Montezemolo wants answers over lack of progress

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo says he wants to know why the upgrades Ferrari brought to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix did not meet their expectations.

“The weekend was hard to read,” Montezemolo told Ferrari’s website. “That began with Saturday evening when I watched a situation that was not entirely clear.”

“As far as Ferrari is concerned I want to understand why the new parts that we brought to the track only partially improved the performance of the F2012, which wasn’t enough to allow Alonso to fight for the very front positions on the grid – despite the contrasting expectations of our engineers.”

Montezemolo says he has urged team principal Stefano Domenicali to ensure their car is closer to its rivals in the final races.

“It’s clear that we have to do more for the coming races,” he said. “That is what I requested today of Domenicali and his team: we have ten crucial days ahead, during which we must do everything to arrive in Texas with a car that can fight for the victory. Words count for nothing: this must be our target.”

The Ferrari president praised Fernando Alonso’s efforts in scoring his 11th podium finish of the year: “To start sixth and finish second, despite only benefiting from one retirement from another car, clearly shows the pedigree of Fernando’s race yet again.

“Of course, yesterday morning we were all hoping to gain back a few more points in the championship given Vettel’s starting position. Instead he produced a fine race too, even if the two safety car periods certainly didn’t help us.”

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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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83 comments on “Montezemolo wants answers over lack of progress”

  1. Firstly, what is LdM going to do – actually *fire* someone, or is this just more empty posturing that people will learn to ignore like all his other threats?

    Secondly, I’m pretty sure their car came second. It also beat the Red Bulls (under admittedly peculiar circumstances)… Regardless of what the engineers and PR say, maybe they’ve just hit the development ‘limit’ of the F2012.

    1. Firstly, what is LdM going to do – actually *fire* someone, or is this just more empty posturing that people will learn to ignore like all his other threats?

      Well, he might actually fire someone. And that someone is Domenicalli. But I find it hard to believe that’s gonna happen right away. However, if they lose the WDC this year and make a mess out of 2013 as well, I can see some big changes happening at the Scuderia…

      1. LdM should have fired SD in 2010 when he missed called a pit stop and blotched Alonso chances of winning a championship by 3 points. Stephen has got to go , he’s lack imagination and he has NO FREAKING idea what’s doing when it comes to running a F1 team. The prancing horse needs to take the gloves off and bring back the the 1999-2004 where they were spending money like it grew on trees.

        Fine this is the era of AERO, cool whatever. Then spend the money to dominate. That includes massive investments in wind tunnel, recruiting from the top engineering & aero space schools in the world, and bringing a team principal who knows what it takes to win and has won both the constructors & WDC …..his name is Flavio Briatore.

        Flavio the prancing horse is in need of your services and your favorite driver Mr. Fernando Alonso .

        1. SD does not make those calls (the strategizers do) so he cant be held responsible.

        2. Chris Dyer made the call in 2010, lost his job before the 2011 season started

      2. I don’t think he want to fire him, Domenicalli asked to be released prior to this year or year before, but was asked to stay with Ferrari due to his management and logistics skills. Stefano not responsible for development of the car. Frankly, he does a great job by bringing the updates and keeping the resources spread out through the season. The issue is the quality of those updates.

    2. I think this is PR. Just to let frustrated Ferrari and Alonso fans know that the boss understands their frustrations and the car performance in quali is unacceptable for a team of their resources.

      If he wanted to fire up his team, than he can do so quietly.

  2. It does sound as though Luca is a more than a little miffed. I wonder how safe Domenicali’s job will be if Alonso doesn’t win the Championship this year, or indeed any of the design engineer’s jobs.

    1. @timothykatz I see your point:

      2010: Chris Dyer
      2011: Aldo Costa
      2012: ?

      1. I wonder if whoever goes will also be replaced by Pat Fry?

        1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
          5th November 2012, 21:59

          Wasn’t pat fry responsible for the 2011 mclaren that was no where in testing and only got a podium in the first race by the grace of god? If it was he wants to watch he doesn’t get a reputation for that.

          If it was him there are erie similaritys 2 radical cars slated by the press during testing which turn out to not be as bad as all that. They win races and “challenge” for the championship, i say “challenge” because no one really battled seb last year but mclaren were closest.

    2. All of this was due to them failing to recognise earlier (2010 and 2011) that their wind tunnel was not good enough when compared to RBR’s wind tunnel (which is by far the most advanced in F1). Around a month ago they stopped using the Maranello wind tunnel completely to do an entire overhaul and upgrade.

