Ferrari replace technical director Aldo Costa

2011 F1 season

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Aldo Costa, Ferrari, 2011

Ferrari have announced Aldo Costa is no longer serving as technical director.

Pat Fry, who joined the team from McLaren last year, has taken over in charge of chassis development and Corrado Lanzone will be responsible for production, both reporting to Stefano Domenicali.

Costa remains with the team in a different capacity. He became technical director in 2007.

Ferrari issued the following statement:

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro announces that, as from today, Aldo Costa relinquishes his current position as Technical Director to take on new responsibilities within the Company.

At the same time, the technical activity has been restructured in three areas: Director for the Chassis side is Pat Fry, Production is in the hands of Corrado Lanzone, while Engine and Electronics continues with Luca Marmorini. All three report directly to the Team Principal, Stefano Domenicali.

Ferrari’s start to the season has fallen short of expectations. They have reached the podium just once in the first five races and Fernando Alonso was lapped during the Spanish Grand Prix.

The team introduced a new rear wing during practice last weekend but the development was banned by the FIA.

Ferrari also replaced race engineer Chris Dyer in January.

Earlier this month Williams announced their technical director Sam Michael and chief aerodynamicist Jon Tomlinson would leave at the end of the season following their disappointing start to the year.

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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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97 comments on “Ferrari replace technical director Aldo Costa”

  1. A bit of a knee-jerk reaction, it appears to be, coming on the back of Dominicale’s “no-more-excuses” talk in the build-up to the Spanish GP. Maybe they should have waited five more days for Fernando to win the Monaco GP…

    1. If the events of the past week have taught us anything, it’s that making wild predictions – even if you’re absolutely certain of it – is not a very wise idea.

    2. Yeah. I think getting rid of Chris Dyer because of one mistake was a little harsh, and now putting Pat Fry in charge of chassis development is a little risky. Thats a lot of faith they’re putting in an ex-mclaren guy, lets see if it pays off.

      1. Well RedBull put a lot of faith in an ex-McLaren guy and they don’t seem to regret it at all. Keeping Costa would have been even more risky.

        1. There is a big difference in the proven track record of Adrian Newey and Pat fry.

    3. Who knows, I think this was coming from Australia, when we first found out Ferrari were far off the pace. Even worse, McLaren had shown they were flexible enough to come up with a quick fix, while Ferrari are still looking for one.

      Maybe the announcement has only been made after they agreed to take over the two Williams refugees!

      1. This is the best decision Ferrari have made recently.

        The guy was obviously not up to scratch.

        1. The guy was obviously not up to scratch.

          How are you sure of this?

          1. Just take a look at the last few Ferrari’s.

          2. @Rob – two championship-winning cars and a race-winning car out of 5. Not bad after all.

        2. I think you have forgotten how Ferrari won the title with Kimi and was very close to it in 2008 as well, not to mention they were the ones closest to Red Bull last year.

          Rather this is about getting a new crew in with fresh ideas for the next few years. Sure, announcing it now makes him a scapegoat of sorts as well, but I do not think that is the real reason.

  2. Not again ferrari…

    1. Aldo Costa has had this coming for a while. He has failed on all fronts. His bosses are obviously tired of making excuses for the guy.

      He was an obvious thorn in Ferrari’s side.

      1. Guilherme (@the_philosopher)
        24th May 2011, 17:12

        Are you even sure about what you’re talking about? Costa’s cars won both championships in 2007 and the constructors in 2008, and came so close to winning the drivers championship last year.

        While I think he’s no Rory Byrne, he’s far from being “an obvious thorn in Ferrari’s side”…

        1. Look, Ferrari are not looking for some average guy. They want the best, because they are willing to pay for the best.

          So while I agree, he was not all bad. You also have to agree that he was not the best.

          Now Adrian is arguably the best. However they cant have him. So they are placing their trust in Fry.

          While they had good cars in Costa’s early stages, his cars were far from the best in his last three seasons at Ferrari. Considering they are a racing team and not an energy drink team, they cant stand for anything less than wins every time out. The only excuse ever for a team like Ferrari, should be “back luck”.

          1. racing team and not an energy drink team

            If it’s a criticism of using F1 as advertising you going for I’d advise you to look at Williams or Sauber as your saviors.

