Ferrari replace race engineer Chris Dyer

2011 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Ferrari has confirmed Pat Fry will take over Chris Dyer’s role as head of race engineering in 2011.

Dyer faced criticism following the strategic error at Abu Dhabi which likely cost Fernando Alonso the 2010 drivers’ championship.

The team have not announced what Dyer’s new role will be. Fry joined the team from McLaren in June last year.

Ferrari also announced Neil Martin has joined the team from Red Bull ahead of the 2011 season.

Martin was head of strategic operations at Red Bull and also previously worked for McLaren.
Ferrari issued the following statement:

It had been hinted at prior to Christmas when, speaking to Italian and international journalists during seasonal festivities, Luca di Montezemolo and Stefano Domenicali talked of not taking any drastic action, but rather making changes aimed at improving the efficiency of the team in its work, both at the track and the factory. Today came the facts.

Joining the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro is the respected engineer, Neil Martin, who takes on the role of heading up the new Operations Research department. A 38 year old Englishman, Martin previously worked for Red Bull and prior to that McLaren and he will now report directly to Technical Director, Aldo Costa.

At the same time, Costa’s deputy, Pat Fry will, in addition to his current role, take on the job of head of race track engineering. Up until yesterday, this position was held by Chris Dyer and his role within the company will be redefined in the next few days.

Image © Ferrari spa

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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...

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102 comments on “Ferrari replace race engineer Chris Dyer”

  1. Where’s Ross Brawn when you need him?

    1. Yep Yep Yep I agree.

      Winning with a 4 Pit Stop Strategy. That is a genius with a lot of number crunching

    2. Ross orchestrated a lot of brilliant race tactics since refuelling was introduced in 1994. It was Brawn & Symmonds duo who brought mathematical modelling methods for calculating race strategies and everyone else in the paddock followed very soon.

    3. At Brackley. :D And Mercedes are hoping 2011 is more 2009 than 2010.

      1. Never before have I so wanted a dyer to be sacked, except this time, it’s the one that’s been robbed.

    4. jack the snake
      5th January 2011, 4:24

      What a shame. Dyer was a great engineer to Schumacher but after that he sometimes appeared lost. I definitly got worried when they upgraded him to racing chief of both cars.

      Anyway, this was inevitable. The number of tactical mistakes was growing year in and year out. Ferrari needs a new Brawn clone. A man who sits and eats a banana while his slower cars beat faster cars by a simple pit stop strategy.

      1. That is so true.

      2. Of course, Brawn was somewhat helped during his Ferrari tenure by having a driver who could chop off two seconds per lap on request…

      3. The politic of promoting people in order looks silly to me because there can be very different jobs in the Scuderia. Like if Smedley was promoted to chief engineer, then to team boss! I’d like Smedley in charge, but that’s a little different than talking to Felipe.

  2. He did what any other race engineer would’ve done. nobody knew that the options would last as long as they did. Sorry but that is ridiculous. I hope he gets in another job quick, he was a key component to Ferrari being so successful the 00’s…

    1. *in the 00’s

      1. Who is Michael Schumachers new race engineer? Is it Mark Slade? If so wasn’t he /Slade at Ferrari?

        1. He was at Renault with Petrov (…) and previously had a long stint at McLaren with their line of Finnish drivers

          1. Many thanks for the info,much appreciated.:)

    2. Yep I agree with this. Its pretty harsh getting rid of Dyer for that.

      1. Same. I’ve never worked out why this is a big deal, who expected Alonso to get stuck behind Petrov for the whole race?

        1. Nice thought from Ferrari… IF Alonso cant overtake pertov, blame the Race Engineer for it. Well they have to protect their million $ investment. No other options for them either.

          1. Lewis in a faster car, couldn’t get past a reno either…

          2. Totally agree with above comments. They covered the most likely scenario by pitting Alonso. Hindsight it looked foolish but at time would have been a crazy gamble not to cover Webber. Guess there is massive pressure in Italy for someone to pay.

          3. the problem is the circuit, not the driver or the engineer. Who wants a circuit where drivers who are fighting for championship cannot overtake a rookie?

          4. Who wants a circuit where drivers who are fighting for championship cannot overtake?

            Fixed that for you. It shouldn’t matter who they are trying to pass.