      They have had to test each component at both the Toyota wind tunnel and at Maranello, which is really hurting their development by adding another overhead and delays to the processes.

      I dont think they will fire Fry, as he seems to be the best developer that Ferrari has had for a while.

      I’m a little hesitant about the staff they hired when Toyota dropped out. Toyota was also plagued with under performing upgrades, which makes me think someone Ferrari hired from the Toyota team could be to blame.

      1. @infy All my sources say Sauber’s WT is the best in F1 – not RBR’s. Who told you it was RBR’s tunnel?

        Remember though that the best resources does not mean success is guaranteed.

        1. @infy @raymondu999 I heard Red Bull said their WT is old so takes time to run when there was talk about WT running time(related with RRA). Maybe Toyota one is the best. or now-gone double Honda full scale tunnel of history? Anyway it’s interesting to hear Sauber has good one. At least BMW gives them good gift. Isn’t there Albert 2 super computer as well?

          1. @eggry yes – they do have that as well. To be honest – the guy that helped modernise (he didn’t start them) these aero facilities with Sauber was Willem Toet, the guy who started the Ferrari wind tunnel. Having said that – a large part of his design was thrown out the window by LdM, because LdM said that he wanted everything Ferrari did to look beautiful, and be a work of art.

            In fact the Sauber WT is so good that Audi subcontracted the Hinwil tunnel in order to WT their R18 LMP cars.

            The issue with the slow Red Bull WT is that it has a massive fan. As with anything, a windtunnel doesn’t go from off to on. It accelerates the air from 0kph (in off state) to X kph (in on state) – and Red Bull’s wind tunnel takes a longer time to accelerate to that speed. If the RRA is written “you are only allowed Y hours of wind tunnel” – then if Red Bull’s wind tunnel takes 2 minutes to get to running speed, versus 1 minute for other tunnels (these are random, not exact numbers) then they are disadvantaged by a minute of windtunnel time.

          2. @raymondu999

            then they are disadvantaged by a minute of windtunnel time.

            even with it, they said they didn’t use full WT time permitted. What a efficiency.

          3. @eggry From memory Sauber’s super wind-tunnel pre-dates the BMW purchase though I don’t know whether BWW developed it further in their time?

            @infy – interesting that Ferrari are also using the Toyota wind-tunnel given the underperforming upgrades point you mention. It does seem a little strange to solve your aero problems by hiring Toyota engineers to work in the Toyota wind tunnel, especially if you recall that the TF103 was considered to be a copy of the F2002.

          4. @JerseyF1 Well, Toyota engineers might be not good at designing car but their facility is state of the art.(this is typical word when any technical media saying about their WT!) so as far as it’s well calibrated, It should work very well and helpful.

          5. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
            5th November 2012, 21:47

            Sauber built the tunnel before bmw it was one of the main attractions for them buying into the team. It is also the best in formula one.

  3. Well, Alonso not only benefited from Hamilton’s retirement, but also from Maldonado’s KERS failure.

    1. + Vettel’s penalty and a crazy dingo (unusualy) in the 2nd Red Bull – Okay he made no mistakes – but qualifying 3/4th row in Austin and having an incident free drive will probably not be enough.

      1. @thejudge13 You made me lol… crazy dingo… lol

        1. Best idom I could think of. He was like some rabid out of control animal foaming at the mouth. Very unlike Aussie grit.

          It was almost as though Vettel was so far out of it that Mark was too excited and just let it all hang out – literally – into Maldonado & Grosjean VERY IRONICALLY.

    2. Since when is having a faster car, lucky? No one truly expected the Williams to be competitive in the race, so the alleged Kers problem is really not even worth mentioning.

      Why don’t we also mention how Vettel only overtook the cars ahead of him because they were slower?

      1. Since when is having a faster car, lucky?

        When your name is Vettel, apparently.

        1. Since when is having a faster car, lucky?

          Is that question a joke?

  4. For a person who talks quite a lot, to say that words count for nothing is pretty ironic.

    1. He he – good point. They are Italian, so can’t blame them too much.

      Though they do have their moments of genius – let’s hope they stumble upon some in the last two races.
      Come on Alonso!