        2. While I will concede that Ferrari probably had the best car in 2008, with Massa coming within a single point of a WDC against a better driver, it was hardly class of the field stuff.

          McLaren clearly had the best car in 2007, they would have easily won the WCC were it not for the extralegal affairs uncovered in Paris, and they would have won the WDC if not for a multitude of reasons pertaining to any number of GP weekends that season.

          1. Even without the spy-gate Ferrari would have won the WCC in 2007.

            From Wikipedia: After an incident at the end of Qualifying Session 3 at the Hungarian Grand Prix, an FIA decision was made that, due to team infringements during qualifying, McLaren would not be awarded any points. The drivers, however, do retain the points won.

          2. BTW that 2008 Ferrari was so great it failed 3 laps away from victory in the Hungarian GP. (That was after he had overtaken your “better driver” at the start.)

  3. Is this Ferrari’s solution to everything these days? First Dyer, now Costa … who’s next?

      1. :) :) :)

      2. Sad to say this, but it will be Massa if he does not match Alonso. I think Domenicali should be before though.

      3. vettel and koba in ferrari! :)

      4. Too easy Todford!

    1. Butterfly (@)
      24th May 2011, 15:15

      Yeah, you have to get rid of the crappy stuff and keep the good stuff.

      They should have done this last year, but better late than never.

    2. If this was a reality TV show we would have voted out Luca Di Monte a long time ago…

      1. Only if you were not a Ferrari supporter. Luca is a brilliant leader.

        His job is to put people into place who can get the job done, and to fire those who cant. Which to me, seems to be exactly what he is doing.

        1. Luca is the new Donald Trump.

        2. What if those people are one and the same?

        3. Definition of a high quality F1 team principal. Think long before you speak,speak softly, and carry a big stick.

          Definition of the complete opposite. LdM.

          1. Lucky Montezemolo isn’t the team principle then.

        4. Bigbadderboom
          25th May 2011, 16:39

          Not a Ferrari fan but still very aware of the mans (Lucas) achievements, he will turn Ferrari around as he has before. He knows his people and he knows their limitations and their potential. Moving Aldo (probably back to production vehicles) will be done in mind of giving Pat Fry the freedom to fully implement his approach, there is no point hiring someone on a huge contract then tying his hands with design philosophy.

    3. Don’t forget Kimi Raikkonen. Massa next, then Domenicali, then Alonso after an honest critical interview (shades of Alain Prost), then…

    4. who’s next – I seriously think it is going to be Stefano himself

    5. This has been the ferrari way of the current management, and I’ve always though LDM is behind it.

      Rumoured to be Marco de/di luca. The aero
      guy from what I’ve heard.

  4. They’ve been stagnating for a while now. 2007 was won because McLaren went through a big problem. 2008 was close because Lewis Hamilton wanted to throw away the championship for the second time. 2010 was close because of Vettel’s unreliability and stupid accidents with Webber, Button, etc.

    All this while, teams have come out with ingenious ideas like double diffusers, F-Ducts, exhaust-blown diffusers, flexi-wings, exhausts coming out of sidepods, etc.

    I have to think quite a long way back to remember any innovation that was done by Ferrari and copied by the rest. Their car designs have been evolutions, and boring at the same time.

    You can see the difference that is made by promoting a solid figure as the technical head at Sauber, while Force India is feeling the effects of losing the same member. I say good luck to Ferrari. They’ve always been near the top for these past years after 2005, but that has purely been due to driver skill and reliability, whether it was their own drivers and car or other teams’.

    1. To be fair, James Key probably had a lot of relatively minor niggly things he could change on both the organisational and design side of things that combined to make relatively large improvements. Ferrari on the other hand has been consistently not-quite-at-the-top for years. They’ve essentially got the organisation and technical know-how in place, just not these little eureka moments that Red Bull and McLaren have had.

      But yeah, when the most eye-catching design feature on your car, is to make the push-rod work better than it ever has on any other car before you when everyone else is jumping ship to the pull-rod suspension, then I guess evolutionary design is just so embedded in your thinking that it will be difficult to have those eureka moments at all.

      1. They did `invent` one thing that was picked up, first by McLaren, and then FI and this last weekend even by Red Bull: those fairings on the wheel rims. Probably not a big effect, but still, something clever.

