first test in February.


They may have no choice but to keep Kimi, I can't see them attracting a big name to keep him company though. Maybe Grosjean?


Ricciardo. He's about as Italian as they're gonna get.


Aezy, why would anyone leave Red Bull for Ferrari?....


Because they don't like being number 2 to Verstappen?


Aezy, possible I suppose....


How about they get the cop/driver from Inspector Montalbano . He seems a bit nippy in his Fiat Punto.


𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗶𝘀 𝗴𝘂𝘆𝘀 𝗯𝗹𝗮𝗺𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗴𝘂𝘆𝘀, 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗴𝘂𝘆𝘀 𝗯𝗹𝗮𝗺𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗴𝗶𝘀𝘁𝘀, 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗯𝗹𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗱𝗿𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗺 𝗯𝗼𝘀𝘀 𝗯𝗹𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗯𝘂𝘁 𝗵𝗶𝗺 𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗳.

And if that's not bad enough, then there's the rabid pack of dogs AKA the Italian media, such as the Milanese 𝘨𝘢𝘻𝘻𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘢 𝘥𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘰 𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵 and the Roman 𝘊𝘰𝘳𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘥𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘰 𝘚𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵 – 𝘚𝘵𝘢𝘥𝘪𝘰 to stir things up as well............

As I was in Nice to watch the Euros this summer, and with Nice being on the Italian border and having a large expat community, I bought some copies of the Gazetto, if only for amusement reading the bile and stinging attacks on underperforming Italian sports teams/people! My God, the Italian media are need to wear steel plated armour to survive the abuse and bile dished out by Italian journalists if you drive one of those red cars.


RE Redline:

I don't doubt your sincerity, but I have long memories.......I always remember how the Italian media turned on Alain Prost after he correctly criticised a lack of technical direction within Maranello........Professor Prost of all people! The most gifted and consistent driver and Senna's only equal. Before the end of 1991 Prost had been fired because of the over arching influence of the media on Italian racing - and with the benefit of hindsight, that turned out to be a bad decision while Prost cleaned up with Williams in 1993!

As for the Italian economy, I was only being flippant - Northern Italy is an industrial powerhouse around the Po Valley region, no doubt about that. It could be even more successful if left-wing Italian politicians didn't keep meddling over the years! Just like the specialists get on with the job.......


@Gaz: I know you were being flippant about the economy, but in truth the high performance motor sector is booming. Modena & Bologna are chock full of small consultancies and specialist manufacturers that do a lot of work for the German auto industry as well as in motor-sports.

Regarding the media - I think they are a bit more cautious around Marchionne than they were with LDM. Although it didn't stop them complaining about the lack of lambrusco at this years Christmas lunch!!


How's you Italian Gaz? I read the Gazzetta dello Sport and other Italian broadsheets on a daily basis, and have to respectfully disagree with what you're saying. Whilst the Italian media certainly have an unusually close relationship with Ferrari and the top football teams, I wouldn't by any stretch call them a rabid pack of dogs... Rather I would say it is disproportionately influential, which in itself can be a problem, but not the one you've described: Kimi and Seb are well loved and respected by the Italian media.


To be honest, I wouldn't mind if Ferrari are looking over their shoulders at McLaren, they're also important to F1. But my ideal situation would be Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes & Red Bull fighting it out, from track to track. I'd love it if any of the drivers was capable of being on pole.
I've never been a Red Bull fan, didn't enjoy anything about their era of domination, but I have to say, I'm really a big fan of their current driver pairing, Max and Daniel are immensely talented and a joy to watch. So I'd love for them to be in the mix, they'd definitely add to the spectacle.


I think we underestimate Vettel's ability to lose interest quickly when car is absolutely not there perhaps. I don't think he has that ability to find excitement fighting for 5th or 3rd like Alonso. I can understand that too. People look at that as some work ethic issue for drivers that show this behavior. Maybe it is, maybe not.

Once you've won multiple WDCs in F1, driving for top 5s is like being 14 years old and having built a bunch of Lego Technic sets, and someone giving you a Lego Duplo set to build. Imagine Lewis now going to the purgatory for a decade like Alonso or Kimi has. I'm sure it's not fun. Suddenly you understand Nico's retirement move.


I think you've got this spot on. in this regard Seb & Kimi are very similar. Once you've been there is it really fun knowing the guy/s ahead are in cars that are comfortably 6/10-1 sec quicker no matter what you do. I never forget DC podium interview at AD 2012 expecting Kimi to jump for joy after so long & especially given LH 's engine blew.. (Wish Kimi reminded people if that)..

Alonso uses this as a marketing angle for the many years he's been in next best cars. By fighting & holding up better (& slower) cars he gives the illusion he's faster when we all know in current F1 you need a car that's at least a sec faster if guy ahead just blocks..That's why it's mostly Kimi & Vettel cursing him when he's got blue flags waved for a whole lap or 2!!. Many think its "hard racing" but I'm with Kimi & Seb on this - "this guys a ------- joke".

I think as long as you can see /fight the winner it's exciting. If your too far back you have to ask yourself what your doing ( like Jenson did) . But I'm sure 15m-€30m sure helps.


The personell has also changed quite a bit since he signed. Luca, Mattiacci, Allison all gone.
Analogylise that with LEGO.


There are too many specialized LEGO pieces in the modern system. Too many weird colors too. It's all too complex for no particular reason, too specialized. The classic simplicity and beauty had been lost.
But the sheeple still buy it! It's nuts. Kids can't build anything secondary out of giant sets because if all this part specialization. Lego is no longer a creative toy to be reimagined over and over again each day, but rather a 3D puzzle you build as instructed and display to collect dust.

Remember when all Lego minifigs used to just smile? Look at the monstrosity of faces and expressions Lego minifigs have today, quite often hideous.

Does that analogylise all these new people who think they can do it better and improve what wasn't broken? I think so. Like Lego, F1 has been over engineered. It has lost its way. You think Luca is laughing at Sergio?