  5. Good point. We often, or atleast I do, point to how disappointing McLaren have been in the years since Whitmarsh took over. Ferrari themselves have not won anything since 2007, and ofcourse threw the 2010 title away through adopting a bad strategy for Alonso. Luca has every right to be upset, its his gig and the team have not delivered. I don’t think anybody can complain about Fernando, but Ferrari and Domenicali are now running out of excuses for not winning championships.

    1. Apart from not having the best car because of various political reasons and running a terrible weighted driver policy?

    2. I don’t really agree. I think Ferrari certainly learned to put together a phenomenal trackside operation crew after the blunders of 2008 and that costly mistake of 2010. In other words, they did learn from them – something I’m eager to see if McLaren will be able to achieve next year.

      So Ferrari has one of the best, if not the outright best, driver on the grid, a faultless strategic and pit team – the only thing lacking is a smart development team in Maranello.

      In other words, I often compare McLaren and Ferrari in this way: McLaren has or had the best car or at least a very competitive car for most of the year, but screwed up their trackside operations, whereas Ferrari excels in trackside operation, but has a dog car.

      1. Except it’s not a dog car.

        1. Relatively. To Red Bull.

      2. That is Dominicali’s area of expertise, and thats why he was asked to stay with Ferrari when he decided to quit.

  6. Interestingly Ferrari hasnt been on top since the new rules came into effect in 2009

    1. Well thats because Ferrari has the FIA in their pocket… oh wait…

      1. Interestingly Ferrari hasnt been on top since the new rules came into effect in 2009

        That’s because of Newey and Red Bull. Hypothetically speaking, without them Alonso would have been champion and 9-time race winner in 2010, and already champion in 2012. Just saying.

  7. Without saying that all is lost for Ferrari, but the time to have brought the updates that mattered was probably around/after Singapore. I bet the Red Bull crew spent more time in the factory and less in the beach during the summer break.
    Still, Ferrari are very close and anything can happen. As a Ferrari supporter myself, I hope Luca’s “Godfather” approach brings results anyway.

    1. I hope Luca’s “Godfather” approach brings results anyway.

      :) A sliver bullet?

      1. Horse’s head in Newey’s bed?

        1. @john-h I like it :-) Though perhaps a bull’s head would be more appropriate…

    2. All factories were shut down during the summer break.

      1. Thanks I didn’t know that, but my point anyway was that Red Bull have proven more efficient which I assume is due to harder work (?)

        1. Just because people aren’t building the parts or designing stuff on a computer, it doesn’t mean the designers aren’t thinking of new bits to add.

          Just like an engineer can’t unlearn aerodynamics, they can’t unthink eureka moments they have whilst on said beach.

  8. Ferrari is a great team; there is no denying that. But someone has to be the best. For the last 3 years, RBR has been the most efficient team in developing cars that could not be proven to break the FIA rules, and, as importantly, RBR has been the team which consistently brings upgrades at the fastest pace. The beginning of 2012 was not very encouraging for RBR, including some tough calls by the FIA about the legality of some components. Nevertheless, they have an incredible engineering group, under Newey’s leadership, bringing car enhancements ALL the time. Ferrari, for some reason, can not keep pace with RBR’s development speed.

    Further, Felipe Massa’s first 3/4 of the season meant that Alonso’s did not have any support to steal points from Vettel, while Webber “stole” many points from Fernando. If Ferrari had had a faster second driver this season, the standings in the championship board could be different.

    1. Webber only finished ahead of Alonso 5 times and only did once since his win in Brittain, so it isn’t really Webber that stole the points from Alonso.

      1. This season Webber has taken 8 points from Vettel and 19 points from Alonso. Massa has not taken any points from Vettel or Alonso.

        So, if Webber had been performing as poorly as Massa and had not taken any points out of Vettel and Alonso, then Vettel would have 8 more points, for a total of 263, and Alonso would have 19 more points, for a total of 264.

        1. Thank you for doing the math, demetris. It clearly shows that Webber helped Vettel, while Massa…..helped Vettel, as well. :))

    2. Ferrari just don’t get the fact that they need a faster driver in the second car who can take points away from Vettel.

      Massa get’s retained for another season because Alonso want’s a driver that’s not going to bother him but the reality is that this approach is costing him the title. Unless Ferrari build a clearly dominante car, Alonso’s chances of winning a driver’s title with Massa as his team mate are very remote.

      1. SO what you’re saying is Massa should have been good boy like Piquet and smashed into the side of Vettel?

        1. Or like how Webber had a big accident that brought out the safety car right after Vettel took a pit stop in Abu Dhabi?

