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McLaren Exudos to Help or Hinder?

by on January 10, 2012

exodus

McLaren Exudos to Help or Hinder?

01.10.12

As we know, poaching or recruiting for rivals in F1 is pretty much the norm.  While there have been several key team members switching posts, postionions and teams over the recent past, there seems to be a bit of a trend at Ferrari.  This reminds me somewhat of the mass exodus that followed Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher from Benetton to Ferrari in the early 90s.  I say somewhat because that was unique.  It would have been more similar to that had half of the Renault team followed Alonso to Ferrari after his arrival to Maranello.  Let’s take a look at some of Ferrari’s key recruits over the last little while, which seem to come primarily at the expense of McLaren.

Pat Fry Left Benetton to join McLaren in the early 90s and then made the jump to Ferrari in late 2010.  The Brit held the prestigious position of chief engineer at the Woking based team. He replaced Chris Dyer originally and has now replaced Aldo Costa (who has since been poached by Mercedes) as Ferrari’s Technical Director. Surely considered one of F1’s most coveted positions.

 Neil Martin was also recruited by Ferrari from RedBull in 2010. He held the position of chief strategist and also had many years of experience with McLaren.

According to Corriere dello Sport, senior McLaren enigneers including Rupad Darekar, Jonathan Heal, Ioannis Veloudis, Lawrence Hodge and Giacomo Tortora have fled the apparent clinical and sterile Woking environment to join former colleague Pat Fry at Ferrari.

ASIDE: Now before we get our knickers in a knot about the description of McLaren’s environment, understand that the two teams (the other being Ferrari) have different styles and philosophies.  McLaren’s new Technology Center is an absolute marvel and a model for modern engineering.  I’m certain that the “feel” at the MTC has little (or nothing) to do with the true reasons for these engineers makiing the switch.

Going back to yesterday’s blog entry which refers to Mercedes recruiting Ferrari Tyre Performance man Marco Fainello, might Ferrari be doing McLaren a favour now?

 Is it reasonable to believe that this move may help both teams?  Fresh faces and new ideas at McLaren could boost innovation.  Are the senior engineers going the other way bringing old and dry ideas to Ferrari? 

 The truth is, we will only know after each team has had these people in place for a full cycle when their contributions have had a chance to make an impact.

 It must be said that in 2011, McLaren seemed to have done a far better job all round than Ferrari in both the innovation and overall performance departments.  Both teams have a wealth of talent both around the car and behind the wheel.  They will have to both raise their respective games if they are to challenge Adrian Newey and the RedBull juggernaut with two-time WDC Sebastian Vettel in 2012.

 Do you believe these changes may inevitably help McLaren or is Ferrari setting themselves up for success again?

Ernie Black

Follow on Twitter at @GOGGS_ON_F1 and related @F1_DidUKnow

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