      2. One of the main reasons I’ve never quite seen the attraction of an outfit like Ferrari … as an fair-minded observer, they have regularly struck me as quite a factional and vindictive operation. When something goes wrong, always quick to look for a fall guy. Single-out someone, anyone, an individual, pin *all* the blame on them, rightly or wrongly, and then have them crudely jettisoned.

        Covering-off Webber didn’t immediately look like a completely calamitous dropped *******, it took a coupla laps for the penny to drop; but either way they had to try and cover two pretty quick racecars with one strategy call, which couldn’t quite be done.
        (hint Luca: this is sometimes what happens when all eggs go into one Hockenheim-shaped basket … having two drivers in the hunt to strategically confound your rivals is occasionally worth a whole lot more than 7points).

        People makes mistakes, that’s why they put rubbers on the end of pencils, but some of the more enlightened managers tend to take a more mature, rounded, adult, view to these things.
        Instead of launching the remote through the TV, they’re actively looking for individuals that demonstrate a capacity to learn from past mistakes
        … the team have already dearly bought and paid for that particular learning-experience, that’s gone, rather than the blame-game, they should maybe look at the systems and processes that failed to catch and prevent the strategy-error in the first place; the methodolgies, analysis, simulation and prediction, team communications and offsite support-staff that all failed to raise a red-flag in time.
        Not jsut paper-over those compound failings with an easy scapegoat, punished by being sent back to the factory to sit on the naughty-step.

        His green replacement now presumably comes with the opportunity to fall into exactly the same sort of traps afresh. Rinse and repeat I guess.
        Does anyone think a guy very much like Dyer, having now been once round the block, would make anything even close to a similar error ever again. He has effectively been pre-disastered …
        … what are the chances of any competent race-engineer, in their career at one team, making two critical calls that each lose a championship. Pretty rare I’d imagine, just on the raw probabilities and percentages, I think you’d want to keep him involved somehow.

        Anyhow, last two newsworthy hires have both been “internationals”, looks like LDM’s clumsy, post-Brawn, “Project Italianification” of Ferrari F1 has taken just a slight knock in the last year.
        … It therefore seems pretty clear all the hirings and firings will need to pay-off in 2011 or else it’ll be poor ol’ Stefano’s name that will be the one going in the Ferrari Blame-Box™ this time next year, for sure.

        1. Maybe he will be replacing Rob Smedley…

          1. That’s one sure-fire way of making sure Massa remains Ferrari’s No. 2!

          2. To be honest, those two get on so well, I’d be unsurprised if Massa would stay after that.

        2. “…when all eggs go into one Hockenheim-shaped basket…”
          Hadn’t read a better way of expressing it before!

          1. A Hockenheim shaped basket would be absolutely useless for eggs, I mean, wouldn’t they all just slide off the Parabolica?

        3. I like this comment a lot. The key figureheads of the Italianisation, Stefano and Aldo, are still around. To be fair, they were trained as the proteges of Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne.

          I do wonder, though, why Fernando hasn’t brought over anyone from his previous teams over to Ferrari (except Pat Fry). Schumi brought over Ross and Rory, who then brought over a whole other bunch of people.

          1. Soumya Banerjee
            5th January 2011, 15:56

            How come Ferrari still remains the most popular team and i still get to see comments like this?

        4. wowww man, you have got some writing skills, have you tried GMAT :) (sorry, very off the topic)

          1. The GMAT doesn’t have a lot of writing, except for that one rather useless essay at the beginning.

        5. still in recent times dyer was making mistakes regularly. so i think it was a fair call.

      3. They didn’t get rid of him, they just demoted him. who knows, maybe his new position in Ferrari will be a lateral move…..

        1. It just says a new role for him will be found. That doesn’t tell us anything yet. Yes it sounds negative and if he gets a worse job he should probably consider going to a different team (maybe one with many old friends) but we can’t be sure. Maybe they want to find him a nice place to learn more about parts of the team he didn’t work for yet and in the end, when he knows everything about the team, they get rid of Domeniblahli and he takes over. Maybe they already planned all this, gave the people their new jobs and waited for Domenicali to leave by himself but now he didn’t and they have to make new plans. Sounds a bit too crazy?! Yeah actually it does …..

        2. By my personnal experience in F1, I’ve seen a fair number of high profile people (chief designers, head of aero, technical directors,…) being replaced and whose “role within the company would be defined in the coming days/weeks”. Invariably, the role ended up being “former employee”.

        3. you’re right.. he could be promoted or something. As long as he’s not the cleaner he should be alright.

