Domenicali: Mugello test “very important” for Ferrari

2012 F1 season

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Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali admitted next week’s Mugello test is “very important” for the team as they seek to solve the problems with the F2012.

Ferrari began the season well off the pace and have struggled to reach the top ten in qualifying. Fernando Alonso took advantage of wet weather in Malaysia to score a surprise win.

With three weeks until the next race Ferrari are readying a major upgrade package which will first be seen in a three-day test at Mugello. Their season hinges whether the new parts can deliver a performance gain of around a second per lap.

Domenicali said: “The coming days will be very important, during which the primary objective will be to push as hard as possible on the development of the car.

“Next week we have three days of testing at Mugello, but it’s not definite that all the updates planned for Barcelona will be seen then. We must try and make the most of every minute available to us to increase the performance of the F2012.”

He added the team are making more deep-rooted changes to address the fundamental lack of performance they have experienced in the last two seasons: “We are intensifying the process of changing our working procedures in all areas and, at the same time, we are strengthening our efforts in areas where we are weakest, such as aerodynamics.

“It’s a long-term project and one that president Montezemolo is studying at first hand and it is vital to the future of the Scuderia. Formula 1 has changed so much these past few years and we have not always been up to speed with these changes. In this area too we need to step up a gear.”

Domenicali praised Alonso’s efforts in staying in the hunt for the drivers championship early in the season: “We managed to limit the damage, especially in the drivers’ championship, in which Fernando Alonso is fifth, just ten points off the leader.

“However, it is equally clear that now we must step up a gear, right from the next race. Our engineers are well aware of this and are working day and night to give our drivers a much more competitive car than we have seen on track in these first four races.”

He added: “Felipe [Massa] has also reacted in a positive fashion to the initial difficulties and I am sure the fact he has finally managed to end his scoreless run in terms of points will give him confidence for the forthcoming races.”

2012 F1 season

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Image © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

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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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49 comments on “Domenicali: Mugello test “very important” for Ferrari”

  1. Dump the current car and build a version of the MP427…

    1. Why Redbull, Lotus and Mercedes were faster packages at the weekend. The next few races will tell but I fancy Mclaren to slide down the order. Even starting with the quickest car they are so inept hence no constructers for past 13 seasons. Ferrari have got everything right apart from aero which was a big change for them this year. Now they have a chance to improve having lost barely anything to rivals so far.

      1. That’s would be awful for them, however, I’m not that pessimistic about McLaren, I think they must improve their race pace because it’s OK on Saturdays, at least I still see HAmilton fighting for pole in Spain but that race pace will not keep in in top three for many laps.

        1. I think what’s more disappointing is Hamilton’s performance this season. Sure, he still has a strong points tally, but he doesn’t look like the same driver who maximises every opportunity in a top notch car. Even if Mclaren were to slide down the order as the season went on, it is Lewis who has to start putting in extraordinary performances to keep the season alive.

          1. Overall still the most consistent car of this season. The ebb and flow of what we have seen so far this year will reflect that consistency is what will win this championship of the odd looking Formula One Cars.

    2. You would want a combination of the Mercedes for qualifying and Red Bull for the races in my opinion…

    3. Or, because the car is homologated, do the best with what you have!

  2. for the test next week, the parts they have planned for the car wont bring a second per lap improved performance. nor for the Spanish GP…maybe half a second per lap on their lap times and 2 or 3 tenths reduced gap to Mclaren; 1-2 tenths reduced gap to RBR and Lotus IF they are lucky the parts work to perfection.

    1. You’re making it seem as if the Mclarens are the quickest, when clearly Red Bull & Lotus were faster…

    2. I’m not sure about anything.

  3. In a way I hope Ferrari improve, because it’s always nice to see the prancing horse cross the line in first, but then again I’d still rather see Vettel win the triple…

    1. Ferrari for me but I really appreciate a super talented, determined intelligent driver. Vettel is very very good and what he did showed Mclarens drivers how to maximise an advantage as he did for most the races last year and one good thing about the rb being slower is all the detractors saying he cannot overtake now have to shut it.

      As I said though Forza Ferrari.

