Ferrari’s nightmare season continues

Posted on

| Written by

Felipe Massa ran third but retired

Ferrari are having their worst start to an F1 season since 1981 as Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa failed to score for the third race in a row.

The defending constructors’ champions reacted to their non-scores in Australia and Malaysia by shifting Luca Baldisserri off the pitwall and promoting Chris Dyer in his place. They also decided not the use their KERS this weekend.

But it didn’t stop the rot. Felipe Massa had a strong start to the race, making up places in the early stages, but came to a halt on lap 20 with a car problem.

Raikkonen, meanwhile, never really figured – losing a lot of places in the opening laps and finishing in tenth.

Massa has already demanded the team put KERS back on the car at the Bahrain race this weekend. But else what should they do to get back on terms with their rivals?

Ferrari last failed to score points in the first three races in 1981, when Gilles Villeneuve and Didier Pironi were driving for the team. The same happened the year before.

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

74 comments on “Ferrari’s nightmare season continues”

  1. Ferrari needs a Miracle to come back from where they are right now and thats NO WHERE…

    1. what are you talking is a team which has made m.schumacher seven time champion .so they are simply the best .the brawns and the red bulls are using diffusers ,taking an unfair advantage

    2. All the teams are using diffusers, but Brawn, Williams and Toyota initially have made better ones. Renault and Mclaren have now also improved their diffusers into the “unfair” zone.
      Red Bull aren’t even using the controversial diffusers…

      Basically, Ferrari have had their day, I can see them switching to next years car soon, because this years car is so badly wrong.

    3. I think you’ll find that there’s nothing ‘unfair’ about them anyway.

  2. there is no other way but to go up. mark my word. ferrari will finish 1-2 in bahrain.

    1. They’re not expecting significant updates in Bahrain so i don’t see how they can overhaul RedBull, Toyota, Williams and probably McLaren

    2. long live Ferrari
      19th April 2009, 11:50

      hope to see it come true!

    3. You wish!!!
      I am a Ferrari fan and trust me they may well be on the podium with a bit (or shall i say a lot) of luck, but a 1-2 finish, thats just impossible.

    4. Hope not about time some other teams got a crack

  3. @ deric, sorry but i doubt it, i predict a medium points finish, like mclaren in china.

    1. just kidding, I knew it would be impossible. looking on how ferrari fares with other team, they surely have a mountain to climb up. but im not losing faith, they both have excellent drivers at hand, so winning is just just around the corner. let’s wait and see.

  4. Actually I don’t remember any big mistake from Raikkonen that caused the huge drop… Is it Ferrari’s badly-timed pit stop?

  5. Messa retired on lap 20 and not 36 as you say………….

    1. Fixed it.

      Massa was especially unlucky today. Raikkonen was doing nothing and if he’d had the problem he wouldn’t have been missed. But Massa was on for a good result.

  6. Massa showed today that he keeps improving, and it is possible to notice it even with Ferrari’s drop of performance.

    He behaved really well under heavy rain today, and could have finished easily in fifth, behind the Red Bulls and the Brawns…

    Raikkonen, otherwise, isn’t helping the Scuderia at all…

    1. Raikkonen fan here!!!!

      Raikkonen, I think has been doing a better job than Massa up until now, he has out qualified him twice, and only struggled today and in Malaysia because he had technical problems with the car. Kimi is one of the strongest drivers there, and let Hamilton pass him because he knew he Hamilton would overtake him anyway with the KERS and his engine failing.

    2. May i also add to that, the fact that the car seems to be worse than any team when it comes to preserving their tires, as well as the fact that the car is RUBBISH!

    3. At the beginning it wasn’t too bad, but then I didn’t really have any grip, so it was a bit hard to stay on the circuit and all the other cars were fast, so they got past me.we probably don’t have the same downforce as the others.we are missing downforce through the corners.

  7. Also note Raikkonen was complaining about his car (the engine in particular) so he may not be completely at fault for being so low down in the order. Of course, I’m probably wrong… In any case Ferrari really needs to push for performance (both from the drivers and the cars).

