Ferrari expect slow start to 2015 after changes

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Raffaele Marciello, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2014In the round-up: Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne says the team made a late start to its 2015 car after changing some of the philosophies behind it.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Ferrari boss predicts tough 2015 (BBC)

“We started late with the 2015 car, certain choices and strategies that were made by others and that, in retrospect, I don’t necessarily share.”

Marchionne: “2015, the year of recovery” (Ferrari)

“I don’t think [Sebastian Vettel is] naive, he knows our level of performance but this is the power of Ferrari: it manages to attract people even just based on its potential.”

Gutierrez thrown in too young, says Ferrari boss (Reuters)

Maurizio Arrivabene: “Talented drivers must not be thrown on to the scene too early. I am sure he is talented and will have a chance to show it”

Caterham: Formula One team reveals £75,000 profit made from crowdfunding plan (The Independent)

“The documents reveal that Caterham owes a total of £16.4m, including £177,600 to former employees, so the £75,000 profit won’t stretch far.”

Jacques Villeneuve calls Verstappen debut ‘an insult’ (Fox)

“I think Max is an insult. Do Red Bull realise they are putting a child in Formula One?”

Ferrari’s firings (MotorSport)

“The only time that Ferrari has really worked has been when the high management has been kept out of the day-to-day operational running, thereby keeping the fear and the resultant in-fighting at bay.”

2014 Season Review (Mark Webber)

“I absolutely loved my time in F1 as an ‘individual’, but at this stage in my career I really enjoy being completely open with my fellow team mates and engineers to get the most from our collective knowledge.”

Jose Mourinho reveals Mario Balotelli snubbed meeting at Inter – because he was at a grand prix (The Mirror)

“He told me: ‘Meetings in your office I can have every day but to see the Formula One it’s only once a year in Italy.'”


Comment of the day

Here’s @RJOconnell’s view on Adrian Sutil’s warning that having too many pay drivers risks damaging F1’s credibility:

Right message, wrong messenger. Adrian Sutil may not be the most well-fortuned of all pay drivers, but what he brought did help to leverage a comeback at Force India over Jules Bianchi, and his Sauber drive. Felipe Nasr may be bringing eight figures from Banco do Brasil, but he has a stellar resume – Formula BMW champ, possibly the last great British F3 champ, success in GP2 – and way more upside than Sutil can deliver going forward.

The shrinking grid size does not help with regards to allowing F1 to allow less-funded drivers into its ranks, or retaining drivers without a lot of sponsorship. It really doesn’t. Cutting from 24 to 22 now down to as few as maybe 18 cars will not suddenly give Sauber a sizeable injection of cash.. Instead of blaming the teams, which a lot of us are as guilty of as anyone else, for doing what they had to to keep their teams operating, we should be looking into ways to make the sport more accessible to teams – and without taking it back thirty years or more.

Sutil is right that Minardi did often weigh talent over money for a team of their size. That’s part of why I admire them. Minardi was also the team that dropped Giancarlo Fisichella mid-season for Giovanni Lavaggi and almost ran Taki Inoue for all of 1996 if his cheques had cleared.

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98 comments on “Ferrari expect slow start to 2015 after changes”

  1. When was the last time Ferrari looked this weak heading into a season, even before winter testing began? From 2000-2010, Ferrari were almost always the odds-on favorite to win the championship. Even during the Red Bull domination period from 2011-2013, Ferrari were the second team most likely to win the championship according to the bookies. I don’t remember Ferrari ever looking like such underdogs, ever since the early 90’s, really. The fact that they lost arguably the best driver on the grid, and now have two drivers who both struggled a lot with the new regs in 2014, doesn’t help either.

    1. They seem to be starting over from scratch, everybody being replaced and people running around like headless chicken. It took Merc 5 years to get to this point and they had Ross Brawn. Makes you wonder who at Ferrarri has that kind of pedigree to rebuild and dominate. And I have a sneaking suspicion that their drivers are distinctly average in this era of tech regs. I’m tempted to think that Vergne might have been able to do a better job than both of them. He seemed to adapt a lot better.

      1. @blackmamba

        I’m tempted to think that Vergne might have been able to do a better job than both of them. He seemed to adapt a lot better.