      1. I don’t think there’s much to blame McLaren drivers apart from Jenson clipping an HRT. Their race pace is not all that and their pit stop errors have cost both drivers dearly (Lewis 3/4 and Jenson 1/4). They were very good in China, Hamilton was demoted to P7 and finished 3rd, Button was “killed” by a pit error. Plus, I’m not expecting a dominant Vettel like last year.

      2. I agree, he can race (obviously he’s better off pole as many drivers are) but he showed us in the first race of the season he can overtake with that fantastic pass on Rosberg.
        I think I’d be happy to see Alonso win again though, but definately not Hamilton…in my opinion he’s ways too arogant and always makes bad excuses for bad form (remember last year). At least Vettel has the decency to tell it as it is when something goes wrong…

        1. Must say I agree with your Hamilton critics. People say he is still young and will mature and will cut back on his arrogant ways, but lets just look at Vettel for comparisons. He isn’t arrogant at all, he has a calm head and goes about his business. Seeing Hamilton drive is like waiting for a disaster to happen.

          1. It looks like you guys have really short memory.
            cucumber, idiot…
            No, this is not arrogance at all.

          2. The whole cucumber thing was a misinterpretation. Apparently there is some German saying about slow drivers being cucumbers or something, something they say for fun and is supposed to be light hearted. Vettel was simply referring to that saying.

          3. Yeah right! And what about “Like on normal roads, you have some idiots driving around. It seems there is also one driving here.”?

          4. In 2011, Hamilton was honest enough to admit that he is going through personal problems in life and does not have a bubble around him. He was damn honest about it. He never blamed the car but blamed himself. Though I am not a Lewis fan but I appreciate his hunger and honesty.

            Vettel = courtesy? Turkey 2010?, Malaysia 2011? Showing middle finger to NK?

            I am not saying Seb is arrogant. In fact he is a very friendly wc and a great human but when something goes wrong, we see his frustrations.

          5. Sorry I meant Malaysia 2012

      3. He is doing well but at the moment he is relying a lot on Webber for set up – it will be interesting after the next raft up updates to see if he is able to tailor the car more to his liking, and if he does, Id be seriously worried.

        1. @banburyhammer – Webber does most of the set-up work for the reason that he prefers the balance of the car with the new parts. Although Red Bull will need to taylor the car to Vettel if they want to win the championship, as he is the better driver

  4. I agree, he can race (obviously he’s better off pole as many drivers are) but he showed us in the first race of the season he can overtake with that fantastic pass on Rosberg.
    I think I’d be happy to see Alonso win again though, but not Hamilton…in my opinion he is way too arogant and always makes excuses for bad form (remember last year). At least Vettel has he decency to tell it as it is when something goes wrong….

    1. What excuses? I think he’s been very tough on himself. You don’t have to hate Hamilton just because you like Vettel, it’s like people who believe they must hate Ronaldo in order to love Messi, that’s pathetic.

      1. He is tough on himself, but for pretty rubbish ‘excuses’, remember last years episode with Nicole Scherzinger which caused him to hit Massa several times which ruined both their seasons? Whilst Button was the only one capable of catching Vettel?

        1. @vettel1 Sir I cannot stand inconsistent people, just like you. You argue that Vettel is not arrogant but you talking about the kid who a few weeks ago was very disrespectful towards a fellow driver who he called cucumber, someone here has siad it was a misintepretation and I wonder what would he say if it was Hamilton using the same words. Poor Hamilton, he’s keeping his cool and he’s not beefing with anybody and is actually making an interesting championship so what’s your problem with him?

          1. My problem with Hamilton is he also has an arrogant driving style, and Vettel’s arrogance I admit was not acceptable, but I can understand his frustration from being removed from a strong points scoring position due to a mistake from Karthikeyan.
            I can understand your point though, I like Vettel but do not like Hamilton, I don’t mind Button though..

          2. Arrogant drive style? I didn’t knew that a driving style can be arrogant. Anyway if you dodn’t like his driving style please remove the Ayrton Senna avatar because he had a very similar style.

    2. Hamilton isn’t a triple world champion, Hamilton isn’t the fastest F1 driver of all time (he’s not even the fastest in Mclaren in my opinion), but, most importantly, Hamilton has a rubbish personality, unlike Ayrton.

  5. I hope they make a huge jump and can start getting consistent podiums. If the top 5 teams are only within a couple of tenths of eachother all year, this season is going to be amazing!