I hear ya.
"Bionicle" is the worst case of specialized LEGO. But I can tell you the imaginations that created those reimagined pieces day after day are still running strong. When my nephews come and play with my thirty year old LEGO their creations amaze me.
"Sheeple"... That's a dead giveaway. It goes way beyond the MMC doesn't it... Lizard People? How're those Rothschilds treating ya?


I'll hazard a guess Vettel is frustrated because he moved to Ferrari thinking about his legacy to F1. He must have known what a difficult team it is and he still went in, and my guess is that he wanted to put a lid on all the critics that had put his championships down to an all-conquering car... and so far he has failed. Very probably he will end up in Merc, because they really do fit each other: he is still widely regarded as a top drawer driver and motivator, and I think Merc are ready to sit for one more year of Hamilton-life, even if they are quite tired of his prima Donna team bashing antiques: if Ham wins it, so much the merrier but I don't see them extending their contract beyond the current spell. So Vettel it is. Had he been a happier bunny at Ferrari I think they would've gone all out for Alonso this year or the next, but they probably regard Vettel as a safer, sunnier and last but not least, more Germanic choice. It's amusing though that after five years of Ferrari heroics and an extra two of McHonda doldrums, Alonso has not had the golden ticket offered to him. How damaging was 2007 really to him? I think that if any driver on the current grid has payed his dues that has got to be the gnarly bearded Spaniard (copyright Gazboy).


"my guess is that he wanted to put a lid on all the critics that had put his championships down to an all-conquering car... and so far he has failed"

Possibly, but I can't see why. He should know better than we do, that generally the person with the best car wins,

I think it is much more likely that he moved to Ferrari because that's where his heart is. That's been his dream.

In fact, we don't even need to speculate. He has already told us as much.


"prima Donna team bashing antiques"

Like what?
Calling the engine a GP2?
Saying it's the worse car he's ever driven?
"tough luck"?
"save it"?

Not a HAM fan but generally he's not worse off than any others. Are we talking about the same guy? and he thanks his team and mechanics even if it does sound hollow sometimes.


Hmmm. Hamilton has always hinted at conspiracies whenever he's not winning his teammate. Perhaps you're right he's not worse than others and Alonso does spring to mind as a team-basher, although in his case I wouldn't say he hints at conspiracies (save for 2007), he just says it's not good enough, which will not endear him to management.

But just out of the top of my head, Hamilton twitted telemetry while at McLaren, he and his dad created havoc in 2007 even if they walked out of it smelling of roses, thanks to Alonso raising the ante on their bet. While at Merc, he has challenged management often and publically. Maybe he had his reasons, but he should also stop and consider: in F1 you don't win unless you have the top car, simples; the Alonso lesson should be a cautioning tale for everybody, no matter how supremely talented, and I'm looking at you over there Max.

Also, Hamilton has demonstrated many times that even if he is probably the more talented driver of the current generation, he is not that strong mentally; I honestly doubt that if Merc had not produced the beast they did, Ham would've won more than one more Championship over the 2008 one he had. An extra note: to those saying that save for reliability he completely beat Rosberg, I would argue that Rosberg put himself in the position of winning the Championship and then drove conservatively. This is akin to say, Leicester scoring against Barça in the 65th minute and then parking the bus: of course the stats will say Barça dominated, but Lei scored THE goal. Stats can really only take you so far.


You know, since like you say Mercedes can choose from plenty of drivers for 2018, it makes Pascal the logical choice for 2017 on a 1+1 option. Doesn't it James k?


Most likeley Hamilton has blocked Wehrlein because he would be too fast in qualifying and probable due to him being of german nationality, you know the old paranoia issue. Also he wouldnt be able to insinuate between the lines certain stuff like with golden haired team mates Kov, But and Ros as a leverage to get preferential treatment.

Mercedes head quarter wanted Wehrlein in the other Merc seat and there is no hurdle so you have to wonder why they allowed to go the disruptive Bottas/Williams way with all its future implications for the Mercedes young driver program.


Surely Lewis doesn't have veto power over driver choice.

And if Lewis objected to Pascal, this would be one heck of a way for Toto to put Lewis back in check after recent statements. And Toto wouldn't have to choose to give Pascal the 3x WDC winning crew to the rookie. Lewis just made that choice for Toto with his recent statement, lifting all the weight and controversy of that decision.

Yikes! 🙂


Wolff doesn't call the shots any longer. Since Abu Dhabi he has abrogated all decisions to hamilton. In his own words, 'Anarchy is triumphant' given the status quo. Degas' most recognisable character/motif is fully in control.


Ohh yes sebee😉


A strong Ferrari is important for F1 maybe - but can they get their bloody act together? Its like an episode of Game of Thrones anyone else rather naughtily relishing the idea of Allison ending up at Mercedes and continuing to trounce them?

I honestly do not know what Arrivabene was thinking by attacking Vettel. Im not the biggest Seb fan but come on man when one of your best winning assets is struggling in your sub standard car, I cannot see the point. Apparently they have a confidence 'next years' car will be good so they can be rude. But they kept saying 'next year' to Alonso also...

We are all becoming Alonsofied really aren't we...Finger crossed as ever I suppose!


I don't expect anything from Ferrari in the near future. Marchionne puts the wrong pressure on the team, leaving them with no confidence to take risks or be creative. He doesn't seem to back them up and His expectations are unreleastic to say the least. With James Allison now gone, I expect Vettel to look elsewhere by the end of 2017, and I wouldn't blame him for it. In fact I'd bet Mercedes would take him on if Lewis goes!

Thread the Needle

Ferrari havn't built a great car for many years now, surprised they said they didn't need Paddy Lowe, maybe he didn't want to go there after what happened with James Allison

When will Vettel sign the extension to his Ferrari contract that is meant to be ready to be signed?

Ferrari desperately need to be challenging Mercedes and Red Bull next year instead of saying next year we will have a great car for Vettel to continue


So with all these engine restrictions and fewer and fewer PUs being supplied going forward, and finally for first time ever 4 PUs being the allocation for 2017 to save 1m off supply cost, I'd like to know....

For these 20m or 22m PU supply contracts for 4 PUs per car for the 2017 season, how many 1000hp naturally aspirated V10s could be supplied? Could each driver have a fresh V10 every 2nd race? Without a doubt! And probably for 10m a season. Or maybe even less.