        Imagine if at the end of 2013, someone suggested that Vergne would be able to do a better job than Vettel in equal cars. You’d be considered an outrageous maniac and Vettel-hater. Now 12 months later, this thought doesn’t even seem improbable anymore. Extraordinary how much a year can change our perception of drivers.

    2. Excuses already…this is all politics and positioning for the FIA.

    3. As a Ferrari fan I am now braced for what can only be as bad as this year.


      The evil Ron Dennis once said Ferrari are always in the 6th year of a 5 year plan.

    4. They are certainly getting their excuses in early, a big change from the usual pre season braggadacio and chest beating.

  2. Where to start?

    Ferrari is making me, a fan since 8 years old (24 now) more and more cynical. Every year is a year of recovery, every year is going to better than the last, every year they think they’ve got it figured out or have established a timeline. Then one thing changes, a rule or a tyre and suddenly they’re on the back foot. At this point I’d prefer them to be quiet and just work. Honestly, I wish I could ‘switch off’ from being a Ferrari fan for just a year; the performance I can deal with, but the endless panic, the endless talk of better times, it’s bordering on an abusive relationship.

    Villeneuve’s performances after the 1999 season have done a lot more damage to F1 than Max Verstappen ever reasonably can. Villeneuve was an extremely well paid world champion who was the laughing stock of the grid and was outgunned by Panis, Button, a young Massa, Heidfeld and nearly was beaten on points by his mid-season replacement Kubica. The amount of times I’ve heard him being the reason people who aren’t fanatics believe ‘it’s all about the best car’ and thus ‘drivers don’t matter’ is immense. Frankly, I don’t even click on anything that has his name attached to it, out of fear websites will continue publishing the drivel he puts forth every single time he talks about F1.

    Lastly, I can’t believe it’s been 5 years since Schumacher announced his return and it’s nearly been a year since his accident.. I just hope, in a few years time there’ll be a ‘on this day’ about his (relative) recovery..

    1. I somehow understand your pain as a Ferrari fan, as a McLaren fan myself. It seems to me that the Scuderia are lost with their way of thinking with the only way forward is by giving key personnel the boot.

      At least McLaren seem to have a plan and strategy to be on top again. Ferrari have been on a downward spiral since Brawn left and new regs came in 2009. Do we need new regulations for Ferrari to succeed is the question? I believe so. It beats me why they would sign a driver who struggled with 2014 as much as their other driver. But I don’t run Ferrari do I?

      1. Of course they panicked when Alonso bailed and Ferrari need a big name driver and still at this point you have to admit Vettel is one of the 3. For him it’s a win win situation; if he fails to win a title then even Alonso failed, but if he wins he is a legend. Raikkonnen I would write off because when I look back at his years alongside Massa I come to the conclusion that his peak came and went in the early 2000s. Even to win his title he needed help from Massa. None of the other 4 champions on the grid needed help from their team mate in their title years.

        1. I think Vettel will beat Raikkonen, maybe not as comfortable as Alonso did, but pretty comfortably.

          The move is a risk for both Vettel and Ferrari, but it is looking towards the long-term. I wouldn’t denounce the move too much after the first year if the car is a dud, unless Vettel gets beaten by Raikkonen as well. I think questions would start to be asked of Vettel in that case.

          1. @deej92, I cannot see the risk for Vettel:
            – If he performs poorly he can blame the car (expectations already low);
            – If he does well he will be a hero (maybe do what Alonso couldn’t);
            – No risk of being beaten by Ricciardo in the same car again;
            – If Kimi beats him (unlikely) then better than by a lesser teammate;
            – He fulfils he childhood dream of driving a red car;
            – He will be extremely well paid.

          2. @coldfly You make good points, he just has to be very patient. The risk I see is leaving a team that is, more than likely, going to produce at least a podium contender every year. And in staying he might’ve become more suited to the RB11, RB12, etc and given Ricciardo a good fight, showing people that 2014 was a complete one-off.

            For me, I am glad he has moved teams because it creates something new to talk about, along with Alonso back at McLaren. He had a good innings at Red Bull. I look forward to the Vettel-Ferrari partnership.