  6. In a dream scenario we have Alonso joining the front and Kimi returning to winning ways, making it possibly a 7 way fight for the title!(excluding Massa for obvious reasons, Grosjean for inexperience and Webber as I think Sunday may be indicative of Seb returning to 2011 form).
    Anyway, I think that Ferrari will really struggle to bring this car up to the front end properly. Unless they’ve found some fatal flaw in their design that will right a lot of the performance deficit it is a monumental task for any team to turn around such a gap.

    Maybe the updates will be good, but not incredible, and Ferrari will be like Mercedes last season – comfortably ahead of the midfield yet just off the race winning teams.

  7. I think the excuses from Maranello are wearing thin..they have been singing the same tune for the past couple years, where the car has not been up to speed at all. 2010 was a combination of luck and pure genius from Alonso, apart from that, they havent been at the sharp end for the since 08.

    The appointment of Pat Fry was a move in the right direction, but to expect improvement overnight was perhaps an unreasonable ask. Fry comes from a different culture all together, which means he will need time to instil his influence onto the team of Engineers at Ferrari. Lets see how patient LDM is, I still feel they reacted to slow as F1 changed over the last couple years. A long term plan should have been drafted since 2006 when Ross Brawn and Co left Ferrari.

    I would really like to hope that Ferrari will be competitive this season, Alonso deserves a shot at a third WDC.

    1. I think what hit Ferrari the worst was the major regulation change for the 2009 season. Up until then, the cars were merely evolutions of previous season’s cars and learnings. In 2009 they needed a great design and engineering team to draft a strong car that was going to be modified over the seasons to come. In 2009 their car failed, and 2010 their approach was better but not good enough, and in 2012 they decided to go fresh on car design. Now Ferrari, are still looking for a strong foundation to build on.

      Red Bull is a classic example of how the 2009 season helped them. A great Newey design that has evolved from 2009 to still remain the class of the field. They have stuck with the elements that worked, and came up with innovative ideas to build on a strong foundation.

    2. Bear in mind, Ferrari had unlimited testing and 2 circuits, 4 drivers and 2 windtunnels running 24 hours a day.
      That was removed with the RRA and the testing ban in season.
      What Fry has found coming from a British team is the team is behind on simulation equipment etc. Costa isn’t a bad designer/ director, but he carried on working as when Brawn and Byrne ran Ferrari technically. He didn’t improve the infrastructure.
      Since 2009, Ferrari has slowly been performing worse, but Fry and Alonso will turn it around. After all, it took Schumi, Brawn, Byrne and Todt from 1996 to 2000 to win the WDC

      1. I think that’s one of the biggest issues and one that doesn’t get mentioned enough when discussing Ferrari’s development.

        There were two ways teams could go with their design budget, either build a test track and develop all of their design procedures and methods around physical testing or spend the time and money developing simulators, computer modelling and rig testing.

        Ferrari built Fiorano and got very good at pounding around the track honing their cars, then testing got banned and they almost had to hit the reset button and catch up with all of the other teams methods and expertise.

        The Brawn/Byrne/Todt team were replaced by promoting existing staff rather than bringing in people from other teams so they probably didn’t know where they were compared to everyone else. Now they have Fry on board they have an idea where the team is behind McLaren at least and that could be the changes he’s talking about.

    3. wasn’t Fry in Mclaren last year ? wasn’t Mc bad since test last year ? If so how can it possibly Fry be a step in right direction, the guy is not cut for this always talking how bad his design is in TV himself first, all others are delivering quietly

  8. Ferrari should cut Alonso’s (and Massa’s) salary to a level of other World Champions and use money to invest in brain power that will actually help them to build a better car.

    Alonso is amazing driver, but he is not helping building a winning car like Shummi used to(if he does he failed completely this season), so he should be paid accordingly.

    If you look at all top teams, Ferrari is a dinosaur in relation to pay package, and that resources other teams use on making cars go faster.

    1. I dont think resources are the problem at Ferrari. They have hired some very expensive technical resources in Pat Fry and Hirode (ex bridgestone tyre analyst), so it shows that there is no shortage of resources.

      I dont think reducing their driver salaries anymore would do any good either. Lets face it, Alonso is too good a driver to belong at Ferrari right now, and why would you want to tick the best performing member of your team off?