        Last year, I was also reasonably impressed with how well they got the EBD to work on their car too, and their Monza special F-duct was a smart move too. There is some value in making good implementations of others’ ideas, but they clearly need something more to get them back to winning form on their own steam.

        1. They had the vented nose in 2008 as well.

          1. beckenlima (@)
            24th May 2011, 15:55

            They had the vented nose in 2008 as well.

            ….Which they left behind after some races because don´t offered any performance advantage. The best Ferrari´s innovation in the last years was the illegal flexible floor from 2007.

      2. And I think it was Mclaren who spied on Ferrari in 2007, not the other way around.

      3. To be honest, the last 3 years both Ferrari and McLaren have been not quite at the top with Brawn and Red Bull claiming the top spot.

        So I guess this is a move by Ferrari to get a solid team in for the next years to get back on top.

    2. The wheel faring thing.

    3. 2008 was close because Lewis Hamilton wanted to throw away the championship for the second time.

      Well, 2008 was close because it was the Ferrari team who wanted to throw away the championship, not Lewis. Massa has had nothing to do with Hungary 2008 and Singapore 2008, those 20 (!) points was 100% team failure.

      At least there are fewer of those blunders nowadays. I mean those were not even strategical mistakes like Abu Dhabi 2010. They were blunders. First unreliability, then horrendous pit stop error.

      Based on driving skills Massa should have won the WDC in 2008 he rose to the challenge that year – and in fact he was exceptionally consistent until Hungary 2009. Something broke in him there. (In fact here, as I’m Hungarian. :)) And ‘broke’, I don’t mean it literally, no pun intended, you know what I mean: he lost it since then.

      Back to the actual news, I agree with Icthyes – the Prancing Horse should aim for a win in 2011 and then stop developing the car, focusing their resources on 2012.

  5. I spy a rolling head. Oh lol Ferrari, if it really is belived that going conservative is the cars problem, then if Costa made the call he should be out. I wonder though if there not investing a little to much faith in Pat Fry, never felt he was the man that made McLaren tick. He also produced the Mp4 24.

    Surley though the problem could be the general direction of the team at the top? Or maybe whoevers in charge of correlating wind tunnel readings? An why do Ferrari’s electronics look so buky? An why does the finish on the sidepods look sub f1 standard? It’s quite funny to read the F150 thread on f1technical, internet enthusiasts are officialy concerned, Ferrari seems to have quite a few probelms, last question, why’s the front wing so damn basic?

    1. Butterfly (@)
      24th May 2011, 15:18

      Wasn’t Fry the one who told Ferrari last year to stop copying the F-duct and just focus on the diffuser. I’m pretty sure it was.

      Also, the MP4-24 was garbage because of insufficient time to develop it, but, ultimately, he made it win a couple of races.

      Aldo Costa has made the right move here.

      1. I’m afraid both those points are conjecture. The problem with the MP4-24 wasn’t the development time, it was an inherant problem with the underneath of the car, leading to uncontrolled flow through the diffuser spilling everywhere loosing the car significant downforce in what is infact the key creating area. It was fixed once the entire underfloor was redesigned post Germany.

        While the car was only initially underdeveloped it had more to do with a flawed design rather than the fine tuning required to to compete at the front. Hence when the massive problem the car had was fixed, the top of the car was in good shape, hence their victories.

        We don’t know what Aldo Costa’s responsibilities are, so we really can’t make the call with any actuall certainty.

        I’ve no idea if Pat Fry told Ferrari to stop concentrating on the diffuser but if he was working for McLaren I’d assume such a thing was against at least his own companies code of conduct.

  6. He was a nice guy at least. He made the competitive F2008 and F10 but he had probably too many ups and downs.

    1. I think people underestimaite the turn around required to make the F10 truly competative. WHen a top team suddenly becomes comptetative in Monaco it’s a sign of the trouble their in, requiring mechancial grip to come to the rescue of their poor aero.

      Ferrari started from a higher base then McLaren in 09, but considering the amount of time they spent developing the F10, 3rd in the constructors is very disapointing. TO only start competing for wins by Valencia isn’t good at all. Costa’s a scape goat though, something fundementally is missing at Ferrari, in comparison to Redbull, an maybe even McLaren over the past few years. There up there, but if you take my meaning not half close enough for a team of their recources.