    2. @npf1 I know what you mean – but it’s the first year I believe them. They always had the same people and processes and expected different outcomes every year but with Arrivabene and Marchione they have now 2 folks on the top that are capable of bringing the brand back to it’s former glory. And this year the cleaning house wasn’t just the usual ritual of sacrificing 1 scape goat a year, but a very important step towards building the team around Allison.

      1. Building team around Allison? I think that Lotus built E22 mostly around Allison’s efforts and we’ve seen the result.

        1. The Renault engine was a dud and the FRIC ban hit them the hardest. Which is why they declined to a back marker after Spain. I still think Allison is one of the best engineers on the grid and getting rid of Fry and Tombazis to implement a more streamlined organization – like RBR run it was the right move.

        2. The E22 was a dud, but the Allison-designed E21 scored 14 podiums in a Red Bull dominated season.

          Safe to say, the guy knows his stuff.

          1. F1 car design is not ‘one man band’ job. However, at the conception of the design, technical director DIRECTS designing efforts and there is no dubiety on the matter. Nicholas Chester was appointed as TD in may 2013 when development of E22 was well under way. Mate, you don’t design F1 car in january.
            E22 had a terrible flaw in design on fundamental basis. If the guy knows his stuff – as you say – and knew it from the beginnig, than to me, it’s an act of intentional sabotage. I rather think E22’s troubles stemmed from lack of sound engineering thinking. There is some justice in whole thing: he left behind a messy car and got one as well B-) What goes arround…

    3. ColdFly F1 (@)
      23rd December 2014, 8:38

      Villeneuve’s performances after the 1999 season have done a lot more damage to F1 than Max Verstappen ever reasonably can.

      Frankly, I don’t even click on anything that has his name attached to it, out of fear websites will continue publishing the drivel he puts forth every single time he talks about F1.

      Well said @ambroserpm!

      1. +1 Villeneuve is probably the worst F1 champ’ in history.

        1. Calling JV’s performance in 99 damaging is ridiculous, as is calling him the worst F1 Champ in history.

          1. Here, here! What about his comments about young strappin verstappen weren’t correct? He is ONE year out of karts???

          2. @robbie I’m really curious, who would you pick as F1’s worst champion?

          3. I would say that Jacques’s attitude in 1999 was damaging to the sport – bear in mind that he spent much of the off season generating hype around himself and around BAR with claims that he would be winning races for the team. Given that the team, and therefore Jacques, were nowhere near as competitive as he had made out they would be, it was a considerable let down and did generate negative publicity for the sport.

          4. @paeschli Michael Schumacher

            @anon The only negativity was to BAR itself. They had put together a lot of great ingredients, including Reynard building the chassis as a builder who had won in every category they ever built chassis’ for, but yes, they shouldn’t have said they would win readily. On paper they should have, but then so should have Toyota. BAR had enough cache to draw Honda to them, so it’s not like they were Mickey Mouse. They had reason to be confident, but as we’ve seen countless times, there are no guarantees.

    4. @npf1 Such heavy handed drivel on JV you spout on about. He must have peed on your cornflakes, yet it sounds like you know nothing about the man. If you had followed his career closely you would know that he was and still is highly regarded by his fellow drivers.

  3. I kind of agree with Villeneuve here, although I wouldn’t go as far as calling it an insult. Verstappen may be very talented, but I think drivers should be a bit more seasoned before stepping into the pinnacle of motorsport racing. He is still very much a kid, and still might lack good judgement and physical strength. The cars are deadly, and insanely powerful so I definitely think making your way into F1 should be a little more gradual.

    1. I tend to put more stock in what’s btwn the ears to be honest with you. If he has got racing maturity then he is old enough for F1 IMO. In my circles I know a lot of mature teenagers who know exactly what they want and how to get it. On the flip side I also know a lot of over 25s who are immature, some borderline childish who you wouldn’t trust to boil water.

      1. Good points. But how do you know if Max is mature or not? Or better yet, how do you even know that he is truly talented or not? I don’t think even Max himself knows that, he hasn’t lived that long. And he certainly hasn’t done enough to prove anything.