    3. Alonso got a lot of points by LH retiring way to often … even though as Whitmarsh stated himself, McLaren definitely had the best car in the first and thrid quarter of the season. And the Ferarris weren’t that bad as some Ferarristi want us to believe. First of all they are extremely reliable – which of course is a quality in itself – that is better than a car that is a bit faster but regularly retires. And secondly Ferarri had some exceptional pace in some races. Just remember how Alonso left the McLarens in the dust on the first straight at the Indian GP? That was quite impressive for a massively slow car …. yeah right …
      They like to weave a myth … which I don’t buy ….

  9. I think I heard this kind of thing several times this year. When was the last time? Did Ferrari really improved after LdM’s encouraging(?)? Whatever, I hope Ferrari would find qualifying pace in next 2 races. I want fight not slow collapse!

    1. Agreed.
      Despite Alo’s valiant efforts, watching RBR/VET’s unchallenged march and, more importantly, Ferrari’s impotence in responding to it, has been excruciting to watch. VET has been outstanding exploiting the tools given to him, no doubt – we just want an even fight!

  10. Here we go again, here comes the tiresome operatic politician, looking for shortcomings in anyone but himself….

    1. Haha got a laugh out of ‘operatic politician’!! He really should shut up a bit more. His constant demands can’t help Ferrari make the car quicker, they probably only serve to ratchet up the tension in the team.

  11. People talk about there wind tunnel been bad in 2010, 2011 & 2012 yet there 2010 car was actually very good & probably the best car in the 2nd half of that year.

    They lost the 2010 title because of a bad strategy cal, Not because of a bad car.

    1. You can’t say 2010 car was best in the later part of the year when RB6 stormed pole to win.

      1. If they had the best car in 2010, they would have not needed strategy call.

        1. astonished (@)
          6th November 2012, 9:03

          I think that Alonso never complained about that call. He might be frustrated, of course, but the WDC was lost by 3 points and he knows only too well that if, for instance, he wouldn’t have smashed his car in Monaco FP3 the history might be different.

      2. @eggry
        While the Ferrari in 2010 actually was quite a good car, yes it lacked pace, but it was miles ahead in terms of reliability so while it didn’t even it self out, it did make up for it somewhat. And that car did start very very well while Red Bull did have some regular problems with getting off the line both on Webber and Vettel’s car.
        But you are right that the Red Bull was quite clearly the best car that year. It just was. Especially later on when they had ironed out their mechanical problems and still had the fastest car.

  12. One of the best cars in the field is undoubtly Sauber, recognized by many in F1. Last year James Key, the mind behind this years car left the team and joined STR, being Ferrari a team that clearly lacks competence in this area, why didn´t they hired him? Can´t they see what is evident, more staff is needed, besides of course an updated wind tunnel?!
    Of course that if they hire Newey for next season they shall be forgiven! :)
    Newey and Alonso, the true dream team for Ferrari…

    1. @pnunocosta
      Its not a guarantee that Newey would work wonders with Ferrari. After all, a large portion of Red Bull’s resent success comes from the fact that Newey does not only design the cars, but also effectively designed the design team around his work flow and standards. In turn, there was none of that Newey – McLaren problems where neither really got the best out of each other because of differences in their approach to things.
      The same would likely happen to an unknown extent at Ferrari unless they make it a long term project and gives Newey 110% control over every single aspect of design and testing and allow him to hire and fire staff as he sees fit.
      But I guess Ferrari wouldn’t really mind taking that risk.

    2. Newey won’t leave UK unfortunately for Ferrari. I think I read this somewhere when they offered him millions before.

  13. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    5th November 2012, 22:04

    Translation: Hold onto your heads gentlemen! Hold on!:-)

  14. I agree. And massa should have not let vettel pass yesterday but massa’s spin with webber allowed vettel to win that spot. So the most mediocre driver ever (massa) did not did his job yesterday.