          1. I think they might lose this season!
            Could also be a no team penalty, but i expect something to happend to dyer.

  3. Big changes do not always equate with immediate success.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the early races go for Ferrari…

    1. Well, indeed you seem to know nothing about what happened.

      Alonso:”It´s a mistake!”
      Dyer:”No Fernando, we have to cover Webber!”
      Alonso:”It´s a mistake, I´m staying out”
      Dyer:”Pit next lap, we have to cover Webber!”

      These radio calls were never released, but reported by a Ferrari team insider. Looking forward to 2011, when all radio calls will be available to the public.

      1. Where did you find this info clipper? I’m pretty sure its fake

      2. Indeed I had heard about those “reported” radio calls. But I seriously doubt that if Fernando felt that strongly about it then he would have stayed out whatever the team said.

        I was referring to the number of changes of people in key positions including Pat Fry who is part of the technical department. These sorts of changes on the eve of a new season can be unsettling and throw off a team’s preparation.

        And all radio calls in 2010 were available to the media, so if that radio exchange was legitimate then I think it wouldn’t have taken a “Ferrari Insider” (someone who’s being laid off thanks to the RRA one wonders??) to leak them.

  4. Why didn’t they sack the guy who was actually in charge of race strategy for that race.

    1. Or hire Petrov so they can legally order him to move aside for Alonso…

      1. hehehe, or do a mafia thing and pay Petrov (unpaid driver) in secret.

        1. I suspect that if he accepted such a paycheck, Mr. Petrov would upset a mafia variety significantly less pleasant than the Sicilian kind.

  5. Ferrari also announced Neil Martin has joined the team from Red Bull ahead of the 2010 season.

    Yep, more time travelling cheats

    1. Haha! I was gonna say the same thing. He joined the team a year ago and they’re just now getting around to announcing it?

    2. Caught out by the new year! Fixed it, thanks.

  6. Did Ferrari see a conspiracy there? Hmmmmm, I think Chris is an Aussie and he sent Teflonso to chase his countryman only for “The Finger”-Vettel to grab the cup? …..

    Hmmmm, I can’t just put this conspiracy theory together, I might need help here …. anyone try help? :(

    1. I’m not British, and I don’t like Ferrari either.

      Shuffling of Chris Dyer is illegal.

      Maybe next year they can change that, but, unless you are suggesting that it was not an Shuffling, then, I don’t see how there can be anything but a penalty of some sport.
      Dyer was clearly unhappy about it, I suggest you watch the interview again if you missed that.

      Suggesting that Luca’s is on brawn’s side, is, both stupid, and quite funny, because normally people say they are on Dyer’s side (the whole mansell being the ex driver thing eh?).

      Ferrari have to think of the championship. but breaking rules or even being underhanded, is not the way to do it.

      1. What the hell? Illegal? How is it possibly illegal for an organization to decide who within it takes on what role?

        1. It’s unAmerican! No, anti-affirmative action! Wait, contrapreferenceiality! Sexist!

          Hmmm… those don’t make any sense here.

  7. Michael Griffin
    4th January 2011, 19:42

    PIf McLaren sacked a race engineer every time they lost a title they’d be bankrupt….you make decisions as a team, same as you win and lose as a team.

    This decision from Ferrari, IMO, shows a lack of unity within the team, and hints that Alonso or others may have pointed the finger in Dyer’s direction.

    1. Michael Griffin
      4th January 2011, 19:43

      ***If, not PIf…

    2. Not sacked….he is still at Ferrari

      1. I didn’t say Ferrari sacked Dyer.

        1. Well he’s out of his main role, and no other one has yet been announced…. If he is staying he’s not a big job anymore.

          Head of Cafeteria Support Operations? ;)

          1. Head of Cafeteria Support Operations?

            not a big job? How many exactly would he have to feed?

    3. Right, one of the things that changed with the Schumi/Brawn/Todt team was, they won and lost as a team, not dumping single people because of mistakes made.
      That made them a force for years, now Ferrari are in danger of falling back to being afraid to take any risks lest they backfire.

  8. A knee-jerk reaction and a very defensive tone on top of Domenicali’s comments earlier. Ferrari must be feeling very threatened by someone back home.

    1. Say 60 million tifosi..

    2. Saward is a blow hard but I thought his veiws on the political manouvering going on between Berlosconi and Montezemolo where interesting.

      1. Italy in general is fascinating but I’d put good money that LDM will get a stab at being il Presidente sooner or later.

