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F1: Ferrari Finally Feeling Frustration Factor

by on April 17, 2012

After a surprising win in Malaysia, Ferrari found themselves with one of their drivers leading the championship.  The skies opened and the rain came down and before the track had completely dried, Alonso found himself on the top step of the podium.

No such surprise in Shanghai for the legendary F1 team.  The Chinese GP exposed a truer picture of Ferrari’s pace and ultimately, lack thereof. 

The team is clearly starting to feel the frustration now.  Team Chief Luca Di Montezemolo is likely the most frustrated of all.  I’m almost certain that he’s wondering how it’s possible for Ferrari to have gotten it so wrong again.  Especially after abandoning last year’s developmental campaign half way through the season to concentrate on the radically different F2012.

Well, no one can blame Ferrari for playing it safe.  They certainly studied long…sadly for the team however, they also studied wrong.

Pat Fry recently said that there need be fundamental changes in the Ferrari approach.  Obviously nothing that can change quick enough to help this season I imagine.

The team has identified two areas that need to improve. One is top speed and the other is (aero) grip.  Sorry for sounding a wee bit obtuse here, but what else is there? 

Fernando Alonso is doing a great job driving the car into the points and doing damage control where possible, but even he knows the reality.  While he has not lost hope in his title challenge, he knows that before he can challenge, the car must improve.

In speaking with Ferrari a couple of weeks ago, they assured me that there was no B-Spec F-2012 in the works.  I was told that there were some small developments for China and Bahrain and that a bigger step was expected in Spain.  I suppose the only real problem with that is that rivals aren’t sitting still themselves.  Mercedes is surely pushing now after having tasted victory, Red Bull and Newey are surely not sitting on their hands and we all know McLaren have updates planned.  Is this going to be a matter of two steps forward and one step back for Ferrari? 

To make matters slightly worse is the fact that Massa, who is fighting for his seat right now, is also struggling with the car to the point where he has been unable to crack the top 10 and score a single point. 

So here is the bright side for Ferrari.  Alonso still sits third in the WDC.  The season is long so there is still plenty of time and opportunity to get back in the game.  If there is one thing that is helping Ferrari this season, is that the competition is fierce.  Teams and drivers are all taking points from each other making the title race very close already. 

I for one really want to see Ferrari and Alonso turn things around.  I would absolutely love to see Button, Alonso, Lewis, Vettel, Schumacher, Rosberg and Webber all scrapping it out for the WDC.  Especially with Kimi and Perez in the mix and possibly Massa as well helping to take points away from them all throughout the season.

One thing is abundantly clear; things need to change at Ferrari, whether it’s the people, the processes, the philosophy or the internal politics. 

So will Ferrari have that epiphany moment and finally find that sweet spot that will allow them to become a contender?  What are your thoughts?


Author: Ernie Black




From → Formula One

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