Ferrari reshuffle staff, confirm Fry and Tombazis departures and announce Mexican sponsor

2014 F1 season

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Ferrari has announced a reorganisation of its key technical staff following the departures of director of engineering Pat Fry and chief designer Nikolas Tombazis.

James Allison, who joined the team from Lotus last year, will be given responsibility for ‘track engineering activities’ in addition to his responsibilities as technical director.

Simone Resta, chief designer, and Mattia Binotto, power unit director, will report to Allison. Binotto will be assisted by the chief designer for the power unit Lorenzo Sassi

A statement issued by the team said new team principal Maurizio Arrivabene had initiated the reorganisation “within a few days from his arrival” and that it would give Ferrari “a flatter structure and clear assignment of responsibilities”.

Alberto Antonini will now run the Ferrari press office in place of Renato Bisignani, who has moved to the new communications department set up by Arrivabene.

Ferrari has also confirmed its cars and drivers’ overalls will carry the logos of brands owned by America Movil in 2015. The Mexican company, whose brands include Telmex, Telcel and Claro, has previous backed the career of Esteban Gutierrez, who was announced as the team’s new test driver yesterday.

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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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43 comments on “Ferrari reshuffle staff, confirm Fry and Tombazis departures and announce Mexican sponsor”

  1. So not even Ferrari are immune to signing drivers for sponsorship…

    1. Not at all, Alonso brought millions of dollars in sponsorship with him.

      1. The difference, though, is that you expect that Ferrari would have signed Alonso irrespective of whether or not Santander followed in his footsteps – I doubt that we could say the same about Gutierrez.

        1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
          16th December 2014, 20:06

          That’s not necessarily true. Kimi was 1 year removed from a WDC, and Massa had just lost out on WDC by a point. No one in their right mind would replace those drivers.

          Alonso’s $50M/YR Santander sponsorship was big. Really big.

          1. On the other hand the deal was confirmed after Massa had his accident in Hungary back in 2009, during a period in which nobody was entirely sure that Massa would be able to make a full recovery from his injuries.

            Equally, although Kimi had delivered a title in 2007, it was also widely reported at the time that relations between Kimi and the senior management were relatively poor by 2009. It is one thing to keep a driver who wants to work with you – which was the pitch Alonso was giving to Ferrari – and another to have a driver who is apathetic or even hostile towards you, which was the situation with Kimi.

          2. @braketurnaccelerate Those 2 things are true, However if you go back to 2009 there were other things at play.

            Remember that all the talk through the paddock & in the media was about Kimi under-performing compared to Massa, Been unmotivated & that the relationship between him & Ferrari had become strained.

            There were said to be people at Ferrari who felt that Kimi wasn’t giving 100% commitment to Ferrari or F1. He was off doing some rallying, There was also the impression that Massa was getting the better of Kimi more often than not.

            Alongside all that was also the general feeling in the paddock that Alonso was a better driver, Something I seem to remember Stefano Domenicali saying was a big factor in the decision which he said at the time was a decision that he had pushed for.

  2. That Mexican money should be helping put another team on the grid, not paying off Montezemolo…

    1. …and Alo.

      1. Is Alo receiving a pay-off? Are you sure about this? Can you post links if possible?

    2. If i remember correctly, Force India had already announced they have America Movil for next year.

      1. I do recall seeing the Claro logos on some of the Force Indias towards the start of the year as well, so it would appear to be by no means exclusive.

      2. santander sponsored McLaren and Ferrari too, so, if it is a good advertising opportunity, why let it go?

    3. It would appear that Mr. Slim thinks that his protege Gutierrez has a better future as a Ferrari tester than a Sauber race driver, which is very interesting, as it’s hard to believe that Ericcson’s backers outbid the richest man in the world for a rather cheap seat. Perhaps Mr. Slim fancies the chances of Gutierrez ending up in a 3rd Ferrari with a Slim brand on the sidepod, which would be quite good for both of them.

      1. He’ll score as many points.

  3. Another injection of trust into the hearts of Ferrari fans. /sarcasm

    1. I would say the opposite. Why did they hire Allison? They should’ve reshaped the technical departments last year. Failure shouldn’t be rewarded, Fry, Tombazis and Marmorini failed as technical chiefs. The 2012 disaster of a car is Fry and Tombazis fault, it wasn’t just the wind tunnel. Marmorini was blamed for not making the blown effect possible on the Ferrari engine but what got him fired is the fact, Ferrari were stuck with a faulty turbo design and supplier. I think Ferrari were too kind before to make aggressive changes to the workforce. Aldo Costa said Ferrari didn’t want to spend money on investments but now they have and they have finished this work even prior to Di Montezemolo leaving, this and other staff reshufling points out that this Ferrari revolution was always hanging above, especially if you think that Allison has been at Ferrari for over a year now, so I think is future there was always soon to end, especially after knowing that Fernando had threatned to leave a year earlier than he eventually did. Currently Ferrari have a sensible technical department and infrastructure, now what’s left is setting up the engine regulations and Ferrari is sure to be able to make the 2nd best chassis on the grid.

      1. Think so too, Fry and Tombazis didn’t deliver so their fate was sealed after Bahrain. They just held off from firing them on the spot to transition Allison in as the major player for 2015.

  4. It all looks a mess right now at Ferrari, but I think this could actually be good for the team. They know things didn’t work it was, and simplyfing an organisation can do wonders even if the actual talent isn’t increased.

  5. Have we heard on what terms Alonso was able to leave Ferrari? Has there been any information? Was it performance clause so Alonso was able to leave without breaching the agreement?