        Probably about a year after they win the title…

    3. I win, we tie, you lose. That’s how Ferrari works.

      “Dyer, Fry-is-smar-ter-than-you. Can you confirm you understand the message?”

  9. ‘Ring Ring’
    “G’day Ross, Chris here”
    “Chris yes, why don’t we met for a coffee.Perhaps Michael will join us”
    “Yes Ross I’d like that”

    1. and it was followed by: “Say Dom, you know how you wondered if you should quit to appease the tifosi after Abu Dhabi? How about I go, I’ll take it for the team starting tomorrow”

      *joins Mercedes to fine tune the Brawn – Schumacher race strategy stuff with a driver he knows can overtake, if not always fairly* guess we’ll hear in a while :)

  10. Why don’t they replace Alonso for not being able to do his job properly and get past Petrov…

    1. Or as Peter Windsor pointed out on twitter, for piling it up in Monaco and throwing away a potential win…

      1. Or Lewis for not being able to pass a reno either.

        1. And the Renault that LH couldn’t pass was not being driven by a rookie – but by a very good racer in R Kubica.

    2. Replace Alonso?!?.. What about Massa? Do you think he did a better job than Alonso? What about Stefano?.. and Aldo Costa?

      How about we fire the whole Ferrari squad, since none of them did their job properly according to paolo.

      1. I can live with that :D

        Anyway, Luca threatens to leave every second week, So it’s not exactly a new idea.

        1. Come on Mike… no story is complete without an antagonist. You would have no one to cheer against if they were gone.

  11. I wouldn’t pick Dyer out as a sole responsible one…

  12. The Alonso flaming is ridiculous… I mean really… you truly think he got rid of Dyer?….. and who said he’s gone?
    I don’t agree with Fernando’s reaction after the race in Abu Dhabi but I chalk that up to being frustrated… the only place to pass in Abu Dhabi is the straight and the Renault was quicker in a straight line… these are facts so let’s stay on topic…

    1. But I haven’t seen anyone above your post claim Alonso got rid of Dyer?

      1. I guess I read this and thought as much… :)

        “This decision from Ferrari, IMO, shows a lack of unity within the team, and hints that Alonso or others may have pointed the finger in Dyer’s direction.”

  13. Shades of what happened with Stepney. Wonder when Chris will start being followed and tales of mysterious white powder in trousers and on the cars appear.

    1. Yeah, if I was Dyer I’d sign up to one of the other big 4. They’ll all have room for him, possibly a promotion.

      1. I would think there would be an office for him being prepared right now at Brackley…

        Unfortunately, no one who is worth anything in the motorsport world ever leaves Ferrari on good terms, so I would expect some scandal to erupt mid-season should Dyer find employment elsewhere…

  14. Well, here’s the fifty-million dollar question: will this actually change anything, or is it a knee-jerk reaction to what happened in Abu Dhabi?

  15. They chouldn’t have moved chris. Now they’re putting a green, fresh man in a red chair. After the disasterous strategy call, whats the probability of Dyer making the same mistake again? Ferrari are removing a guy who’s learnt his lesson and putting in a new guy to fall into the same hole.

    I think they should have just taken neil martin and be done with it, not move anyone around. Now there’ll be uncertainty on the pit wall and even if the car is good, it’ll take them a while to get a win i’d reckon.

  16. @bwells88 – if everyone always stays on topic the conversation is far less interesting.

    However, it’s quite a statement to suggest that Alonso tried to get Dyer sacked. Nevertheless, if Alonso had made one less mistake in the season, he would have won the WDC, so for Dyer to wear it seems somewhat daft. Everyone, from Driver through to Designers got something wrong in the season, so I ay again, this decision seems daft (and I add short-sighted).

    Regardless of that sensible debate, it’s always fun having a pop at Alonso, especially after a season in which he whined that he was incapable of passing his teammate, resulting in one of the most shambolic episodes F1 fans have had to endure recently (Hockenheim btw – for the Alonso fans, I’m pretty sure that wasn’t a legitimate overtake ;-) ), and a season in which he failed to overtake a Renault and then had the audacity to gesture at him following the race (and yes, I know he apologised afterwards, but I cannot imagine another driver doing the same thing).

    1. I agree that a blog should remain interesting but sometimes people just spout off with no info… I mentioned the AlonsoDyer thing in response to Micheal Griffin’s comment…

      “This decision from Ferrari, IMO, shows a lack of unity within the team, and hints that Alonso or others may have pointed the finger in Dyer’s direction.”