If 2017 now with 4 PUs for Lewis vs. 5 he had in 2016 plays out in a similar fashion, I can't wait for LHFC to finally join the PU bashing brigade. Oh...2018...3 PUs per season, right? Watch how reliability marks 2017. You'll see.

By the way, for the many Lewis fans here, did Lewis's 2016 experience sell you on a hybrid? That's what I thought.


I'm spending my x-mass in Cairo, a city with a 3million- strong car park, and I can tell you not too many Prius here. Y'know, maybe they ain't the future, but neither are the gasoline gobbling monsters you purport. Cost saving? I'll give you that, it was a load of BS from the start, but COST is a a very falsifiable concept as I have seen in the local stores when witnessing what Egyptians pay for the same commodity we buy: the ratio is 2/1; admittedly they can't pay it because the salary ratio is 4/1 but hey, if companies can sell here half price relative to us, it really does put a huge question mark on what cost in this world means. At any rate, I wish there were a few more priuses down here, my cough wouldn't be as bad. Maybe fórmula e Is the future? So why the inclination for a completely obsolete technology sebee? Wasn't F1 the pinnacle of technology?


@Rafa, because it is not obsolete. Normally aspirated V10s are still the only engines capable of delivering the kind of performance F1 is famous for without turning the cars into bloated, overweight hogs.

Plus they make more sense from an entertainment point of view, and the cost much less.


Personally I would have liked to see cheaper V10's allowed as an alternative to the current PU's. A team could then chose based on their budget. Of course equalizing performance is going to be a challenge, but no more so than the plethora of contrivances that afflict current F1...


@ redline....LMP1 has a successful equalisation program and i would support that method hands down. Let's see some innovation without all this PCBS.


Simple really. V10 sounds great and IS what F1 fans expect F1 to be like.

All this PU stuff is misguided. World doesn't care about hybrid. World is going electric. So by your logic F1 should go electric, right? No way! F1 needs to decouple from this perception that it is road relevant. Get off your high horse F1 and entertain me, not try to tell me to buy a hybrid! Oh...and as I ofter like to point out, how many hybrids did Mercedes AMG sell in 2014-2016 period vs V8 and V12 cars? Would it surprise you at all of I told you that in this period V8 was the top selling Mercedes AMG engine probably representing 80% of cars sold? So much for Mercedes selling you high tech modern tech with their F1 team, right?


@Sebee: Electric vs Hybrid is not a dichotomy. They each have their place. Car manufacturers are investing in both technologies as well as ICE, and their product portfolio's in the next decades will reflect a balanced mix of propulsion options, targeted at specific usages.


I understand that they are different products. Yet, electrics are eating hybrid share first - which is telling. Consumers appear to see both simply as alternatives to petrol, and this is where hybrid is showing sustained losses to electeics, funny enough as of PU F1 2014. And so, can they exist in the market together? Seems to be challenging.


@redline: Normally aspirated vs hybrid isn't a dichotomy either. They each have their place, it's just that F1 is not the place for hybrids for the reasons already pointed out so many times now, that it would be tedious to list them again.


@LukeC: I meant in the market, not F1, and I did say that ICE will be around for the foreseeable future.

As for F1 being no place for hybrids; well that's a matter of opinion. And the opinion of us fans is significantly less important than that of the manufacturers that are putting the $$$ into the sport 🙂


If a F1 hybrid car runs in a Grand Prix, but there is no one there to hear it make hoovering sounds, does it provide ROI for those manufacturers putting $$$ into the sport?


Isn't that the whole problem? That the opinions of fans are significantly less important than the opinions of the manufacturers?

The manufacturers want a marketing channel for hybrid, and the fans want drama and excitement, and the two are proving to be very difficult to reconcile.

The real question going forward is this : what has the best chance of attracting new audiences? An f1 that has an ambience of being run by Al Gore. Or an F1 that has the ambience of being run by Bily Idol, and which is wild, unpredictable, exciting, a little bit dangerous and rebellious even?

I think it's definitely the latter.


Wasn't Al Gore found to be deceitful in his green ways? As in his mansion was found to be way less green than George W. Bush's ranch? Preaching but not doing? My gut has told me from day 1 that these PUs deceive in their green claims as well with their front loaded tricks to apear green on race day. This is why 3 years on, there hasn't been a proper audited spec sheet on this V10 vs. PU greenness. If we found out how much PUs have to eat in order to be able to fast while being observed on Sundays for 2hrs, we would not be so impressed by a 50Kg savings of fuel.


I agree with you - in general F1 has been over sanitized, not just in the matter of the PU.

But given that its the manufacturers that are taking the risks (financial and image) its only fair that they get a strong say in the direction of the sport, don't you think?

I'm not sure that we'd have multiple manufacturers involved if the sport returned to cheaper NA V10's. You'd possibly end up with a "black box" motor supplied by Mechachrome, Judd, Cosworth, etc... which with all due respect don't have the same draw as manufacturers that the public can relate to.


@redline, whether the manufacturers get a strong say as far as the direction of the sport is concerned depends on whether their say ultimately proves to be beneficial for the sport, or whether it strangles the sport and causes it to die a slow painful death.

The big question question that liberty media needs to find an answer to is whether it's the official manufacturer involvement that is the main draw card, or whether it's the noise, the drama, the excitement, the danger etc.

It may turn out that a "black box" type arrangement might be the better option in the long run, or it may be possible to have both manufacturer support and all the other stuff that that gets people's hearts racing with a bit of clever manoeuvring. After all, people buy cars for many reasons, which include fun and excitement and fuel saving or economy may not even be a priority at all in many cases.

At the end of the day, if more and more fans switch off, and those fans are not replenished with new ones, f1 might become useless, not only as an entertainment franchise, but also as a marketing channel for all those manufacturers. Who, by the way, will pack up and go home without any sentimental feelings whatsoever, and leave the mess for someone else to fix. That's if it even can be fixed at that point.