  8. This is good for F1, to have a different crop of teams at the front creates even more competition, Ferrari have the resources to fight back, it will be exciting to watch the season unfold

  9. KingHamilton&co
    19th April 2009, 11:16

    the new order of F1 has arrived.

    Ferrari will get better, it wont quite be a case of 1980 again, they’ll get a victory or two, but nothing much more.

  10. Well I honestly believe that they started to feel untouchable and now they are paying the price. It also appear that right now they do not have someone willing to stick his head on the chopping board to steer the team out of the storm. One thinks without the diffuser cannot go on (wrong!! look who won today)Others thinks to bin the KERS, one driver want the KERS back from next race…If I would have to face Mr. Montezzemolo on Monday briefing..I will make sure I bring an helmet along with me….

  11. It’s a pity that Massa couldn’t continue because of his car. He was amazing today. I think he was in 3rd when the car stopped. Poor Massa…

    1. Massa was P3 because 6 cars in front of him just made a pitstop under safety car conditions.

  12. Kimi was very very slow. If it didn’t come from the car this surely marked the end of partnership with Ferrari. As for Massa he could have finished fifth.
    It’s not as bad as it seems for ferrari, bring Kers and some more downforce back and they could well win in Spain. Not Barhain.

  13. Ferrari mises a strategic and level-headed management which they had in the past, namely Jean Todt and Ross Brawn. Massa put it well – the flamboyant Italians just got too complacent after years of domination.

    1. I don’t think strategy was much to do with it today. The car isn’t reliable enough or quick enough.

    2. not the strategy for the race – the strategy for the whole year(s) :-)

  14. ferrari can qualify in 5th-8th, or up to 2nd if very light(or maybe im just dreaming) but the race is where it counts and they have failed to deliver for 3 races now, mclaren improved on the other hand. maca car are better than in malaysia and australia, both cars in the top 8. hell, torro rosso ferrari beat ferrari again in a race where vettel wins, irony ? buemi scored a point, ferrari none, vettel won. monza 2008 vettel won torro rosso over ferrari, improve your car on raceday ferrari. your strategies too.

  15. Lap 10: “”My engine is not running very well,” Kimi Raikkonen radios back to his Ferrari garage.”

    Was Raikkonen conserving his engine to last the race distance? After Massa’s failure (Lap 20) he most definitely would have been instructed to do so, if he wasn’t doing so already based on his own observation.

    He’s also just not strong in the wet. However, he did bring the car home without any unforced errors, which is a big improvement for him from his recent races.

  16. there are ups and downs.

    this is downtime like 2005, and 1995-1986.

    1) make a car which is reliable enough.
    2) bring back kers because it seems like the whole balance of the F60 is very dependable on kers.
    3) introduce the double diffusor asap.

    and maybe they will clinch a victory or two, get 30-40 points per driver and a 4th-5th position in the constructor championship.

  17. slower than a force india not good enough sutil was ahead easily till he bined it.I here todt was there today stefano’s days are numbered you can’t blame kimi if the car is crap and it is they have no major updates for this race,renault flew a diffuser and afront wing out,mclaren the same what are they doing in marenelo eating bloody pasta they better have 2 brand new cars siting on the front row of the grid in spain or they should all be fired dump that tractor in the bin at the airport when they leave this is NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

  18. diseased rat
    19th April 2009, 12:10

    I wonder what Alonso is thinking about his likely future move to Ferrari now?

    1. When he went to Mclaren, he moved from a Championship winner car to a non-winner one, so i guess he takes in account more facts than only car performance.

  19. This is the bad karma in action for having received the extra money from Bernie and preferential treatment from Mo

    Alonso, stay away from these people!

  20. Hi there.
    Just to ask you to check, I guess the last time it happened for Ferrari was 1981 and not 1980. Anyway, long long time ago.

    Great site yours

    1. You’re right – they had two years in a row where they didn’t score in the first three races.

      They did recover to win twice in ’81 though.