        But either way, the way I see it, if a person has talent when they are 16yo, then they will certainly retain that talent and have it when they are 18-20. That wont change unless they suddenly get brain damage. So I don’t see any reason why a young driver of any calibre shouldn’t wait like everyone else until they gain experience and maturity and until such time its their turn. Just like with everything else in life, you are considered a “child” until you reach a certain age. And there is a reason for that and this reason is not suddenly going to change because you said so.

        Anyway, FIA has now “finally” done the right thing of introducing the age limit. thankfully we wont have to see any babies trying to enter F1 in the near future. Phew,

        1. maarten.f1 (@)
          23rd December 2014, 8:12

          @maksutov I’m sure Red Bull knows whether Max is talented or not, or whether he’s mature enough. They picked him initially over all the other talents they have available, that means they see something special in him.

          As for the age limit; Max will be 17 years, 5 months and 16 days old by the time the first race starts. That’s about 6 months away from that age limit the FIA imposed. He’ll be able to get his driver’s license already. So 6 months later he’s suddenly no “baby” anymore?

          Max will do fine. I’m sure he and his dad know the dangers of Formula 1 (Jos had quite a few shunts himself). He’s probably more mature than the average 17/18 year old. Just because the law recognizes adulthood at 18 it doesn’t mean there are people don’t attain adulthood before that time (or like @blackmamba mentioned, not even after that time). Besides, the legal age of adulthood is different across the world. In the US it’s possible to get your driver’s license at 16, but in certain states you’re not considered adult until your 19th birthday.

          If you’re good enough, you’re old enough. Yes, Formula 1 is a dangerous sport, but if Max turned 18 the day before the first race started it wouldn’t have made a difference at all.

          1. @maarten-f1 Don’t forget RB signed Verstappen because there was a betting war between Mercedes and Red Bull. Mercedes couldn’t offer something better than what RB is giving him: a race seat next year.

        2. @maarten-f1 @maksutov honestly, I think it all boils down to the legally culpable age of the driver.

          Yes, all laws regarding driving are different and individual maturity is also subjective, but in the eyes of the law, a ‘young person’ is often deemed to be seen as an adult once he/she reaches 18. They’re then no longer a minor and can legally represent themselves, including being a contract signatory.

          The fact that Max had to take his dad to all his negotiations with Red Bull was less about ‘family advice’ and more that Max could not legally sign any documents. If Max is called to the stewards of a race event or any other ‘official’ meeting, can he represent himself or does someone have to speak for him?

          So many questions dodged by setting a minimum age, really.

          1. @optimaximal How is this different from driving in Formula 3, FR 3.5, GP3 or GP2 (or any other class than F1)? There’s no problem with him driving there regardless of his age. There are still contracts to sign, there are still stewards you have to go to in the case of accidents.

            In other sports there’s never a problem when youngsters sign contracts, they’d still need consent from their parents.

            To me it doesn’t boil down to age at all, but rather the fact he jumped straight from carts to F3 and from there to F1. The lack of experience in lower racing classes. An age limit only tries to circumvent that issue. Because if he was born six months earlier, he’d be of a legal age (depending on where you live). But then people would still be upset over it because he’s so young, they just wouldn’t be able to use the age argument.

            What “fixes” this issue is more the experience limits set for the 2016 rules, not the age limits.

  4. Villeneuve, your career is an insult to Formula One.

    Also, it’s funny he compares current cars with the cars his father drove. I’d say young Verstappen is a lot fitter than any of the early 80’s drivers could even dream about, and therefore, could handle the physical strain of driving those cars a lot better.

    1. Wierd that so many people get upset by things Jaque says, especially when he is usually correct. And not matter what poor teams he went to he was still a good and well deserved champion and didn’t have to resort to cheating.

      1. BAR was a ‘poor team’? Renault was a ‘poor team’? Sauber was a ‘poor team’?

        I think you found out what he’s smoking..

        1. Poor as in performance, not money… None of those teams were really at the top of their game when JV was driving for them (but then again, JV wasn’t either).

    2. Lol even Vettel admits when he 1st drove a v10 he felt ‘like a boy’ and was overwhelmed by the physical side of what the car was doing to him (no power steering either). The cars of today are easier no doubt with silly tyres you can’t push on, less powerful engines, power steering, & head/neck supports. The earlier you look back at winged f1 cars the more cars needed to be ‘man handled’ by stronger drivers, and Verstappen looks like he would fall over in a light breeze. So Villeneuve is calling it straight as usual. Also, lets not mention the lack of experience factor, hopefully we won’t see any self entitled silly playstation esque moves attempted but i’m not gonna hold my breath, he’s a 17 yr old f1 driver thats been told by everyone he is god’s gift to racing/F1. You do the maths.