@LukeC: Good post, and all strong points. I agree that ultimately it will be a numbers game: Liberty will chose whatever path increases the viewership (hopefully with due consideration for the fans that actually turn up at the racetrack!). If that means going to a standard engine, then so be it. I do however hope they find the right balance that will keep manufacturers involved. For me its a big draw to see Honda, Renault, Mercedes and Ferrari put their corporate ego's on the line, although it would never influence my buying decisions.


I agree with you, nicely expressed! It's definitely one for Liberty to ponder as they prepare the final stages of their takeover


Who cares if the technology is obsolete? Sport is an entertainment business.

Cycles are obsolete, but the Tour de France is awesome. Horses are obsolete but how many watch the Grand National every year? Vinyl is obsolete but 11.9M vinyl albums were sold in the US last year.

F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport. Entertaining. V10's fit the bill on so many levels.


Normally aspirated engines are not obsolete. They are still lighter, simpler and less expensive than any of the alternatives. And in the real world weight, simplicity and cost still matter a lot. In F1 racing weight and cost is everything. Or at least it should be.

It really boggles my mind that people don't see this. Then again, I never was susceptible to marketing tactics of any kind whatsoever, something that sadly can't be said about the majority of consumers.


NA are a subset of ICE that sadly are destined to diminish. Not necessarily replaced by hybrids, but turbocharged engines. Its quite a clear trend across all manufacturers, and driven by regulation more than anything else. I'm a big fan of pure NA engines, but the writing is sadly on the wall, and I suspect that they will become a niche for specific segments. And objectively, most modern turbo engines are better than the NA's they are replacing.


F1 racing is the segement for which NA engines should become niche. If there is a racing category for which simple, light, powerful NA engines are ideal, that category is F1. And for reasons listed so many times now, that it would be tedious to list them again.


The article was about Ferrari Sebee. Focus!


F1 is about flat out racing, not fuel saving. Focus! 😊


Yes Sebee having another repetitive strain injury.


Would it make you feel better to know I spent the day painting the Ferrari F1 V10 era themed bicycle frame today? It is done, and maybe just maybe I'll put this one of a kind on this God's green earth beauty together before the year is out. Does that tie it all together? You know...Ferrari and my comments?


Oh dear same colour as PeeWee Hermans bike and you know what he did on his visit to the cinema . Nobody should paint a bike red after that.
Green grass is green through photo synthesis and the right amount of phosphates and nutrients and water in soil composition . God has nothing to do with it. Gods a social construct for those who cant get over the fact we all end up us compost to keep the Green Grass growing "Religon the opium of the masses". Enjoy your PeeWee Herman bike Sebee 👍


Sport is an opiate for the masses. Religion is far from it!


send me a photo (bicycle)


Frame pic in the McLaren post.


@Sebee McLaren post
Got it.


Show us some pics!


Need to let the clear coat harden fully for the screews and brackets, etc. Few days, I'll give you a peek. We'll see if I can execute the idea in my head into reality. It's looking good so far!


yes sebee, hamilton's 2016 hybrid expedition has inspired me to get a silver smooth riding prius. a car which has completely transformed my attitude to driving on public roads. i am a lot more patient and seem to have so much time to think over decisions before taking them. nearly as smooth as the car.
now unless ferrari remembers that f1 is a numbers game and get that number 44 on one of their cars, they'll be looking to stagnate at battling force india eternally.
raikkonen says drivers are not engineers and vettel has a good track record of winning 4 drivers championships holding newey's hand, only that 44 will save them.


Clearly you're a massive petrol head.


i love the surge and lateral loads.


did you see that video?


Ham could go there and build them a car!


The least he can do


not just a car but a competitive one.
do you not understand that hamilton inspires his entire team members to raise their level of performance to a whole new level?
look at the new team of mechanics he started the season with. he took them from the worst reliability on the entire grid to a world beating team of mechanics. hamilton has then called for his team not to change them for anyone.
he inspires people who don't even watch f1 let alone those working in his team sir tease..


Mercedes AMG F1 effort sold you a Toyota? Ain't that a riot.


😂 Sebee.


Serenity now


Insanity later.


yep! they sold me the hybrid technology. i was sold on driving supercharged instead of turbocharged engines because of the superior efficiency but the hybrid takes it to a whole new mind blowing level of efficiency sebee.


Most modern turbocharged engines are more efficient than supercharging, that's why everyone switched to Turbos. You will often get no more than 30-40% gains with supercharging whereas turbos can give you up to 50% & the difference between the 2 is usually reflected in the better consumption figures of the turbo

Hybrids of course are better again but you must be prepared for the additional cost and the added greenhouse gases used to make their batteries.


Great. I am extremely happy for you. I hope all the marketing guys of F1 car manufacturers and especially Mercedes guys see how nicely their PU efforts are paying off! ...for Toyota. Company ownes like 75% of hybrid market between their brands and models, and isn't in F1 at all. I love it. As I said...riot.


so long as you're aware that yoyota introduced the first hybrid engine into prius long before f1 thought of the idea.
at the time i found it just too painful to give up on the awesome torque of the supercharger. but now that i have witnessed its success in f1 and it has been refined to an acceptable model, i happily pulled the trigger...


You may want to reconsider: turbochargers are more efficient than superchargers. Particularly true of modern day turbo's which are really rather clever, and have almost eliminated their traditional disadvantages. That is why most manufacturers are adding low capacity turbocharged vehicles to their fleets. Superchargers on the other-hand are an extra demand on the engine.


modern turbochargers may have just improved on efficiency due to the massive effort on research and development but am sure if the same was applied to superchargers, it will not be so. i loved the surge in power from low revs compared to turbolag.