  21. Bad stragergy from Ferrari once again. They should have brought Kimi in under safety car and 3 stopped him. Driving such a heavy car in the wet is no good.

  22. StrFerrari4Ever
    19th April 2009, 13:32

    Ferrari are in tatters the team just seems to be not functioning like a defending constructors champion Raikkonen today was struggling although I must say it felt good seeing a Ferrari powered Toro Rosso blast past Kimi :)

  23. Yikes, looking at the latest comments from Ferrari, there don’t appear to be any real excuses for their performance at all. It’s interesting to see how many different types of errors they have already made; the sheer variety of problems means that there’s no quick fix, they need to raise their game in all areas.

  24. Kimi was complaining about his engines, but he still was able to fight Hamilton for position. It just seemed to me like he lacked full confidence in the wet condition.

    Mclaren did manage to scrape some points at least until the FIA HAMMER drops on them.

    RedBull have the best car on the grid. Its well balanced both in wet and dry conditions and generates great amount of downforce. They are the real team to watch this season.

    1. I agree, Redbull are really the best of the rest (with no fancy diffuser)and vettel is the driver to watch! Ferrari have to up their game real fast!!

  25. I honestly think Kimi complained about his engine after he couldnt pull up next to Hamilton on the back straight.. but thats a KERS thing.. and maybe it surprised Kimi a bit.. that was the last you heard about the prob.. so doubt there was an issue in the first place. Kimi just isnt that strong in the wet..

    Sad for Massa.. he has definitely proved himself after all the crap he got at Silverstone last yr.. I think he’s a gun in the wet and it showed today.. shame about the car.. again

    1. And he won the wet Brazilian Grand Prix.

  26. Ferrari is gradually slipping back to the pre Todt, Brawn
    and Shumacher era. Lack of leadership and engineering talent. All the financial resourses and extra FIA money
    will not help. Alonso stay away.

    1. Or maybe Alonso can get them back on track? Would be cool if he also brought Briatore with him.

    2. Thats a good suggestion from Patrickl !

      Uncle Flav and Lou together in the same team. For sure Flavio is a great great manager, but I guess he would spend the day arguing with Lou. Ferrari is reputed to be a team with a lot of politics, and they have done well in the past with someone ( one person only ) that rules with an iron fist.
      Renault is a team with a lot of talent, and under Flavio´s leadership, they are going to have a good 2009.

  27. Its possible rain was just getting into the engine of Kimi and making it look like it was low on power…

  28. The speculation (at the time) was an electronics failure on Massa’s car – I wonder if there’s any update. I hope it’s not something like water got in, because those systems should be protected.

    As optimistic as some people are about Ferrari getting better, I cannot help but think it’s going to get worse before it can get any better. When the drivers and constructor leaderboards come up, it’s just about the most disheartening thing not to even see the names come onscreen.

    It can’t be denied that Ferrari are missing key personnel from the hey-days, and those still involved in Ferrari are probably in different jobs. However, with all the planning and reshuffling, how can they slip so far down?

    I think they’re lacking clear direction – bad strategy decisions (when it baffles commentators, that’s a bad sign), a definitive decision on KERs, reshuffling looked more desperate than ordered, drivers who think a win’s far away when in fact even a points score would do good, and a team leader who looks and talk like the season’s already over. Yes, Stefano has said they won’t give up because that’s not the Ferrari spirit, but it hardly sounded convincing.

    Not trying to belittle Stefano, he had very big shoes to fill, but I’ve always voiced my concerns when things haven’t gone as smoothly as before. He’s probably stressed out to the max right now, as he’s responsible for the team’s performance.

    I’ve said it after Malaysia, right now Ferrari just need to grab whatever points they can – forget about winning for the moment, the closest and most feasible objective is getting points. Right now, it’s just embaressing. I’d love nothing more than for them to return to winning ways, but the whole team is a MESS and they’re probably looking for a magic fix that simply doesn’t exist.

    1. BBC article on Ferrari returning to form in Barcelona

      Thing is, everyone’s going to make leaps for Barcelona – I only hope this step up is more substantial than everyone elses. When we hear of McLaren shipping out parts right down to the last minute, I wonder if Ferrari are putting that much into it as well.

