Ferrari raise their game with “two roosters” in team

2014 F1 season preview

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Earlier this year, before he’d driven the new Ferrari F14 T for the first time, Fernando Alonso was asked by a fan why he stopped doing the kind of post-victory celebrations he used to perform during his Renault days.

He gave a surprisingly revealing answer: “For that you need to win so many races you need to have so much confidence that this race you will win, so I will celebrate like this or celebrate like that. We are not in a position to be so confident at the moment, we’re just hungry to win, hungry to make some points.”

Alonso arrived at Ferrari four years ago on a mission to make up for lost time. After back-to-back championship wins with Renault he’d narrowly missed out on a third title in an acrimonious season with McLaren, then endured two uncompetitive years back at his old team.

But as he alluded to in the answer above his time at Ferrari has not yielded the sustained success he enjoyed in his championship years.

During the V8 era Ferrari were unable to replicate the dominance they enjoyed with Michael Schumacher in the early 2000s. Yes, they won the constructors’ title in 2007 and 2008, and Kimi Raikkonen claimed the drivers’ title in the first of those years, but championship success has eluded them since.

The freeze on engine development and the increasing importance of aerodynamics has vexed Ferrari. They became increasingly critical of the rules as they lagged behind their rivals.

So the return of competition between engine manufacturers is one that Formula One’s oldest team should welcome. But that doesn’t mean they have discounted the value of aerodynamic development – far from it.

The team’s wind tunnel has been the focus of extensive work. It was taken offline last year so it could be upgraded and improved, in the hope of avoiding the kind of development blind allies which the team have ventured up in recent seasons.

It was during one of those times in the middle of last season that an exasperated Alonso remarked that he wished he could have one of his rivals’ cars for his birthday. President Luca di Montezemolo took exception to his remarks and publicly scolded his driver. Soon after that Ferrari took the surprising decision to rehire Raikkonen for the forthcoming season.

That Ferrari should want a top-drawer driver like Raikkonen – who won the drivers’ championship with them at the first time of asking – is, in itself, not unusual at all. But it is surprising because they’ve retained one champion while hiring another.

This is not the Ferrari way. “I don’t want to have two roosters in the same hen house,” said Luca di Montezemolo two years ago. Well that’s what he’s got now.

It hasn’t happened in over six decades, and even on that occasion in 1953 Alberto Ascari was the team’s emphatic number one, eclipsing the declining Giuseppe Farina who was 12 years his senior.

Raikkonen will be the toughest team mate Alonso has faced since Lewis Hamilton. Alonso’s game will have to be at its sharpest to retain an edge over one of the few drivers whose relentless race pace can rival his. This absorbing contest alone could provide sufficient entertainment for an entire season.

But it has inevitably provoked questions about whether Ferrari will go as far with Raikkonen as they did with Felipe Massa when it comes to sacrificing his performance to benefit Alonso’s.

Asked how team orders will be handled between the two world champions Raikkonen said the pair respect each other and will do as they are asked.

“I don’t think there’s any way of telling things right now because obviously every situation’s different but we know what we have to do and we’ve said before we’re going to race against each other like every year,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter who’s your team mate but sure we have respect against each other and obviously we’re try to come out on top. But we know what the team expects from us and I think time will tell what happens.”

Raikkonen isn’t the only hiring to arrive from Lotus. James Allison has taken charge of technical development of the chassis which will be a confidence-boosting appointment from Alonso’s point of view as Allison worked on his championship-winning Renaults.

He is at the helm of Ferrari’s restructured technical department. They will be acutely aware of how the ground lost mid-season last year blunted their championship chances.

The return of limited in-season testing – the absence of which Ferrari bitterly protested in recent years – is another change they will appreciate. Particularly as the early signs are Ferrari aren’t quite on the same level as Mercedes with their F14 T.

This is Ferrari’s first turbo-powered F1 car in 26 years. It’s been almost as long since they last had a driver line-up with the combined strength of this pair, and that will surely make Ferrari one of the most dangerous forces on the grid this year.

Ferrari’s F1 record

Championship position223164142545234621112110511224423234433222111111321143323
Pole positions37621604216012030405340109422201381103103000314333101110812179802020

Over to you

Will Ferrari claim their first world championship in six years this season? Have your say in the comments.