It's more to do with the fact supercharger requires a belt & pulley connected to the engine creating more moving parts and friction so it will always be less efficient. Yes its more instantaneous power/ torque but cars running 2 turbos ( big 1 for low speed response & small 1 for top end achieve the same) or cars like Porsche using (VTG) Variable Turbine Geometry achieve this with the one Turbo and deliver immense response. Few years back VW & Fiat produced small 4 cylinder engines that had both super/turbo charging (twin charge). Great idea but expensive to produce/maintain


good point ellie but please note that to eliminate turbolag, many performance cars install 2 turbos inline. plus many turbos are geared and controlled by electronics to minimise turbolag but it still exists. mug-h is f1's solution to turbolag. i loved the sensation of supercharging and believe that if have as much effort was put into supercharging technology as has gone into turbos, superchargers would be a lot more popular as they are a lot more effective. kers in f1 cars are driven by the crank and yet dramatically improve the efficiency of pus so your argument about superchargers neing belt driven off the crank doesn't hold much water.


Aveli,-"kers in f1 cars are driven by the crank "
Thats not correct !-KERS is provided by the rear brakes As is the MGU-K part now in the ERS systems-not by the "crankshaft".

Further, turbos are Not "Geared".. they are driven by exhaust gases, cooled/ compressed with fresh air & fuel to create the necessary boost. There are too many forms for me to disect them here & now..But the main reason Manufacturers invested in turbos is becuase it effectively recycles waste gases creating efficiencies, that supercharging simply cannot match because it must run ancillaries to drive the system (therefore using more of the engines existing power)- understand??.. No matter what you do this will always exist.
Im signing off this site & wish you all well for the future.


so you're right ellie, mug-k is on the gallopers and harvest when applied to the discs.


All the best to you too, Elie.
I am not happy to see you go, but I am certain you have made up your mind and have a strong reason for your decision.
I, for one will miss your posts, even if I haven't always agreed with all of then. Kimi's fans are always fun! 🙂


@ellie....the energy from crank turns the transmission so anything harvesting from the transmission is harvesting from from the crank, just like the supercharger. don't forget that the cam, water pumps and oil pumps are all driven off the crank..


without going around in circles ellie, brakes do not have any energy to drive generators.
kers, mug-k in f1 cars are motor/generator units which harvest energy from the crank under braking and deliver it back to the crank when needed.
secondly research and development in turbos have reached geared turbos which is common in aviation..


What nonsense. I have been driving TFSI engined cars for the last 9 rears and not one of them has had any discernible turbolag. That is a typical flaky motor journo verbiage construct, in most cases.


Well certainly modern technology can probably improve a supercharger, but the reason OEM's haven't invested as much in developing them is because of the inherent limitation that they draw engine power to develop more power.

And modern turbochargers have all but eliminated lag. I consider myself a die-hard naturally aspirated purist, but its really hard not to be impressed with current turbo motors; at least in real world road conditions they are very responsive.


what's mgu-h kenneth?


my very first performance car was a uno turbo, second 5 turbo, third a g40, a supercharged 1.272l chipped engine with the inlet and exhaust mannitol fully gas flowed, running a crick highlift long duration camshaft in a fully gas flowed cylinder head. running nology spark plugs and leads, a remus dtm axhaust and a custom built pace charge cooler. the supper was sent out to germany to be gasflowed and modified internally to increase boost on a smaller pulley. a bilstein suspension kit with polyurethane bushes took care of the handling and brembo brakes with the green stuff helped with stopping.
many porsches and bmws with engines as big as 3.2l owners couldn't understand how it was possible for me to leave them for dead.....
i then went on to a supercharged 325 on bislstein pss9 which left all m3s for dead, especially in the corners.
now i ride in a prius, prius! with only smoothness and fuel returns to be excited about.
turbos just didn't offer the instant surge that superchargers deliver.


Sounds like some fun cars! If you've had a chance to try the latest M3 with its twin turbo straight-6, you'll know that the lag is barely perceptible. Clever electronics and a dual clutch make modern turbo's so responsive that most people would't notice the lag, and in any case you drive the cars differently, exploiting the midrange. Personally I prefer a manual gearbox and NA engine, but realise that its less "effective" and that I am in a distinct minority. To each his own - there is no one type of motor that will tick the boxes for everyone.


Is that what is called a 'chavcar'? Seriously, i'm talking about sophisticated mercedes/Audi TFSI engines not some Halfords special used for hotdogging. I suppose that you discussed the potency of your car at a later stage over a pint or two with all the bewildered porsche and BMW drivers who couldn't understand how you had left them for dead ! Gee Wow how about that eh? Bit of a comedown to be driving a granny milk float lump now though...isn't it?


you're right about modern turbo chargers being more efficient but that's because a lot more research and development has gone on in the turbocharging technology. when i drove supercharged cars that wasn't the case. the feel of instant acceleration on the supercharger compared to how much fuel it used was head and shoulders above the turbo lag.
by the way my point wasn't about the efficiency of modern turbochargers but the fact that efficiency was very important when i first considered buying performance cars.
thanks for the correction by the way. appreciated.


.....Ferrari F1 is being managed by two men who have no experience of running an F1 team. Both are saying to the media that they are dissatisfied with Vettel....." he needs to earn his seat beyond 2017....he needs to focus more on his driving....he needs to be less agitated in his driving " ..... these things could be said privately in-house. But these statements are being deliberately given to the media. The question can be 'why' ? Vettel, like Raikkonen, is out of contract at the end of 2017. He will be free to leave. In 2014 Ferrari was relaxed about Fernando Alonso leaving with 2 years of his contract remaining because it was known a driver it wanted would be available to them - Vettel. The relationship has been quick to unravel....


Yup. If they want Vettel to stay, they need to have a good 2017 from both sides to show the relationship is good. Ferrari have to really back Vettel, and Vettel has to want to fight for P3 potentially, and hard. Unless Toto and Vettel already have a plan for 2018, and Pascal is coming in. I can believe a Mercedes German super team with 2 German drivers as we had for 3 years. But I cannot believe in Mercedes team without a German driver.


were those 3 years successful?
if those three years provided their desired success, why did they change?


To your last sentence, why not? While it's true that Merc have never run w/o a German driver in a season, many times before those German drivers were bit players. In 1954-55, Fangio was the main man, with Moss a great rival in the 2nd car in '55. Rosberg in 2012 was actually the first German to win with Merc in F1.

I don't think nationality matters to Mercedes now. It's not a state-funded enterprise now, but a large multinational company.


