Ferrari focus on 2014 after missing out on titles again

2013 F1 season review

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Ferrari did not hesitate to blame the mid-season alterations to the tyre constructions for part of their loss of competitiveness during 2013.

“We built a car to work with certain tyres, with which we proved to be very competitive,” explained president Luca di Montezemolo at the end of the season. “Then the tyres were changed, definitely proving to be a disadvantage for us and an advantage for others.”

But Ferrari aren’t kidding themselves – they also recognised where they went wrong in car development over recent seasons and have set about putting it right.

They began 2013 in competitive shape, winning twice in the first five races. But then a familiar story began – they took a wrong path in the development of the F138.

Ferrari team stats 2013

Best race result (number)1 (2)
Best grid position (number) 2 (1)
Non-finishes (mechanical/other) 3 (0/3)
Laps completed (% of total) 2,099 (92.47%)
Laps led (% of total) 99 (8.72%)
Championship position (2012)3 (2)
Championship points (2012)354 (400)
Pit stop performance ranking2

While Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel built unassailable leads in both championships, Ferrari soon reached the point where the potential gains from trying to improve their form this year were outweighed by the opportunities offered by throwing more resources at their 2014 car.

Ferrari’s efforts during 2013 cannot have been helped by the work undertaken to upgrade and improve the wind tunnel at their Maranello factory, a project which began last year and should begin to bear fruit in 2014. In the meantime Toyota’s Cologne windtunnel was used to develop this year’s car.

On the driver front, Fernando Alonso performed his usual feats to consistently drag the best out of the car, in the races at least. The car’s raw qualifying pace was little better relative to the opposition than it had been last year.

But in the constructors’ championship the team were held back by Felipe Massa’s insufficient contribution to their points tally. The team finally addressed that problem this year, dropping Massa after the Italian Grand Prix.

The impeding return of Kimi Raikkonen and the prospect of two world champions driving for the team in 2014 is an exciting one. But Raikkonen isn’t the only Lotus recruit now wearing red. The arrival of two of Lotus’s top technical staff James Allison (technical director) and Dirk de Beer (head of aerodynamics) is arguably just as significant a development.

The 2009-13 rules generation has been a frustrating one for Ferrari. This is a team which takes deep pride from its successful grand prix racing heritage, yet has now gone five years without a world championship.

Next year Red Bull and Vettel could match Ferrari and Michael Schumacher’s feats of winning both championships in five consecutive seasons. But Ferrari’s hunger to win again combined with their enviable resources and improving line-up of technical talent will make them a dangerous threat to Red Bull’s ambitions.

Ferrari drivers 2013 race results

Fernando Alonso2181723452226411553
Felipe Massa45615386874691048127

Ferrari’s 2013 season in pictures

2013 F1 season review

Browse all 2013 F1 season review articles

Images © Ferrari/Ercole Colombo

Author information

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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41 comments on “Ferrari focus on 2014 after missing out on titles again”

  1. 2013 was looking so rosy after Barcelona, just like 2012 was looking so rosy after Germany. I guess that it just wasn’t meant to be.

    James Allison stated that during 2013, Maranello upgraded their facilities from being perhaps 4th or 5th best to being the very top, it was quite a bit of a surprise to hear that Ferrari actually only had the fourth-fifth best resources before 2013. No wonder that they couldn’t keep up with Red Bull.

    1. I just hope this isn’t the usual “next year it’s gonna be all better”-talk they’re doing for years. As a Ferrari fan, I’m sick and tired (no pun intended here) of hearing the same excuses again and again. 2014 is do-or-die time in Maranello.

    2. It was quite a bit of a surprise to hear that Ferrari actually only had the fourth-fifth best resources before 2013.

      Of course I’m just speculating but in wind tunnels it could’ve been:
      Sauber->Red Bull->Mclaren->Mercedes->Ferrari

      However it is just a tool, if they don’t put the right people in that new tunnel then they will keep struggling all the time, even using the Toyota facilities they went the wrong way in development so it definitely isn’t the solution for all their problems.

      1. Furthermore, with the wind tunnels restrictions for next year …

    3. Red Bull have had the monopoly on the development front certainly since 2009: they have consistently improved relative to their opposition as the season progresses, which is testament to the dedication of all the team members, the facilities which they have the great fortune of having access to and the backing provided by Red Bull.

      Nonetheless, Ferrari I presume will be a strong threat to the Red Bull empire next year along with Mercedes: despite the new regulations providing a level playing field, I’m still expecting a battle of the resources to ensue and epitomise the technical championship.

    4. I wouldn’t compare this season with 2012 even if there was also a change of policy from Pirelli in bringing harder allocations. In 2013 the tyre change was more radical and I’m sure that Ferrari and Lotus would have won more races if the tyres hadn’t been changed but the tyre really needed to be changed and this change unlike previous championship has certainly putted some exclamations points but in my opinion it showed that red bull designers knew what were their problems and they fixed them even if it was via a tyre change, the team at the track did a perfect job combining to another double championship whereas if Ferrari or Lotus were to succeed it would just be by pure luck, and that softens the blow for me.