      1. So they got a 1-2 at the first race of the season, yet the F10 wasnt competitive? I dont follow you there. Sure they got left behind on development for a few races, but they had the best combination of reliability and speed from the start.

        1. No for three reasons.

          1 They only got the 1-2 due to Webber’s qualifying and Vettel’s engine faluire.

          2 They didn’t have to deal with the McLaren who screwed up on set up

          3 They went on to win nothing till Germany, an not really threaten to win anything either. Up and till that point they were frequently third best and usualy were in the constuctors standings.

          Hence not truly competative, they certainly didn’t have the best combination of speed and reliabilty as they weren’t the fastest, an their engines kept blowing up before they were allowed to change them pre Barcalona.

          Holding up the 1-2 is a very hollow argument, they were lucky once, it then took TEN races before they won again, thats more than just a few races.

      2. McLaren started the testing season with a woefully unreliable and slow car, and Ferrari have at least equal resources to come back like McLaren.

        It is little wonder Adrian Newey turned them down again last year. His success has come from gradual improvement, building the right team, and getting stability. Can you imagine what would happen to that attempt at Ferrari.

  7. I wonder if Alonso knew this was coming when he pledged his future to them last week?

    1. I’d like to hope not, if only for the Abbott & Costello factor.

      1. Or, better yet, the Benny Hill quotient.

    2. I wonder if Alonso knew this was coming when he pledged his future to them last week?

      It may have been a condition.

      1. I would be suprised if it wasn’t. Signing up to a team that came up with those critisized conservative designs(by Alonso, Dominicaly and Luca), does not sound like the thing to do.

        1. Something like this does not happen just like that. They have obviously been wanted to get rid of the guy for a while. Considering their budget and poor results, this is probably the best decision they have made in the last two years…

    3. Pat Symmonds to Ferrari in 2013..?

      1. I was thinking the same thing but forgot his last name (long day!)

        1. Or that Flavio guy?

          1. You are welcome to both of them Ferrari.

  8. concerning times for ferrari.. Everyone in da devolopment team is responsible for this senario..they all couldnt come wit a competitive car.@ least da upgrades should have been witiin da rules and was realy pathetic 2 c a ferrari strugle this much..drivers were helpless..hope this move provides dividents soon.

    1. OMG don’t type like that please. :(

  9. And where has Nicholas Tombazis gone? Has he remained?

    1. If you’re building mechanical horses, you’ll want a Greek ;)

      1. Very amusing, Icthyes… :D

  10. I feel they have made right decision..not sure about timing.. But for me the worrying factor is ferrari needs to stop developing 2011 car and soon work on 2012 car similar to wht they have done in 2009. They are just too incompetent on hard tyres in spain.. (even sauber seems to faster on hards than them..).

    It seems ferrari is in need of new direction. Without alonso i wonder they would have been in contention for WDC and they should realize that they need strong second driver to win constructor championship. I doubt whether they can ever win WCC with massa?

    But sad to see costa go but surely ferrari lacked technical prowess in last 3yrs or so..

  11. seemed like a decent guy, hope he lands on his feet

  12. beckenlima (@)
    24th May 2011, 15:16

    So that’s the team that we supposed to see as a ‘famiglia’. To any failure a head to roll…

    Anyway, Ferrari needs a new designer with fresh ideas. And sorry because there’s no one available right now.

    Newey will never go to Italia, because of his family and because there he was charged with manslaughter after Senna´s death..

    Maybe Tim Goss could accept a millionaire offer?

    The point is Ferrari was never that innovative as some made us think. Their superiority in Schuey era could be explained in terms of empiric and exhaustive tests.

    They really need to communicate or establish some links with the motosport valley to be in the top again because they are far away from the racing technology epicentre.

    1. Well, they’re more like family than some teams. They’re moving him “sideways”, and whether you interpret that as demotion or not, at least they’re keeping him in a job, as opposed to just telling him to go away.

    2. Well, pretty soon they will have a warehouse full of employees with tire marks all over their backs.

  13. finally!!

  14. with so many guys getting fired from established teams..

    the new three lot might gain by employing one of them..

