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F1: Musical Chairs…Welcome Back Bridgestone?

by on January 11, 2012

F1: Musical Chair Game Continues

01.11.12

In one of my previous blog posts, I eluded to the current game of musical chairs which seems to be synonymous with the Formula One Off-season.  Many drivers, engineers and staff swap places and jump from team to team or in and out of the sport.

Today, the fun continues.  With the departure of Ferrari’s tyre performance “expert” Marco Fainello having jumped to Mercedes AMG PETRONAS, an empty chair was left at Ferrari to be filled.  Announced today by Stefano Domenicali, that chair has a new occupant.  Ferrari have hired Ex-Bridgestone head of motorsport tyre development Hirohide Hamashima.  Stefano makes it clear that there are high expectations from him exclaiming, “We expect an important contribution from him” when speaking of Hamashima.

Domenicali: “Hamashima joins today and in the future we will get his contribution on the development of the car and the issue of tyres…There was an issue last year where we suffered in some conditions, and the goal is of having a major contribution from his part. He will be a reference for us and we expect an important contribution from him…He knows the world of tyres. His knowledge is fundamental and we have used this occasion to strengthen our understanding in this area. Last year we were not that good in exploiting all the tyres we had in hand, so that is the reason why he has come into the team.”

The last portion of that statement (Last year we were not that good in exploiting all the tyres we had in hand) seems to strengthen my argument from a previous post where I made reference to Mercedes doing Ferrari a favor by taking in Fainello.  For Mercedes sake, one hopes this is not the case, as Brawn’s squad need to start performing this season and aiming for podium finishes and wins to establish itself as a top team.
 
Another announcement was also made at the annual WROOOM event by Domenicali, and not to diminish it, but it was rather low key in comparison to Hamashima’s, was that of Steve Clark.

Clark now holds the title of head of race engineers.  He comes to Ferrari with experience from Mercedes (Brawn GP and Honda) as well as Team Lotus, McLaren and Sauber.

Is Ferrari making the right moves to set itself up with depth in its technical staff? Or are all these moves adding up to too many changes that won’t gel in time to make a positive impact on the team’s chances.

One must be thinking that as far as the top teams go, RedBull seems to have made the fewest changes and stability for the current champions bodes well for another strong season.  McLaren came on strong and promise to out develop many of the teams again as they seem to have been able to do with ease.  The biggest question marks remain Ferrari, with all the changes, the enigma that is Mercedes and dark horse and possible spoiler, Lotus Renault with it’s fancy (but not yet convincingly legal) anti-dive gadget.

Ernie Black

Follow on Twitter at @GOGGS_ON_F1 and related @F1_DidUKnow

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