  2. Funny how I feel completely different about McLaren not making true on expectations, Mercedes delivering less than toted by them and Ferrari failing to bring any titles home once again.

    With McLaren is agonizing how they keep shooting themselves in the foot. Either the car is fast but they throw it away with bad team work, reliability or whatever. Or they build a dud of a car but it finishes a lot. But somehow it makes them look more human, for all the Ron-speak and clean and shiny factory.
    Mercedes at least didn’t do worse than expected this year and it seems they are still building towards something, so we can forgive them.

    But Ferrari keep saying how they belong on top of the pile, when before the blip with a decade of Schumi-Brawn-Byrne under leadership of Todt, they were as far, or further, off the regular wins and being a title contender than they have been since 2009 for 2 decades.

    1. Not quite sure why you’re reffering to merc not doing great/not meeting their own goals. They made vast improvements and had their strongest season since coming back, even Hamilton has been impressed exceeding his expectations. They certainly out shone themselves this year.

      1. Mercedes did not outshine itself. Just look at all the bigwig guys they have in their technical department, and they signed Hamilton too. The team should have been gunning for the world championship.
        Yes, they did improve over last year. But I am sure the team didn’t fulfill more than the minimum for the bosses in Stuttgart, as they were “going for the championship” for the last couple of years already!

        1. Yet they pretty much doubled their point tally, came 2nd in the WEC improving on their best of 4th while saying their real focus since the end of the last season will be mainly on 2014 (building up the team with the new members they’ve gained, the new regs and a keen focus on their already very strong power train).

          So while they didn’t take down RBR (no one expected them to, even Ross Brawn was pleasantly surprised at how well they did this year) they did some how manage to take 2nd in the WEC with a handful of wins while not really putting 100% effort into their 2013 campaign. I dare say by those standards they should be walking all over the competition next year.

          You’re berating a team that never really claimed they were going to challenge for the WC this year so I guess they’re kinda your expectations. However with their keen focus on 2014 if they fail come next season then yeah feel free to call them out.

        2. I really feel its pointless to discuss the merits of Mercedes here @kartingjimbo. First of all, they went into 2010 with the expectation of fighting for the championship with their star line-up of Rosberg and Schumacher. They failed. Since then they are still working towards getting where the car company had wanted to be, and getting closer.

          But my comment was not as much about Mercedes and their efforts to get to the level the brand wants to have its F1 team, but about Ferrari and their insistence that they “should be fighting for the WDC each year” yet have failed to build a team and car capable of doing so for the last couple of years.

          1. Your point about Ferrari I can totally agree with, they always seem to approach F1 and the result they get as their god given right. Yes they’re a massive part of F1 and it wouldn’t be where it is today without them being involved but hell, EARN IT! Every year proves a new challenge and every team has to tackle it with the same grunt. It is woeful how no one has really put all the parts together to take RBR down in the last 4 years, we’ve come close with Mclaren etc but everyone else always seems to trip up at one hurdle where as RBR just stride over them all.

  3. This chart is terrible. Violent stuff (if you’re called Massa that is)

  4. Alonsos driving has been excellent as usual, but even he could not drag the Scuderia to second in the constructors alone. Seeing how they have been preparing for 2014, I have verry high hopes that Ferrari will be competitve next year.

  5. Keith,

    Although IMO your driver analysis and statistics are the best out there, I feel these articles don´t go deep in analizing some of the features that need to be assessed in every team: how fast and good were the pit stops against the competitors, and how the reliability and the strategic calls played a part in the constructors championship.

    In the specific case of Ferrari, I think it could have been a nice addition to include the quotes from Pat Fry about how the F138 used the initial tyres to great effect by chance and also those of Montezemolo claiming that Ferrari had been the best team in the pit stop area.

  6. So, Ferrari has finally switched their focus to 2014? :P

    1. Haha :)
      They might try making the F138 faster for testing though.
      It’d be interesting to see the gap due to development from Bahraain to uh..testing in Bahrain. Hopefully Nico might do a lap on old tires .

      1. Hopefully Nico might do a lap on old tires .

        nope @udm7. Because Pirelli won’t be bringing any of the old tyres to the test.

        1. I know. They don’t want exploding tires part II and anyways its a tire test for development of 2014 compounds. Just categorize it as wishful thinking. I’d like to know if the gap is a second or two, or more in 5-6 months of development.

  7. Just like last year, the horse stopped prancing and went aside to eat grass just when everything looked good, round Barcelona. Seems like they need someone like Allison to help the team develop. Hopefully, a better start to 2014 might bring them to a 2010 like season, where they had a car capable of consistent podiums and stuff. And development in the second half which was lacking through 11-13.

  8. Another tipical post-title year. Ever since 2009, they started on the backfoot, and always lost the development race (even in 2010, they had a terrible slump in performance after Bahrain).