    1. I do believe there was a clause of some sort in there which allowed him to leave.

  6. I’m glad Pat Fry left – I used to respect him in the mid-2000s, but his looks and words in interviews became increasingly confused, remote and incomprehensible. He said things last year which no other technical director said and not in a positive aspect – his words were sometimes a lot less relevant than those of Symonds, Key, etc. I don’t think he was a positive pulling force in the Scuderia lately at all.

    I’m also glad Ferrari latched onto the opportunity and got part of Alonso’s departing Santander millions replaced immediately at a reasonably low cost (likely only a couple of FP1s, it could’ve been much, much worse, like a race seat, see Maldonado). So that’s good.

    In fact, now I’m beginning to wonder if it was Ferrari who asked Sauber to let their biggest ‘money bag’ go in the first place, after the Alonso-McLaren-Vettel-Ferrari deal went through behind the scenes in mid-autumn.

  7. I’m glad to see this after the situation had declined. I’m happy Tombazis has left, not sure of Fry, but now let’s keep it like it is for a few years or there won’t be time to see the results.
    I was happy to see them sign Gutierrez because the third driver should either be a young talent or a driver with F1 experience but without a seat, but it now seems he’s there purely because of the huge backing he brings. But why wasn’t it enough to keep him at Sauber?

  8. Thank God, Ferrari let go of “Harry Potter.” Don’t get me wrong Fry is a good engineer, but he has had his turn. His cars were very unique looking, good on their tyres, but never had any out of the ordinary traits that top cars have. It is only Alonso that made him look good.

  9. Claro have been about a bit the last couple of years, haven’t they? Sauber, McLaren, Force India and now Ferrari, all since just 2011.

    1. Wherever there is a Mexican driver? No real surprise there!

  10. Sauber should be scooping up these discards as they have to be better than what they have now.

    1. Maybe Haas should scoop them up. You could probably build a whole team out of Ferrari 2014 discards!

  11. A team statement said: “James Allison is the Technical Director with two Italian engineers and home grown Scuderia talent reporting to him: Chief Designer Simone Resta and Power Unit Director Mattia Binotto, the latter will be supported by Chief Designer Power Unit Lorenzo Sassi, among others. ”

    This apparent focus on (re-)Italianizing the team is disturbing. If there is great available engineering talent that happens to hail from Italy, fine. But this little whiff of nationalism in the reorganization seems ominous. It’s as though they want to return to pre-Brawn days when the team was properly Italian…and slow. In the international world of F1, where every new idea and refinement matters on Sunday, it seems quaint and foolish to view a certain passport as a qualification to design a fast car.

    1. It’ll never work until they have an Italian driver too.

    2. @dmw
      “It’s as though they want to return to pre-Brawn days when the team was properly Italian”
      The same period when they used to have a technical office in Guilford !!!

    3. Well, it has to be said that Ferrari are playing with the truth a little when they say Simone Resta is a home grown talent – yes, he has been at Ferrari for a number of years, but that was after they poached him from McLaren.

      I don’t know if it is necessarily just “Italianizing” the team though – Binotto is one of the veterans of Ferrari’s engine development team, and had already been moved up into the senior management of the team under Ross Brawn’s guidance. The same also applies to Sassi, who had also been a senior member of Ferrari’s technical team for a number of years before, during and after Brawn’s tenure at the team.
      It could also be noted that Aldo Costa’s Italian heritage didn’t save him from being forced out of Ferrari a few years ago, whilst Ferrari have also reportedly been targeting a number of key staff in Mercedes’s engine division in Brixworth, showing that technical considerations certainly can cross national boundaries as far as they are concerned.

      All in all, it is hard to necessarily say that they got to their positions solely because of their nationality given that, at the same time, they are also experienced engineers who are integrated into Ferrari’s management structure and would be the individuals you might expect to be moved up into those senior positions.

  12. Im excited to see Allison be given even more control! that man made quite the Lotus in 2013 and less we forget his designs of the Ferrari years during the schumacher dominance era. I think Newey gets the spotlight more often then he should, Allison is quite the aero designer as well!

    When he joined Ferrari again he had no input into the already designed F14 T so it will be good to see how he develops the 2015 car!

    1. I agree.

  13. It will be very interesting, how will they perform.

  14. Long overdue. How fry lasted so long is mind boggling. Newey didn’t even rate him.

  15. Hum, is not just the engineers…
    James Allison on Lotus, a beast, but in Ferrari…
    Aldo Costa in Ferrari, bad. On Mercedes, great.
    Pat Fry, Mclaren, great. Ferrari, not so much.

    1. What nonsense!

      James Allison hasn’t had a good crack at a Ferrari yet!
      Aldo Costa helped design championship winning chassis and is Rory Byrne’s protege
      Pat Fry designed many McLaren Dogs. As a Ferrari fan I was ribbed mercilessly by my McLarenite friends when he was poached and of everyone to leave he is the one I am most pleased about!

  16. All this changes, at this time of the year, is 2015 going to be a disaster for Ferrari?.

  17. They can’t do any worse than the current lot I suppose. Completely lowered the expectations for next year. Helps to ease the pressure on the heart.

    Good luck Guys!

    1. Yes, they can do worse. 5th or 6th place in WCC springs to mind (and seems very likely).

  18. I’m still surprised that Ferrari took Gutierrez on instead of say, Kobayashi who has of course raced for Ferrari. Hell, even Checo Perez was a Ferrari development driver, not that he would leave Force India, though.

  19. I wonder how many lime pits were dug due to this ‘winless’ season?

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