  29. The question we have to ask is whether we think this is the start of a downward spiral for the Scuderia or a blip on the radar.

    With the effort that was put into last season for Massa’s title push, I’m reluctanrt to write them off as a force in F1 just yet.

    As for Fernando, he’s wise enough to weigh up the long term prospects against short term sucesses, or lack there of. Even with a poor season for Ferrari, I wouldn’t be surprised if he did pop up in one of the seats next year.

  30. If Ferrari’s performance is a blip it’s the biggest damned blip in F1 history!

    They have two proven drivers, scads of money, so the problem seems to point in the direction of design/engineering/team management. Someone else (ukk??) pointed out complaceny, I would suggest a large dollop of arrogance in combination with that complacency is a recipe for mediocrity.

    As far as I’m concerned Luca is earning his just desserts for the ignominious treatment of Schumacher in his last year.

  31. wait for spain guys before judging no one. Drivers can`t really do nothing with that car. Massa failed because of reliability is bad and Raikkonen had no changes because of performance and bad strategy. Why they which his two stop strategy to one…??? That was what Domenicali also wondering on

    They get new bottom for car to Spain so if there´s then no improving, something is really really wrong with that team. Personally I´m confident that then they will be very very near top on Spain.

    but if they´re not, I´d like to say : GO ferrari for season 2010 car…

  32. Toby Thwaites 93
    19th April 2009, 17:09

    Ferrari will score points in Bahrain if the F60 has an updated aero package including new diffuser. Although saying that, so will teams like BMW. Mclaren and Renault will perform slightly better aswell, seen as though the updates for the Chinese GP were maybe rushed.
    Bahrain GP will be the best so far this season :)

  33. Indeed, in Autosport Domenicali claims that they might focus on 2010 early.

    I thought the regulations stayed mostly the same for 2010 though. Only some KERS differences maybe?

    Couldn’t they use that “2010” car already this year if they finish it early?

    1. Well the cars next year will be running without refuelling, so they’ll need much bigger fuel tanks. They’re also supposed to be changing the front tyre width, I think they’re reducing it, because of the imbalance caused by the switch back to slicks this year.

      But also they’d be able to design the car from scratch to include a ‘double decker’ diffuser.

    2. Ah true, bigger fuel tanks.

      I realized the possible tyre change, but that’s more a point not to go for the 2010 car yet. No point designing a car when the regulations aren’t even sure yet.

  34. On one BMW and McLaren ran with Kers today I think Ferrari should bolt on the Kers unit again soon otherwise with only McLaren developing it, and improving it and reducing the current weight disadvantage. They will ‘leap frog’ everyone by mid season, and be away when the dry races start.

  35. “Raikkonen, meanwhile, never really figured – losing a lot of places in the opening lap and finishing in tenth.”

    That’s not really accurate:

    A) Raikkonen lost only a single position on lap 9 when Hamilton passed him. Only on lap 12 did Buemi pass him and he let Massa through.

    B) Raikkonen was right behind Massa when Massa retired. (with only Barrichello between them after his pitstop)

    Raikkonens race was ruined by his pitstop so quickly after the safety car situation. It left him almost at the back after his stop.

    1. @Patrickl,

      Well, three cars fueled either equally heavily as Raikkonen or heavier passed him before his first pit stop.

      Surely there were Hamilton, Buemi, and Barrichelo at least between Massa and Raikkonen when Massa retired? I don’t think Hamilton or Buemi had pitted yet.

      This is pretty accurately reflected in his final position – three cars passed him and one retired, resulting in him dropping back 2 places from his qualifying position in the end.

    2. Patrickl – that should have been ‘laps’, sorry.

    3. Ah, “laps”, makes more sense yes.


      Buemi had pitted on lap 19 and Hamilton had just had one of his offs. So they were behind Raikkonen. Seriously, Raikkonen was on P5 when Massa retired. Behind him were Hamilton, Barrichello, Kovalainen, Bourdais, Buemi …

      Raikkonen lost a lot of places due to his stop. It put him back on P15 where he ended up being stuck behind Rosberg.