Indeed, it doesn't have to be an unbreakable rule. But it seems to be the MO of this modern version of the team so far. I guess we'll know soon enough if it is breakable.


vettel needs to inspire them to come up with the goods.
has he been inspirational?


A very good question

One has to wonder how much motivation he has with family and 4WDCs on the bag. ...and after seeing Alonso before him. It's a very good question.

Does Sergio think he is inspirational as well? It really starts more with his corporate culture rather than Vettel's, no?


i suspect vettel possesses a strong desire to emulate schumacher with a record number of championships, 7 or more simply because he often makes references to schumacher and his multiple championship successes ferrari.


vettel drives the car so he should inspire the team to provide him with the goods but he's at the moment struggling to show them that he is really good at driving a car faster than the field. a skill which hamilton breaths. the way he completely destroyed btain managed and super karter rosberg, at his peak performance, in the last four races, simply motivates every mercedes employee to up their game or else fingers will be pointing at them if that level of performance is not repeated... he may not have won that title but he left everyone convinced that he is the best. like mohammed ali.


I think you're crossing wires there a bit. That Mercedes is amazing from day one of PU era. It's not Lewis that motivated this, but leadership and R&D advantage. With such a car, it is much easier to claim motivation capability by Lewis. Plug Lewis into current Ferrari, and I'm not sure you would see it so.

Also, Lewis has taken many shots at the entire Mercedes F1 effort this year, not sure that's so inspirational for the team that's given him 2 WDCs. Longing for other crew after he took Nico's upon arrival is now also much clearer thay Nico has finally spoken about it.


The usual Ferrari rhetoric only the names have changed at the top. The pillars of success for any team is an incredibly strong technical team and whilst Ferrari sometimes build a good car they fail to develop it at the same pace of Red Bull , Mercedes even Mclaren & this unfortunately is their technical teams biggest weakness- thats no criticism just a mark of the oppositions incredible strength. The SF16-h started strong but ironically like the Allison designed Lotus was very thermal sensitive on its tyres , something not so conspicuous in other cars.

Ive always laughed at the ridiculous statements of Ferrari bringing in a lead driver to lead them to the front - this is the greatest fallacy in F1 today!. Its is ridiculous in 2016 for Ferrari or anyone to think some driver no matter how talented he is, is going to "lead the team" from inside the cockpit. Vettel is silly to contemplate that especially given the enormous talent pool he had at Red Bull and the grounding he was handed by Ricciardo. These cars are way too complex and teams of 1000+ people are not going to be led by 1 guy who thinks he knows it all. Vettel drove like an amateur at several races this year- Pity for that because he drove brilliantly at a few races. I cant see him staying around much longer but more importantly I cant see Ferrari sticking with him- hes proven that when the chips are down hes even worse- something which you dont want in a high profile driver.

What can I say about Raikkonen - give him a car thats compliant at the front and can be reasonable at the rear and hes as quick as anyone in F1 today thats saying a heck of a lot isnt it. Im certain he would have won a title at Red Bull or Mercedes in any if the last 4 years


thank you for that good comment
celebrating the days (finally) getting longer, up here in the deep south of the Great White North.
maybe we'll get to see a top step number seven this year; you knever no.


Alonso is wonderful but seriously, are McLaren going to be in the top four? I'll believe it when I see it.


if alonso can lead them there, yes.


Funny how everyone speaks of Ferrari falling apart and Marchionne falling out with Allison.

It's accepted that the engine is equivalent to Mercedes and that the chassis lacks in performance and...

But hang on, this was the second car designed under the guidance of Allison and it was not competitive against Mercedes from the start of the year.

If we assume the 2015 car was the first JA design, I wouldn't give too much credit for his ability, the biggest gain last season was the PU.

I can't speak in regards Binottos abilities but whilst I wanted to suspend belief in regards Allison being a better bet than Pat Fry, I was never convinced.


SF-15T was still under Pat Fry's stewardship until he left in October 2014. When Marchionne came in it was too late to change the design concept too much on the 15 car-including the pull rod front suspension because it required big changes to the aero concept on the car. So effectively the 2016 car was the first full Allison design. Yes I've suggested elsewhere that his cars whilst good seem to lack that last little bit of aero balance /DF that allows the tyres to work in all conditions- confirming that small deficit at Lotus.


The only issue I take up with is... 'A Strong F1 is important for F1' Well that is exactly the same dogma that causes F1 to have issues with itself. You could say A Strong McLaren or Red Bull or Williams, or Mercedes is important for F1. Showing bias to any one team undermines the others.... Ferrari favouritism ruins the show... if they are in the dolrums like McLaren so be it... dig yourself out..


Best thing that could happen to La Scuderia is ending Marchionnes' direct influence and control . Its possible that he is a good CEO -even a great one. The Agnellis/Elkmann and Ferrari heir Piero only separated Ferrari from Fiat earlier this year and Marchione was obviously central in this deal (as well as the Chrysler merger). However La Scuderia aren't inspired and it seems he doesn't understand F1

Vettel will get 2018 contract with Merc/ or a revived Macca or retire imo.

Right now Kimi is looking like their best asset, although he will probably retire too at the close of 2018.


yes, Ferrari looked very bad.
Marchionne pressurization only made it worse, and probably was behind the fall apart in the second half of the season.
we'll probably never know the whole story behind the Allison departure, but it looks like there must be more to it.
plagued by debilitating political machinations, and an inability to move to the modern F1 team design, as McLaren is in the midst of doing, painfully, it doesn't look promising for 2017.
but you never know...
I'd always thought the installation of Arrivabene displacing the practical and capable Marco Mattiacci was for political-manoeuvring purposes, i.e. inside lines on what technically could be pushed or not, for design purposes, i.e. the double-decker diffuser type design advantage, or some other silver bullet to beat the (were)wolff silver arrows.
My prescription seems to have been taken up by Williams, get James Key, no matter what!!!
The Williams collection of Paddy Lowe will turn out to be for the team principal role. Further on Williams, look for them to move to the Honda power for 2018, at which point they may be competitive aain at the very sharp end of the grid.
I digress on Williams as foil for Ferrari, just not making the calls that need to be made.
But I'm glad they kept Kimi, and still dream of his achieving a 2nd Ferrari WDC in 2017.