  15. The Agnelli should fire Montezemolo instead.

  16. Gary Anderson has an interesting theory on the source of Ferrari’s woes:-

  17. “two safety car periods certainly didn’t help us.” … yes, they did … in the first one, Vettel damaged his nose, which he had to replace which brought him back to the end of the field after being already 13th. And concerning the second one, it benefitted every driver in the front, except for Kimi! Everyone else got a shot at the car driving in front of them …

    Let me summarize for you why you were extremely lucky …
    1. Vettel only having 5 minutes of a 1 hour quali session because they had major problems
    2. Vettel making only 3rd in quali, even though everyone (including the pole setter LH) expected him 1st. If he had had more time than just 5 minutes, it probably would have happened.
    3. Vettel’s mistake in the first safety car session (stupid enough one must say) when he damaged his wing, having to pit and start over at the end of the field
    4. MW messing up his start.
    4. Maldonados KERS failing, otherwise who knows … Williams had some competitive car this race ..
    5. LH’s McLaren to fail
    6. safety car phase 2, which gave Alonso a shot at Kimi …
    7. Nobody expecting Vettel to make it to the podium having to start from 24. Position 6-8 were already high expectations …

    I am sure Ferarri felt extremely happy about every single misfortune of Vettel starting with having only 5 minutes to qualify – and I am sure you felt lucky with every other misfortune and celebrated it as long as it lasted. Besides, Alonso himself said that he is happy with any result as long as he finishes in front of Vettel. Well he did. Consider yourself happy and lucky then. Why the long faces? Under normal conditions, it was expected that Alonso would have lost at least another 10 points to Vettel. A probable outcome on Friday for the race was 1. Vettel (25) 2. LH (18) 3. KR (15) or FA or MW – on Saturday (before the demotion of Vettel) a likely outcome would have been 1.LH or Vettel (25 or 18 respectively) 3.KR, FA or MW (15) ….

    so again … consider yourself lucky … you gained three points instead of losing 10 or more … and stop whining …. it’s pathetic …

    1. Pray tell, how did Hamilton failing benefited Ferrari over RBR in any way or form? The difference in number of points would still be the same… not to mention without the second safety car Vettel wouldn’t catch Button, so you are arguing out of nowhere right there – about something that could have gone right for Ferrari and no mention about how it actually went right for RBR.

      So you are trying way too much right there son… what’s the word you used again? Ah, yes… pathetic…

  18. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    6th November 2012, 3:29

    I think one of the Ferrari engineers should come out and say in a Spanish accent:

    – We changed the rear wing, no improvement
    – We removed the rear wing, no improvement
    – We changed the front wing, no improvement
    – We removed the front wing, no improvement

    We can repeat 100 times, the result is always the same! The car is at maximum – no possible improvement can be gained. We have made the perfect car!

    1. We changed the drivers, it works!

  19. Sorry to say….I think Stefano is not capable of his job. Someone must take charge his post with immediate effect. Maybe Stefano is more suitable in gathering human resource and in bussiness development or something like funding resources for the team. The Scuderia needs a leader whose well experiences in technical and has very strong leadership. A leader who knows how to make his team work according to their expectations and maybe up to 200%. The Scuderia cannot rely on one Nation only but must open the door wide to welcome more geniuses to come into their world.

    1. As said previously, exactly for that reason, LdM should be fired or take a distant step away from F1 team. I think he is having a hard time accepting that Ferrari mechanics are more intelligent than he is in current days of F1. His non-sense talk now and then only upsets and puts the team on the spot.

  20. I think the F2012 has reached it’s potential to be honest which is a shame. It has been a solid car in race trim but has really lacked that one lap pace. If we can find 2 tenths for our qualifying pace for the last two races that would be very good just ensure Alonso is minimum 2nd row of the grid rather than 5th or 6th.

    1. That is strange..since Lotus team still have 2 more upgrades with half of the resources/money Ferrari team have. Corruption at Ferrari?

      1. No I don’t think so, Lotus have done really well this year. They have built a consistent car and they are closing the gap on McLaren in the constructors. I think Ferrari designed a car with initial flaws and trying to improve it is proving more difficult then they would have hoped for. They made a big leap with the upgrades for the Spanish GP but since then seems to have stalled a bit.

        1. But Alonso is a car builder, how come they designed cars with initial flaws? lol

  21. maybe what Ferrari needs is a more flexible nose like the RB one that seems to bend with high speeds.

    1. Gary Anderson from the BBC feels it is an issue with the rear diffuser that prevents Ferrari from being quick in qualifying

  22. Maybe the F2012’s downforce is too high… that’s why it cannot match RB8’s pace. Am i right???????

  23. Problem is, Ferrari started out quite badly and really benefited from consistent drives while McLaren and RBR were busy botching it up. Their early-mid season performance has flattered them, they’ve never had the best car so for him to expect it now is a good expectation to have, but nowhere near realistic. They were always going to suffer when one of the other teams stopped messing about.

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