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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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25 comments on “Ferrari raise their game with “two roosters” in team”

  1. The fight between Rosberg and Hamilton will be good, but these guys are going to have an epic fight, at least that is what I’m hoping for.

  2. Interesting graph.

    In the Past 40 years Ferrari have never won a WCC unless they were runner ups in the previous year. So considering they finished 3rd last year, at best they could manage a 2nd this year.

    1. Wrong
      ’64? ’82?
      and not like they were miles off 2nd.
      if massa hadn’t got the penalty in brazil, ferrari would have been 2nd, so…

      1. Aaah… I should have said past 30 years.

    2. @todfod except 1982 (when they had a V6 turbo engine in the back)

    3. Really? This is how you think things work?

      1. No. I just noticed a trend. Technical analysis if you will

  3. It’s a pity the new points system makes a mockery of graphs like this. Unless they were normalised…

  4. Rooster? Really?

    I wish Team Bosses would stop referring to a driver as a Rooster.

    My mind goes instantly from Rooster to Male Bird to C*ck.

    Once the image is there it just won’t shift.

    1. It probably makes more sense in Italian.

      1. It does, indeed

      2. It makes sense if you just look at the cars’ noses this year.

    2. @jason101 To be fair ‘Team Bosses’ have not been referring to drivers as roosters other than the one time a few years ago when LdM did, as Keith is reminding us in this article. Since then it has been media and fans that have taken that term and run with it.

  5. Two roosters? I’m sure Alonso already has his scissors ready to neuter Raikkonen.

  6. @keithcollantine 8th para, “allies”, alleys?

  7. As far as I am concerned this is one of the best changes for 2014. For Ferrari to have done this renews some faith in me that someone gets that we the fans deserve two gladiators on the top teams particularly, duking it out on the track, not having their positions delegated in the boardroom. Ferrari has proved that the one-rooster concept is not a guarantee for the WDC, so might as well try it this way, and thrill the fans in the meantime.

  8. The author goes back to Ascari and Farina as the last time Ferrari had two top flight drivers and thereby confabulates Ferrari’s more recent practice that really began in the Schumacher era when Michael demanded a clear no.1 and no. 2 status. What about Prost and Mansell? What about all the driver pairings in the 60s when Enzo played top drivers against each other like puppets? While Lauda was the de facto no. 1 due to his championship successes in the 70s, he was simply generally faster than Clay who was a top flight driver (and won several races on merit on the days he held the upper hand over Lauda). Villeneuve and Pironi weren’t two roosters? One of them died because of their rivalry. The other saw his career end later that season pushing too hard. Blame Schumi and his success for Ferrari’s relatively recent practice of a clear no. 1 and no. 2. And kudos to Ferrari to returning to hiring the best two drivers available to them.

    1. He means it was the last time Ferrari used two world champions at the same time – not two really good drivers.

    2. correct. Author completely forgot the 2 roosters Mansell-Prost in the 90s.
      won’t you call them 2 roosters?

      Ferrari tried the One Rooster approach and didn’t work in the last 4 years so good to experiment with 2 ultra-competititve drivers now. For sure, Ferrari fans will be thrilled to follow their favourite team.

      1. Author is right, since Mansell wasn’t WDC… yet ;)

        1. …so you need to be world champion to get the ‘Rooster’ nickname…oh I see

    3. I was thinking the same thing – ‘What about Prost/Mansell’? One could also easily argue that Villeneuve and Scheckter are also a two-rooster team…but yes neither pairings were both world champions at the time.

  9. @keithcollantine not sure if you have already seen it .. but amus has been saying a lot that ferrari is bluffing , i am quietly optimistic now :) .. interesting read.

    1. @f1007
      It is actually mentioned in the last edition of Autosprint, quite interesting

  10. Don’t agree with this article at all, it’s an opinion article and I respect that but I’m not in agreement with it unlike all the other previews. Above all I don’t see their line-up as having “2 roosters” they have 2 different guys, one wants championships badly and the other one wants to have fun, and perhaps more importantly I doubt that Raikkonen will have any skirmishes with his team-mate the same I can’t guarantee from Alonso. The most debatable thing on this article is where Ferrari stands I don’t think they are in trouble I think they are very close to the top..

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