      In no way do I think he had anything to do with it… or that the pass in Germany legit… but it’s more of what people call wrong with F1… if you’re not ahead by 1.5 seconds you can’t get by without a mistake..
      but that’s F1 to me and…. it is what it is… 8)

  17. The team have not announced what Dyer’s new role will be.

    Translation: they hold Dyer responsible, but they think he’s too talented to let some other team scoop him up because he knows the Ferrari playbook.

  18. Is this the same Chris Dyer who’s just started in the post room?

  19. For all their supposed aggrievement over the “spy scandal” Ferrari seem very keen on poaching McLaren staff.

    1. Hitman Contract
      5th January 2011, 1:34

      Nothing good can ever come from mcl

    2. To be fair, I only know of 2 guys they got from McL – Fry and Tombazis. And even then, Tombazis was first at Ferrari, then McLaren lured him over, then Ferrari lured him back.

      Such are the ways of the F1 paddock – even personnel changes are most intriguing.

  20. History teaches that sometimes it’s better to keep defeated leaders in charge, so they can capitalize on their errors and avoid stumbling twice against the same stone.
    General Võ Nguyên Giáp, the North Vietnamese strategist that won both the Indochina War against the French and the Vietnam War against the Republic of South Vietnam and her American and other Western allies, suffered three disastrous setbacks when he tried to go into the third phase of Mao’s warfare doctrine, namely that of engaging the enemy in conventional battle.
    He lost roughly half of his élite forces in the Battles of Vinh Yen, Mao Khe, and the Day River. His Việt Minh forces fell victim to the first extensive use of the deadly napalm by the French forces under General De Lattre.
    However, North Vietnamese supreme leader Hồ Chí Minh decided that it was better to let Giáp capitalize on his defeats, and that ultimately led to the decisive battle of Điện Biên Phù that ended the war. Later, during the Vietnam War, his experience allowed him to assess that an open battle against the powerful American forces was doomed to defeat, so he mounted a big feint against the fortified base at Khe Sanh with the purpose of diverting a huge amount of allied forces to defend it, so his main Tet Offensive could met a weaker opposition.

  21. It’s Luca Baldiserri all over again. Wasn’t he the guy who had to move over for Chris Dyer?

    In any case, Dyer can choose to stay or leave with Ferrari. The guy’s won 3 titles as race engineer (2 with Schumi, 1 with Kimi), and I’m sure many teams would be interested in his services if they were available.

  22. If Chris can then try to move to Mercedes as he has been Schumi’s race engineering for all his 5 WC & he won’t have trouble working with Brawn & Schumacher.

  23. I totally disagree. Chris Dyer is a good engineer and that doesn’t mean he should be sacked. Aldo costa got his head struck in the F60 design

    What you said is not right. Chris is an amazing engineer. Besides, it is WRONG to favour one engineer over another. You make it sound like you agree with it. The rules are there for a reason, it is a team game not a con. or did they bet money on dyer getting sacked and have millions now, as the gangs and mob did once in boxing etc.

    It is against the rules to ask a engineer to quit. I feel so sorry for dyer. he is better than fry for sure Of course statistics will say he is intellectual, wouldnt you give up and think whats the point?
    We know Red Bull and our British guys would NEVER let sack good guys, hence the times we’ve won.
    Dyer was clearly bullied into into resigning. In my job bullying is a discipliniary offence

  24. Ah the sacrifical goat is killed…

  25. An interesting tidbit from Adam Cooper:

    “The Ferrari website says that Dyer’s “role within the company will be redefined in the next few days.” History suggests that he will be given a non-travelling factory job, something that may actually suit him as he has a young family.”

    1. Sounds like the regular “gardening leave” before going to another team will be announced quitly in a couple of weeks/months

  26. I think we may be analysing that moment in Abu Dhabi a bit too much here. He is being moved because he has never really suited this role and Pat Fry does. It was always on the cards as soon as Fry was hired, Ferrari clearly chose to delay the move until the off-season. Completely logical. I hope he stays at Ferrari and has success there. Best of luck to both of them.

  27. An awful lot of talk about Ferrari just being Ferrari. Without a Michael Schumacher to build a team around a Ross Brawn, Ferrari reverts to its normal chaotic blame game politics. The acronym “snafu” could have been invented for Ferrari F1.

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