Spa updates were ‘a step backwards’ – Domenicali

2011 F1 season

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Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari, 2011

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali admits the team compounded its poor start to 2011 with their development programme.

Domenicali said: “We started very badly but then, coming into summer, we staged a good recovery which, among other things, saw us take the significant win at Silverstone. Then we had a programme of further development on the car, which should have brought us much closer to the front runners.

“Unfortunately, the updates introduced in Spa did not produce the results we hoped for and so we took a step backwards, partly because by then, we had interrupted the development of the 150 Italia to concentrate all our energies on next year’s car.

“In the last few races we also tested a few ideas and parts which will be useful in the near future and we will continue to do that in Abu Dhabi and Brazil.”

Domenicali said the team must start 2012 with a more competitive car: “Clearly, we are not pleased, as we have said so often.

“In the remaining two races, we want to try and get on the podium and try all we can to get Fernando [Alonso] to second place in the drivers’ classification.

“Meanwhile, everyone at Maranello is working to produce a car that is competitive right from the start of next season, when, as we are well aware, we can have only one goal, which is victory.

He expects Alonso to return to Abu Dhabi next weekend with a heavy heart following his championship defeat there last year: “I am sure that, in the next few days, going back to Abu Dhabi will have an effect on Fernando, given what happened there last year, but this negative emotion will be a further incentive for him to turn things around in 2012.

“I am also counting heavily on Felipe [Massa’s] will to fight back as he knows next year will be a key one in which, and I’m convinced of it, he will be able to show his true worth.”

Domenicali also dismissed the latest speculation about Massa’s future with the team: “As for the rumours regarding all the drivers who are due to arrive in Maranello to replace him, I can only repeat my words and indeed those only recently uttered by our president, in every possible way, Felipe will also be with us in 2012 and that should make you understand how much faith we have in him.”

Nico Rosberg is the latest driver to be linked with Massa’s seat next season.

2011 F1 season

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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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26 comments on “Spa updates were ‘a step backwards’ – Domenicali”

  1. I can’t imagine what would happen in Maranello if Ferrari fail to at least challenge for the titles next year. They’ve said the same thing three seasons in a row now.

    1. Hopefully the start of a long slide back into the doldrums and different teams taking their place at the front of the field.

      1. I may be biased, being a fan, but I find a competitive Ferrari brings something special to a season. Likewise McLaren. I wouldn’t want one of the sports biggest names going back into the ‘doldrums’.
        Look at Williams – how many people would love to see them win again? I know I would.

      2. Hopefully for whom? McLaren fans? Keep dreaming.

        1. Ferrari turned away Brawn when he applied for Todt’s job because arrogant Luca wanted an all-Italian team again. I love that they have been punished for that in the years since. Domenicali is the only thing I like about the team, he’s open and decent enough, it seems. Not as good at the job as Horner or brawn, but a nice bloke.

          1. But wasn’t it Montezemelo who got in Todt and enabled him to build the Brawn-Byrne-Schumacher team in the first place?

          2. @bascb only because Ferrari were at the end of a 20 year losing streak, and were on the verge of becoming a laughing stock. Before that, DiMotezemelo presided over, as Lauda put it “spaghetti culture” at Ferrari – where being Italian was more important than being competent.

          3. @hairs, so you expect them to go back to a decade of being Italian now?

            I think they will mix it up front at least until the new rules come in, having wins and podiums (the title will be hard with just Fernando to fight for it and Vette in the Red Bull far ahead)

          4. @bascb It’ll come down to pride. Will Ferrari be prepared to admit mistakes and improve? They hired Pat Fry from McLaren, so that shows hope.

            Their best option however was to hire Ross Brawn. They passed it up. Who will they get to replace Domenicali? There aren’t many men for the job.

            Maybe Nick Fry would come over from Mercedes… :)

      3. I hope not. I really do not care about Ferrari, but having Alonso fighting at the front adds a lot of excitement to the season

      4. No, it would be preferable for there to be more teams challenging at the front, including big name pantomime villains Ferrari.

    2. Lets hope they dont allow Massa to get in Alonso’s way right from the start next year. Cant have him taking points off of Alonso, considering he lacks the speed to win the Championship.

      1. Not fast enough to win the title but fast enough to be ahead of Fernando? Weird hey?

        1. @coefficient

          Well, that is weird yes. But as weird as it sounds, it is exactly what happened on numerous occasions. And that has been the problem for Ferrari. If Massa hadn’t slowed Alonso on number of races last year, Alonso would have been the WDC. Best Massa can do is a good start or qualifying lap (or lucky), and then normally he slows other drivers down during the race.

  2. No matter which way you look at it, 2012 will be the defining season in Domenicalli’s reign at the Maranello. I can only hope the decision to keep Massa on does not cost Ferrari a championship.

    As impressed as I am with Rosberg, I don’t see where he fits into Ferrari. I saw where Button or even Webber would fit in, with the experience of being solid drivers finishing their careers before a Perez or Bianchi learned from Alonso before 2016. But Rosberg would be there for as long as Alonso (providing he showed his capabilities) and then it would be 2017 before Perez saw a Ferrari drive! By that time you’d hope he would be established as a strong GP driver with a basis with another top team.

  3. I feel Fernando has done a really good job taking the Ferrari around in the last 2 years. The true level of their car is clearly indicated by Massa’s pace, which is much slower than Alonso’s most of the time. Ferrari must pick up their game if they are to challenge for next year’s championship, simply speaking such lines will not do anymore.

    1. soundscape (@)
      7th November 2011, 3:29

      Saying that Massa shows the true pace of the Ferrari is like saying Webber shows the true pace of the Red Bull.
      The truth is, the driver’s speed is limited only by his ability, and the ability of the car. No driver can exceed a car’s capability.

  4. So, Ferrari admit that their technical upgrades didn’t work – at the same time as Luca di Montezemolo once again holds the sport hostage with Ferrari’s presence on the grid, insisting that the sport’s rules must be agreeable for them if they are to continue racing. What about the other eleven teams, Luca?

    1. You saw what he said. “Without Ferrari, there is no Formula 1” – LOL!

  5. I certainly do hope they’re fighting more next season. Formula 1 without some decent victories from Ferrari is just a little too alien.

  6. Ferrari need to change it’s management if they want to win for WC,this current sets of people won’t help them.

  7. I believe this years Ferrari is a really good car. Maybe one of the best they have ever made. Problem is no matter how good it is, it just isn’t as good as the REDBULLS . Take the RBs out of the picture and Alonso could have become world champion. McLaren lovers are probably foaming at the mouth over that comment. The truth hurts and in 2012 Ferrari will surprise the field with what is being built. The new car is something else.

    1. soundscape (@)
      9th November 2011, 21:48

      Wishful thinking. Please tell me why Button is ahead of Alonso by 13 points in the WDC if the Ferarri is such a fantastic car?

  8. “Felipe will also be with us in 2012” – but in what capacity? World’s fastest tea boy? ;-)

  9. I am afraid that ferrari started to slide back as they latinised the team
    now they have started to anglicise again I hope they will pick up …not because they are ferrari but because I like to see a dogfight for the titles …frankly I no longer see them as essential to F1 , but they have the budget to produce a top car

    now if only we could see a resurgence from renault and williams………..

  10. Alonso must be thrilled that they are going all out to get him second place!

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