      1. I think he is coming into F1 too early. He may be talented and could have the speed. I have not followed his racing career and don’t know how he is in races. i.e whether he is a Maldonado Jr. or is a sensible Grosjean Part II.

        He is put into the pinnacle of Motorsports. There should be no excuses that he is young and will learn in time should there be incidents where he is at fault. If he makes mistakes spoiling other people’s races, he will be criticized and criticized harshly just as other racers are done. Age cannot be an excuse when they have shunned that thought before thrusting him to F1.

        All said and done, All the Best to him. Living the dream!

        1. @evered7 Well since you haven’t followed him, here is a brief glimpse of Max in this year’s Euro F3 series –

          I’ve followed the championship and I’ve to say that Max has been very fast and equally brave. However, It casts my mind back to what Jenson Button had said last year “GP2 – GP3 mentality”. The new breed of drives score very high on bravery in wheel to wheel battles but they also score high on danger to the extent of sometimes being daft.

          I found Max to be very fast and brave driver but I think it’s early for him. Personally, Esteban Ocon impressed me a lot more with his maturity than Max and I remember that there have been drivers with great talent in junior formulae only to fail at the pinnacle. I do hope that Max excels but I still think that the rawness will get the better of him.

          1. @neelv27 thanks for the video. Seems like a level headed racer. Just needs to understand the limitations next year as all cars are not the same.

            Hope to see him fight fair and well.

      2. DR – tooo much exaggeration just damages the credibility of anything you say. Why would Vettel not have had power steering in his first car, even Minardi had power steering on their cars by the early noughties and IIRC were the last to have it. The current generation of cars are faster and more powerful than those that Villenueve drove and also require much more cerebral input from the drivers too. The tyres you can’t push on require extra driving skill (although admittedly not more Brawn) and in the past tyres were equally fragile – although at that time not through intentional design. The cars of today have more downforce (despite regular cutbacks) and are heavier than most previous generations both of which are factors requiring strength.

        The drivers of the past might have had thick necks and wide arms, but in reality they are nowhere near the athletes of today in either strength or stamina. I think that people need to give Verstappen a break and lets see how he gets on. How are we any more qualified to comment on him than either himself, his dad or the Red Bull team – I’m pretty sure that they know what they are looking for in a driver (their last two picks, Ricciardo and Kvyat, have been spot on)

        1. *brawn, not Brawn!!

      3. By your line of thought, the wingless cars of the 1960’s must have been easy to drive then given the fact that the Ricardo Rodriguez, who was barely older than Verstappen is, was able to waltz straight into a Ferrari and stick his car on the front row in Monza in his first race. I’m sure that Gurney or Surtees would be delighted to hear you telling them that their cars must be easy to drive because of that…

        Let’s be honest, this isn’t about Jacques “calling it like it is” – this is about Jacques still being bitter about being dumped from F1 for being a far less competent driver than he believes himself to be, and therefore attacking the sport whenever he can.
        After all, we could apply his same reasoning to the cars he drove in the 1990’s – Taki Inoue, hardly the most competent of drivers, was once asked how hard the cars that he drove in the mid 1990’s were, and Inoue replied “I don’t see what all the fuss is about – they were so easy to drive”.

        1. oh yea, thats it, JV likes to attack the sport whenever he can. Remember who his father is by the way? I have a feeling JV loves the sport more than we can imagine and is sickened by seeing what it has become.

          1. He also has a personal grudge against the FIA and F1 – bear in mind that the FIA refused to allow him to buy his way back into the sport in 2011 when they rejected his entry – Villeneuve Racing – which was an entry designed solely so he could compete in F1 again. It is not a coincidence that his attacks on the sport started immediately after the FIA rejected his entry…

        2. It depends on how you define “easy”. I suspect I could get in a car from the 1960s and drive it quick-ish. I imagine the major limiting factor would be bravery ahead of ability. I couldn’t even get a modern F1 car to start, never mind pull away and even after a lot of learning I doubt I could achieve anything resembling quick (inability to get heat in tyres brakes quickly etc). I wouldn’t have the ability to get anywhere near what my level of bravery could probably cope with and even if I did I suspect the downforce would leave me exhausted very quickly.