    I hope they hit back, it’s always nice to see them battling it out, but I hate them moaning so much about everything. Get on with it, it’s mostly your fault, Ferrari.

  9. Technically both of their drivers now came from Enstone. Was Benneton also enstone owned in 95? In that case, Enstone is truly feeds Ferrari world champions.

    1. If anything it was benneton who owned the enstone squad, not the other way around.

  10. Steph (@stephanief1990)
    18th December 2013, 15:37

    I’m not sure it can be said yet that Ferrari have upgraded their driver line up – Kimi was pushed out of Ferrari because Massa beat him and they wanted Alonso. They’ve rehired a guy who wasn’t good enough the first time around which isn’t that inspiring. Of course, Massa’s performance may have dipped since the accident but it’s too early to really draw any conclusions until we see Kimi’s pace in relation to Massa’s when they’ve got the same equipment.

  11. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    18th December 2013, 16:08

    So Felipe only beat Alonso ONCE.
    Good to see him go somwhere else. I’m not a Ferrari fan, but I want to see both of their drivers battling Red Bull and Mercedes, not a single spear, BOTH.

    1. @omarr-pepper More exactly three times, with Malaysia and India where Alonso DNF :)

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        18th December 2013, 20:19

        To have DNF is not to be beaten. It’s like a win for WO

  12. When you have a chart with two sets of data, don’t use the SAME COLOR!

    1. @francorchamps17 they’re not the same color, you have a crappy monitor!

      1. They’re not exactly the same color, but they are still very close. What’s the point of doing that?

        1. @francorchamps17 Drivers have the same colour throughout a season for consistency. If you find it difficult to distinguish between the colours it’s very easy to tell the difference between the data sets by turning different lines on or off or hovering over a point if you’re using a mouse.

          1. I agree with @francorchamps17 the point of having two data sets on the same chart is to compare them, so turning the lines on and off isn’t ideal. Going forward it would be better and easier to read if each driver had a distinct colour. These do not have to reflect the team they drive for at all, ie. Alonso doesn’t have to be red, though he could be provided that his team mate is, I don’t know maybe yellow, instead of a very similar shade of red as currently is the case @keithcollantine

  13. It looks to me that Ferrari is making some very solid decisions to secure their future competitiveness in 2014 and beyond. And that’s the key for me — the future. Sure, they want the WCC in 2014; sure, they’d love to have a WDC next year and in the short term, their moves seem to have one aim: the WCC with the WDC as icing on the cake.

    But the future is going to lie with the drivers they choose post Alonso and Raikkonen. And with the foundation they’ve built with Allison, et al and with the wind tunnel, Ferrari have got a terrific opportunity to be a force to be reckoned with well into the future if they’ve played their cards right Papa Luca won’t stand for another folded hand.

  14. “We built a car to work with certain tyres”

    Didn’t somebody in a top team recently say that wasn’t really possible? That people who did well in the first half of the season were as lucky as those who benefited in the second half?

  15. With regards to the colors, i get both points (keiths/francorchamps) i,m just glad we get these charts and would like to say what a great site anyway ! Keep us all posted over the drought of winter please keith,great job.

  16. LOL ! The title is pretty funny !
    2013 season is over, 2014 hasn’t started yet ! It’s obvious the focus is on the 2014, no ?!

  17. At least Ferrari are in it year in year out now. I can remember the Jean Alesi, Gerhard Burger years and every year was will this be the year in which Ferrari will see victory lane, let alone vie for championships!

  18. If anyone can stop the RBR dynasty, it’s Alonso, hands down. The guy just tenacious. And there won’t be a mental breakdown no matter what.

    1. *is just tenacious

  19. The fact an outfit as big as Ferrari have not been able to produce the fastest car on the grid for so long is astonishing, their last car which was competing for victories on a regular, consistent basis was back in 2008. It’s incredible to think that was 5 seasons ago, so 2014 really is crunch time for Ferrari, especially now that they have some of the best facilities available to them now. Admittedly, they started off the 2013 season with a bang and for a moment it looked as if they may have been able to mount a serious challenge to Red Bull, but as has been all too frequent with Ferrari in recent years, their rate of development was poor.

    With the two drivers Ferrari have at their disposal next season, if they can produce a competitive, race winning car and sustain that performance across the majority of the season, they have an excellent shot, if not the best shot at taking either/both of the two world championships.

  20. Mark in Florida
    20th December 2013, 0:34

    Ferrari has really produced some really inconsistent cars over the last few years. They start off with a bang and end with a whimper. Ferrari is always blaming something like rule or tire changes and even their drivers are at fault,not the car they fail to develop correctly. It’s easy to say oh we stopped development on this years car to focus on the next car. Luca needs to stay in his office and Steffano should go. Ferrari needs a fundamental shift to occur in order to advance. I don’t know if Mercedes is on the right path or not with all of the management changes but at least they are trying and seem to have a plan. Let’s hope that Ferrari can make the changes that need to be made and stop the blame game. Someone needs to step up and take the fight to Red Bull.

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