  15. They let Jean Todt to go, prefered Domenicali to Ross. Oh dear Ferrari is returning to post Todt Era.

    1. Oh, YES!

    2. pre-Todt… yes! Since 2006, things are not going really well… 07 title it was an accident (although kimi drove brilliantly in the second half of that season). And last year, alonso almost won cause vettel was not mature enough and made some silly mistakes (and had reliability issues)…
      He is much stronger now and Newey seems to be having a really good time at redbull. This is a really strong combination.

    3. post Todt Era.

      should read pre Todt, got too emotional i guess :)

  16. They also need to replace their strategist(s). Even if they had a quick enough car, they would still not win anything w/ all these blunders, including the idiotic decision to send out Alonso in Q1 w/ a new set of softs for an insurance run. By looking at the timing at that point it was crystal clear even to me that he would have made it to Q2 w/ the time he had set on the hards. They destroyed his race on Saturday.

    1. They brought an Ex-Redbull&Mclaren strategist.

  17. As soon as I saw Alonso go a lap down on Sunday, I knew somebody was going to get fired. By that I am not saying it was Alonso’s doing, but that grands prix
    emphasised everything that has gone wrong with Ferrari’s season so far.
    I hope for Domenicali’s sake that this ‘quick fix’ in firing Costa and replacing him with Pat Fry works, as it might by Stefano out on his ear at the end of the season. Ferrari coming out and admitting that they a putting alot of their efforts into the 2012 car does not sound too promising, especially as this season was supposed to be the one in which Ferrari took back the title they lost in 2010.

  18. Poor, poor Alonso he is in his best years and has to drive no good cars for years to come. Hope he has a performance get out clause in his contract.

    1. I can’t believe that Ferrari will spend long in the doldrums, in fact I think Alonso will be more fired up than ever. Whether he can carry the car and the rest of the team is another question.

      1. I doubt he will have a performance clause because his Ferrari tenure is being subsidised by Grupo Santander.

      2. Actually I would think that these changes have been made especially to get him to stay with the team long term.

        Last year they knew there was something missing. So they brought in the RBR guy instead of Dyer and Fry as well. Now the part with Costa and will want to put up a team with fresh Ideas to build up for glory in the coming years.

  19. Thet’re barking uo the wrong tree….. the Brits are gone that’s when their slide began

  20. UKfanatic (@)
    24th May 2011, 18:39

    To be very honest I dont know how important is an technical director. in my view is the guy that takes the credit or in this case the blame for poor cars, this year ferrari has very little downforce anyway it is a good car and a good basis for alot more. The F2008 was the fastest car in the field and of his generation yet it had tyre temp problems just like this one I just think there is a lack of investment and pride a lack of jean and ross

  21. Can’t help but think this is to satisfy LdM. He’s been quiet the past few weeks. It’s about time we heard some more from him.

  22. Ferrari is just panicking.

  23. RacingForIndia
    25th May 2011, 2:57

    A decision influenced by Nando, as he knows what Fry is capable of, from his time at McLaren in 07?
    Cant rule that out can we?

    1. Possibly.

  24. I don’t know, I have mixed feelings about this decision.

    I think Costa also made good cars besides this ‘truck’ which the 150th is, for example the 2006-2008 and 2010 models were all relatively competitive, some of them were even the car to beat. And I like continuity more.

    On the other hand Fry has a very good reputation, had a hand in the equally competitive 2007-2008 and 2010 McLarens, although I think his role in these cars were less than Costas’ in the Ferraris.

    Obviously the 2012 Ferrari is going to be a Fry-baby from the very beginning. Probably now is the time they start to lay out the main focus points.

    All in all, I can’t see why the Scuderia has more chance of building a winning car that they had with Costa.

  25. Ferrari is looking more and more like the ferrari of the 80’s. To tell you the truth i think alonso got there a little bit too late.
    And santader’s botin is getting tired of all this. Ja ja. Who he think he is? He will have too eat truck loads of it.

  26. This has Alonso’s involvement written all over it. Most people getting sacked in same team he’s in. Remember Hungary 2006 when that wheel nut fall of. Mechanic was fired day after, last year Chris Dyer and now Costa.
    Apparently he feels positive atmosphere today, because Costa is gone.

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