          1. Lol downforce makes a car easier to drive, you have it all backwards. Damn even David Croft can drive a current car ;) Also current cars aren’t more powerful than Villeneuve’s era. 900+hp Constant from v10’s, not ‘only with ERS deployed’ like today.
            Unless you are smaller than Kvyat you would be fine too if that kid can endure a full race being the size he is. Face it F1 is a bit nancy nowdays :-) oh my neck muscles have gone, lucky I can use my cushy headrest!!

      4. The F1 cars today can’t be compared to the past. Especially this latest generation are much less physical to drive. I don’t see any problems there.
        As for racecraft I don’t see a problem either. Verstappen has impressed me big time. I for one think he will become one of the greatest ever. I don’t think we have seen a more naturally talented driver since Senna.
        The only potential problem I see is whether he can keep his feet on the ground and not get too full of himself. That was his fathers weakness back in the dag.

    3. @casjo It is about so much more than just handling the physical strain, and the fact is a 16/17 year old would never have been considered for driving those cars at the time.

      @anon You are kidding yourself if you think JV still holds bitterness, even if he ever did. Just as you are kidding yourself if you think Inoue’s quote has any relevance whatsoever.

      Frankly I can’t blame WDC JV for wanting to see F1’s stock remain high, rather than looking like a series that anybody can come into even with minimal experience. F1 agrees, having already upped the minimum age.

  5. This year Ferrari is as quick as Force India and sometimes able to match McLaren. Fortunately, Alonso drag that poor car into points and podiums, Ferrari made a right move in 2010, but they did not deserve a driver like Alonso, neither McLaren too, although I had high hopes that they will get back to winning ways. Ferrari next year drivers struggle this year and it’s clear that they decline 1 position in the constructors since 2012, I think its likely that it will be continue next year, especially poor car won’t help Raikkonen nor Vettel. And it seemed their car also getting worse and worse since Alonso joined them, but top teams also have bad period, Williams was fell badly from 2005-2013, but now they back in the top, same as McLaren as they still struggle to get to the top for 2 years, and they also struggle massively early 2004 and 2009. Ferrari management is pretty poor, sacking everyone and its unlikely they will rise again in next couple of years.

    1. @deongunner Ferrari was slower than both of those teams… Fernando Alonso just capitalised when the Merc-powered teams had performance & technical issues earlier in the year.

  6. In other news, Jacques Villeneuve continues to spout random provocative outbursts in a desperate attempt to cling to relevancy. The 1997 world driver’s champion will say anything that will get him quoted in print, and lazy journalists continue to lap it up.

    1. Breaking news! Young person thinks they know better ;-)

      1. To be honest, quite a lot of people here in the comments can say smarter things about F1 than Villeneuve

        1. @paeschli Ya, speaks 4 languages. Grew up at F1 tracks until his Dad died at one. CART rookie of the year, CART Champion, Indy 500 winner, F1 WDC, started his own team in F1, 2nd overall at Lemans, NASCAR, Nationwide, Indycar at Indy 500, FIA World Rallycross……….who’d want him around? oh ya…forgot…outspoken columnist and commentator unafraid to speak his mind…entitled to his opinion like all the people here.

  7. No matter how bleak things seem to get, Ferrari have always managed to big themselves up, reminding everyone of their past success and perpetually promise that this will be the year they get back on top. This year they can’t even do that. I never imagined I’d see Ferrari in this position. It looks pretty dire…

    1. maybe it’s a good idea to go as an underdog. no one will expect much from a ferrari saying “well, this is going to be a tough year” and then, for luck, or an improvement of the car, they get a couple of podiums. That would be good for their self steem right?

  8. Good to see that Ferrari understand that the recovery isn’t going to be swift. A change from the previous management where every season they go bullish saying ‘We are Ferrari, we have to win this year’ :)

    To even think they are targetting wins when Mercs have had such a dominant car seems to tell that they have identified areas for improvement and know how to get them done. Based on 2014 form, I wouldn’t talk of victory if I was in his place.
    Hope they have a car on par for second place finish even if Mercs conduct their own championships again next season.