      Also think the amount of praise given to Schumacher for ‘making’ the Ferrari challenger a winner is rubbish. They had Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne in engineering and design, and Jean Todt as the political animal to bend the rules in Ferrari’s favour. Yet, it took Schumacher 5 seasons to finally win a title with Ferrari… and when he did, he was automatically labelled as a driver who helps improve the car.

  9. What happened to the good old days when Ferrari was coming out with new technology, that was being copied by other teams, and even leading some teams to spy on them? Ferrari is now stuck on copying new technology from teams such as Sauber and Mercedes. I say bring back Rory Brine.

    1. “Good old days”? It’s just three years without a championship and I still think it’s within reach this year. Guys at Ferrari like to complain, but I believe that the car isn’t as bad as they make it to be.

      People say that Ferrari can’t make a good car, even though they have a “pure genius” of Alonso on their side. We’ve heard that for the last two years and I don’t believe it any more. I think that Ferrari is still one of the top teams, they had a great car in 2010 and are still capable of joining the championship battle this year. I think that Massa is really distorting the image of this team. He’s a good guy, but I think his under-performance gives us the wrong impression of the car.

      1. I agree with the Massa thing, but I think if anyone is to blame it’s Ferrari themselves. After his injury he was taking some time to get back on track, and then the incident at Nürburgring happened. I mean Massa’s confidence must have taken a major hit from being asked to move and let his new team-mate pass him. He never really recovered from that confidence bashing experience. I think Ferrari might have mis-handled that entire issue (I agree Alonso is the stronger driver in the team, but they needed to control the situation properly).

    2. You do realise its more a case of the Ferrari being not quite good enough as opposed to an abomination? Its all over the place, and yet the ultimate pace in Alonso’s hands isnt that far off. If they figure it out soon, theyll have lots of areas where they can make up lots of time.

  10. “Domenicali: Mugello test “very important” for Ferrari”
    should be
    “Domenicali: Mugello test “very important” for my job”

    1. Domenicali’s job was never at risk in 2010 he resigned after losing WDC but Luca di Montezemolo refused his resignation he’s responsible to control the costs prepare the logistics ….. he’s not responsible for designing the car!!!!!!!!!!!!.

      1. Yes, quite right. I was merely being facetious, using a version of Keith’s headline to poke fun at Ferrari in attempted comedic effect.

  11. No doubt Ferrari will improve but the question is, how much relative to everyone else? Even if Ferrari make up 1s/lap during the test, which is a big ask, if the other teams only improve by a few tenths, they’re going to suffer, especially in qualifying.

  12. In my view, this season will show Alonso´s real shortcomings. He is a VERY good driver, no question about it, but I can’t avoid remember that he won two world championships driving a dodgy car. Basically, he was unable to develop HIS car at McLaren and so far he has been unable to develop the Ferrari. Somewhere I read an article about how Ferrari decided to build this year’s model around Alonso’s driving style (hence, it seems, some of Massa’s problems to understand it), as they seems to believe the old story that he brings 7 tenth of a second with him. We can see the results.
    In that sense, Massa, with almost ten years in the house, is much more used to the Ferrari work culture, but it seems to me that recent statements about the need to change the “culture”, the “way of doing things” in Ferrari reveals a deep problem and transition inside the team.
    For all that, I don’t think that Alonso and Massa are the best drivers for Ferrari now. I truly hope Ferrari improves his game, but I expect the other teams also will bring new developments very soon. After four races, all of them have a better idea of the problems to address.

    1. So in other words are you saying Perez and Koba made this new Sauber, give me a break, Fernando can drive and reasonably set ups the car for race, what else you want fro him, draw it ?

      1. I’ll give you a break, of course. But also explain that what I am saying is: you give Alonso a good car and he will be the fastest driver in the track. You give him a mediocre car and he will be unable to improve it. It is a completely different thing. It is the ability to guide the engineers and development team to new directions with the base they already have. Williams signed Barrichello and for two years he drove a dog, but he brought essential input to improve the car and helped move the team to the right direction. Button is the same kind of driver. Schuchacher did that at Ferrari already.
        So, IMO, is Ferrari improves this season (and it will) I feel it will be so because of the resources that Ferrari have in their pockets, not because Alonso or Massa showed a viable path for improvements.

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