      BTW I said Barrichello was between them, but that was Webber of course. Sorry ’bout that

  36. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the Ferrari. They just lack the downforce of the 3 diffuser + RBR cars. Performance wise, the Ferrari should be better than the Mclarens. Kimi was faster than Hamilton with fuel during qualifying and he wasn’t running with KERS, unlike Hamilton.
    Ferrari’s problem in the first 3 races, have just been poor strategies and then reliability issues. If you ask me, I’d say once they’ve committed a strategic blunder it becomes easier for them to retire a car even with the smallest of technical issue. Massa’s problem at this race was the first real debilitating technical problem Ferrari has had.

    1. “There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the Ferrari. They just lack the downforce of the 3 diffuser + RBR cars”

      sounds fundamental to me.

  37. isn’t interesting that stefano say’s that they may start development of the 2010 car early what makes him think he’ll still be there to see it race.Bad strategies lack of design the car they put on the track in spain better be 2sec faster than everyone else and dont think it unreasonable there cars have dominated for the last 10years.The only ray of light as a fan is that noone is running away with the series but how long until these teams will wait to see improvement’s in there cars if it’s not forthcoming they shelve the season and concentrate on 2010 remember the red bull were carrying a lot less fuel than the brawn’s and toyota’s so on a dry track the outcome may have been different bmw,toyota,ferrari,renault all had shocking day,s how long untill the principals decide to shelve this season and concentrate on next year this years championship could well be decided by monaco.

  38. Things are bad at Ferrari indeed. Poor Flippy didn’t even get an ice cream this week :D

  39. The first 3 races are the worst of all seasons I could ever remember. Why Ferrari F60 was introduced prior to other teams if the result is like that? Now all the people in the team have to leave their ego and prides to start from scratch again. Don’t ever think that the wind is slow on the top…Let’s rise to glory !

  40. I don’t think Ferrari’s problem is the basic package, they appear to have all the right bits but they aren’t working together properly – as happened with McLaren not so long ago.
    Since Kimi complained about his engine early on in the race, and Massa retired because of his engine, I wonder if there is a technical problem when they remove the KERS? And if they have already admitted that the KERS isn’t working properly either, they need a big fix very soon……

  41. longlive Ferrari
    20th April 2009, 9:07

    gimme some money. i’ll throw a party in monaco the day i get to listen this from a commentator’s mouth

    “Yes, Ferrari have done it, they’re back with a bang!”

    i’ll pay for the airfare too. :)

  42. don worry guys ferrari wll b back soon,but i hav to tell u all tat without schumacher ther is no ferrari.i feel in 2005 the car was worst than tis.but he brought home 62 points.

  43. Massa’s was a software problem. Kimi’s was water getting in the engine. According to Kimi, he felt the loss of power when he was getting close to cars ahead of him, but stops when he is ahead of those cars or much further behind them. I’m surprised he couldn’t figure out it was the water. Every car suffers some performance shortfall in the wet especially when tailing another car in very wet conditions.

  44. Its a good thing they then removed the KERS from their cars. Might have caused serious problems if water got into KERS. by the way, what are the rules regarding KERS for 2010. Must all teams be fitted with them for 2010 season? If so then that plus the bigger heavier Fuel tank will make the cars balance even a bigger problem than this year

  45. Obviously Ferrari will never really stop trying this season, and I am sure they will capture a few decent results before the year is out. But Bahrain will tell a great deal about them, as the team and Massa in particular have done very well there recently. If they still struggle with pure pace- never mind the reliability- then it will set a very bad tone for the rest of the season.

  46. Anyone else feel as if Ferrari are heading back to the pre Todt/Brawn/Schumacher era of getting things wrong year after year or am I jumping the gun?

    Massa would win the championship given the right car, not sure about Kimi anymore so maybe to get them back to where they were perhaps it will take another “super team” type approach as they started to build in 1995/96.

Comments are closed.