It might be good for Honda to have both McLaren and Williams as customers ... McLaren should win that battle of course, but maybe they wouldn't. Would be like the mid-80's when Honda was with, in order Williams/Lotus/McLaren, with various overlaps in there. Of course back then Honda were the best engine makers, whereas now ...


"But I'm glad they kept Kimi, and still dream of his achieving a 2nd Ferrari WDC in 2017".

Ohh dear, It's allright to dream I guess but one day the dream stops.


Allison, how good is he? This car was his baby and it was a dog, was it really a mistake to sack him? I think not.


HAAS has Ferrari underpinnings. I wonder if the production for a "second team", plus the technical support (didn't Ferrari lose a few folks since they worked on the HAAS build?) put Ferrari behind in development? I really want HAAS to improve this second year, and get a grasp on the the soul of the 2017 chassis/PU.


Raikkonen is one of the few drivers to remember and succeed in the world of significant wake aerodynamics. He may surprise everyone with his accrued passing skills and outclass the field under the new increased


He was King of high DF, Grip in the V10 era. If he physically prepared and the Ferrari is ok he will certainly be a force.


'' Marchionne spoke of reshaping Ferrari around Italian engineers, moving away from a reliance on foreign ‘mercenaries’. ''

I thought it was just fans who are hung up on Nationalities.
Ferrari will be lucky to win another race let alone a championship with that attitude.


Maybe they feel backstabbed by Allison leaving them after only two years and now they want passionate homegrown talent who identifies with Ferrari for life ?


I think because of the brand name, most people seem to think that Ferrari should be at the top all the time. And of course, Ferrari is a racing team first, and a luxury car maker second.
But they have always had times of mediocrity, and times of motor racing excellence. Right now,they seem to be running around like headless chickens. Arrivebene doesn't really seem to have a clue what he's doing. Marchionne is playing the proud Italian card which seems like it's doomed to failure. And as for Vettel, I bet 2018 can't come quick enough for him.
But I'm hoping Ferrari can surprise us in 2017. I'm not overly convinced but let's see.


I really hope Ferrari get their act together next year.
Sadly, I expect them to be more likely fighting for the bridesmaid's nighty.
Inevitably, the relationship with Seb will then fall apart with some degree of acrimony aired in public.
The seat for 2018 will then be perceived as something of a poisoned chalice by all the top flight drivers with probably the exception of Lewis, who's relationship with Toto looks set to become progressively more toxic.

Ro Gro, Sainz or Perez might end up in Kimi's seat... it will be interesting to see if they enjoy the experience.... maybe. Kimi seems like the only person at Maranello who isn't feeling the withering stare of Sauron over their shoulder. He may even stay on for another year. If I were Ferrari, I would put that contract on the table as soon as Kimi demonstrated his driving style (and fitness) are a match for the new regulations. They would be crazy to let him go whilst he is still (more or less) as fast as the Wunderkinder.


The preferential treatment of Ferrari, both by the FIA and F1s commercial rights holders during and even since the Max Mosley years is at the root of the problem.

Ferrari have a sense of entitlement which is undeserved. Once they drop their delusions of automatic success, they can get back to being an honest-to-good F1 team.

If they start to employ drivers who don't also have a sense of entitlement, and thus tell race directors to **** ***, that will also help quite a lot.


I think Ferrari scored their most spectacular "own goal" in their history by letting James Allison go. The chairman is clearly a "technocrat" and not a racer. At all costs they should have held on to him and given him the necessary tools and support to take Ferrari back to the top - a bit of patience and due diligence would have gone a long way. Whatever Ferrari does, they have lost another couple of years - and we all know their attempts to "italianise" the team in the past has produced. Unless i'm mistaken Ferrari is a long way from returning to the top. Vettel is a great driver when the car is good - but when it isn't he tends to drop his head a bit. Where Schumi was peerless was his ability to galvanise a team - many of the current drivers, including Vettel can't do this. Perhaps Dan Ric, could be locked in to a long term contract and do the job for them - with a couple a good technical signings. If I were Ferrari I would take out the "chequebook" and sign up James Key.


James Allison is to car design what Sam Michael's was to team management...


English media is always in a rush to sing the praises for Alonso and Hamilton and deride Vettel at the earliest opportunity. Didn't see that many analysis happening when Hamilton had a poor season in 2013, Alonso in 2015. Also didn't see many commentators analyzing Alonso Gutierrez crash. Some of them even happily attributed partial blame to Gutierrez ( Unbelievable! Isn't it?)

But everything regarding Vettel has to be over-analyzed and criticized. Did he jump the gun in few races at the start? He did. Did Kimi match up with him in qualifying towards the end of the season ? He did. Kimi is afterall a Worlc champion. That fact is lost on many people. They don't have any problems whatsoever when Rosberg out qualified Hamilton in 2014 and Button outscored Alonso in 2015. But they immediately have a problem when Vettel is out-qualified by Kimi ( Though he comprehensively beat him on race day). Rosberg's championship is associated with Hamilton's reliability issues. But Vettel's reliability issues in 2014 and questionable strategy on few races in his defeat to Ricciardo doesnt find a place in history.

To sum it up, people are just eager to point fingers at Vettel and say he's declining. But the fact is that he was the least overtaken driver in 2016 and he offered some exciting moments on the track in 2016 and he would have won atleast 2 races if not for the poor strategy from Ferrari.


Thank the good Lord for at least one objective and unbiased opinion!! 🙂


Oh man. Way to stretch the facts to suit your argument. When Button outscored Alonso in 2015? Even the team admitted they were not fighting for anything and that out scoring was reliability based. Alonso obliterated Kimi so it's only natural that Vettel performing like this against kimi stands out. It's obvious he is under performing after all he's been hired as a replacement for Alonso, a guy who took a very slow ferrari to the title decider against a much faster red bull and lost the title because of tactics (and Ferrari have said so). I believe Vettel is simply not of the same calibre.. when things are going well maybe, but when things aren't peachy he isn't on the level long term.


"Alonso obliterated Kimi so it's only natural that Vettel performing like this against kimi stands out" - Did you skip watching 2015 season?
Kimi had only one season against Alonso. So there is no way we would know if he would have fared similarly against Alonso in a head to head matchup in the 2nd season.
Ferrari in 2010 and 2012 had a much competitive package and entire team ( including Massa) worked to ensure Alonso victory when Redbull drivers were taking points from each other.


good one; very salient.


Well said mate. British media sucks. But you know, it is funny to watch how far they go with it. It is like with American elections, the more you listen CNN or read NYT or many other media links, the righter you go.


I think you're wrong. I recall English media totally singing Vettel's praises at times from 2009-13.

Hamilton did not have a bad season in 2013 ... it was 2011, and there was a lot of ink spilled writing about it, believe me. Alonso's 2015 was one of those seasons where the reliability was so bad, that it didn't really matter if you had an amazing or a middling season of driving.

How is attributing some blame to Gutierrez unbelievable?!? Esteban braked far earlier than normal! In the end it was 50/50, which is what Alonso and the stewards said.

Uh, the fact that Rosberg out-qualified Hamilton has been used recently on this site to argue that Hamilton is not as good as he thinks he is, etc.

Kimi winning the qualifying head-to-head is not a big deal, as Vettel was testing out parts for 2017 in the last races. It is clear, though, that Vettel is given - whenever possible - preferable strategy to Kimi at Ferrari.

As for Hamilton's 2016 vs. Vettel's 2014, the reason why Vettel's reliability issues don't dominate is because in the 2014 season they were not the difference between Ricciardo beating Vettel, and not. Even with equal reliability Ricciardo would've beaten Vettel comfortably. In 2016 though it did make the difference. That's the difference. Not too hard to see, I would think. Do you want to make the case for Vettel in 2014, and then I'll provide counter arguments?

The least overtaken stat is really just a crumb. An interesting stat, but devoid of context. You could say that Vettel rarely had his car in positions higher than it belonged, and so was rarely under threat from faster cars behind. We'd have to delve into the numbers further to get a better picture.

He should've won in Australia, if they had fit the medium tire during the red flag period. Not sure he was ever going to win Canada, but he/they could've made it closer, and force Hamilton to overtake him on track.

If there was a "Comes In For Unfair Stick" list, then I would put Vettel 2nd in that list to Hamilton. That's part and parcel of being one of the more successful drivers on the grid.


very truthful..


Totally agree with Marchionne and his beautifully generous and totally unhypocritical comment about 'foreign mercenaries'. So when will Ferrari be getting their two blisteringly fast Italian drivers in to replace the current two foreigners greedy for Italian cash? Can't wait.


I'm not sure where the "foreign mercenary" bit in the article came from... I can find no such quote attributed to Marchionne in any other media.


James k, i just learned that 2017 is 50th anniversary of AMG from an automotive article. This adds a variable into the driver choice does it not? How can Mercedes AMG go into 50th anniversary without a German driver? Toto is stalling with claims he wants to test Rossi and Ogier. Stretching it out...

Rosberg really did a number on Mercedes AMG plans. They were going into their 50th anniversary year with Mercedes AMG WDCs in both cars and a German planned.


So...can we show some restraint and make a choice to not look at that leaked Schimi photo or visit the site that bought it?


now you've gone and done it.


Ferrari should forget about finding another Michael Schumacher or Ross Brawn, what the team needs the most at this time (ever since his departure, actually) is another Jean Todt: someone who will lead the team, and more importantly shield it from external (and internal) politics and interference.

I'm surprised that one of the reasons why James Allison left (other than his family going through some difficulties) is due to disagreements with Sergio Marchionne himself! The Italian-Canadian is the CEO of FIAT Chrysler Automobiles and of its subsidiary Ferrari, so to be involved in the running of a department/function several levels below his position (and completely outside his area of expertise) is highly unusual.

Which begs the question... where was Maurizio Arrivabene when all those debates/disagreements between his boss (Marchionne) and his employee (Allison) were happening?!?! Why didn't he stand up for Allison? And why did he leave it to his boss to "fix" one of his departments (for him)?

As for Sebastian Vettel, I remember a guest blog in this site written by Ed Gorman, in which he mentioned that the German's poor performance in 2014 actually signaled the beginning of his (Vettel's) decline. I found myself agreeing at the time of the article, but after claiming 3 superb victories in 2015, I thought that maybe we were all just being too hard on Sebastian and that 2014 was just a (very) bad year for him; joining the Scuderia somehow made him rediscover his competitive touch. I found myself carrying on with that optimism during the first phase of 2016 (especially after Australia), but as the season wore on, and Vettel's tirades became the new normal (against the team, fellow competitors, backmarkers and eventually the FIA), I remembered Ed Gorman's words (backed up by Martin Brundle damning assessment after Suzuka) and thought that maybe Seb had really begun to lose his talent after all.


James, with your contacts, what does it mean that Ferrari once again taken the help of Rory Byrne? Bit contradictory, when mr. Marchionne says he has full confidence in Mattia Binotto!


Byrne has continuously been on the Ferrari payroll as a consultant. He never fully left the team, and never came back full-time. His role is that of a "mentor" to the engineering team rather than having specific design authority.


Binotto is an organiser

Byrne helps with design and packaging flair and a common sense engineering voice around younger talented but less experienced design people


I guess I am one of the few that could care less about Ferrari. It just sounds like a train wreck.


Ferrari are making ALL the wrong noises. I expect a slide further back down the grid and a return to performance from the 80s and pre Schuey era.


You mean pre Brawn era. It was his team that dragged the car up. Though it still had stuff on it that "cough" wasn't exactly within the rules and regs. Everything got hidden behind Red Curtains and covers. This was ramped up in Todts years too. Before he moved on to be the boss of the Motor sport governing body "Ferrari International Adjustment".


Ferrrari need Aldo Costa back from Mercedes. Undisputedly the best design brain in F1.

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