    Forza Ferrari!

  9. What a great way to start the new year, negative and on the back foot!

    Hi hopes for Ferrari! Sheesh

    1. certain choices and strategies that were made by others and that, in retrospect, I don’t necessarily share

      I think he’s just playing the blame game early to make sure the current crop can get at least two years to try and do better before they are fired. If they turn out to have made an improvement they can also claim all of the glory.

  10. With regards to Gutierrez, I really think he is being lined up for when Kimi leaves to be a subordinate #2 to Vettel, as was Barichello to Schumacher and Massa to Alonso.

    1. Well, as long as he is not like Kimi to Alonso, he can’t be too bad! :)

    2. … what a mess. Gutierrez, instead of Bianchi. Desperation.

      1. Its not like anyone in the FDA can replace Raikkonen. Maybe Ferrari should pick someone more consistent than Gutierrez though, like Bottas (assuming Williams fall back) or Hulkenberg. Another option would be Perez, but after he left for one of Ferrari’s main rivals, I have the feeling that bridge was burnt, demolished and washed away.

      2. I somehow doubt Bianchi is capable of getting in a Ferrari for the time being

        1. … He never will.

    3. I think it’s a lot more likely that he’s being lined up for a Haas seat. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Raikkonen still at Ferrari in 2016. And if he is replaced, Marciello and Vergne are surely more likely candidates.

  11. i think that the reasonable age people should be allowed to race in f1 is the age he/she allowed to drink

    1. In most countries you are allowed to drink at any age, restrictions are only on buying alcohol. There are a bunch of teenagers who hang out in our nearby park drinking every Friday night, I don’t think that’s justification for allowing them to drive an F1 car.

      The legal age for buying alcoholic drinks in Belgium (Verstappen’s country of birth) is 16, in the Netherlands (his nationality) the age was increased from 16 to 18 only this year.

      In many other countries the minimum age is 12 – seems a bit harsh.

      1. *In many other countries the minimum age is 21 – seems a bit harsh.

      2. and some countries have a complete alcohol prohibition – seems even harsher

  12. Is Villneneuve moonlighting as Bernie, spewing gibberish about young people again? If the rules permit his hire and the team considers it’s in their best interest to hire him (well, theirs and Red Bull’s, obviously) I really don’t see any problems, especially considering yesterday’s comments from Sutil. We know Toro Rosso only promotes based on talent, we should be giddy and joyful that we have such a young prodigy (at least in dr. Marko’s view) to see in F1.

    1. @gicu Yeah the rules permitted his hire and have now been changed, so even though YOU don’t see any problems, it seems F1 does agree with JV’s sentiment.

      1. @robbie I’m pretty sure that if they’ve considered his age to be such a big problem they would have changed the rules with a retroactive effect. The only sound reason to banning a young driver is if they consider the driver in question to be a danger to himself or others around him on track due to a lack of experience, something the FIA surely thought about and then considered Verstappen was safe enough.

        1. @gico That’s a fair enough comment, but as JV hints at, it shouldn’t be the only reason, and there is the concept that F1 is now therefore too easy, if such youngsters can now hop in these cars, and there is the concept of how that translates to people’s perception of the degree of difficulty for the drivers in what is supposed to be the pinnacle of racing. JV would change several things in order to ensure people think of these drivers as heroes driving monsters for cars. When a driver can be hired at 16, it is JV’s opinion that damages F1’s persona.

  13. Ferrari need to put down italian managers and hire someone from england or even france…like Jean Todd…
    because, simply, italian managers are worst in europe…

    1. @Blakk77 Really!? You do know a lot about italians and their history.

  14. After ages I’m actually looking forward to Ferrari struggling again. Best of luck Sebastian!

    1. And cheering on a McLaren again @todfod … Who would have thought it?!!

  15. Surprise! A struggling year for Ferrari!
    True magicians, no one makes so much money disappear as fast as them …

  16. ColdFly F1 (@)
    23rd December 2014, 9:25

    I must say I find it a bit disappointing that Caterham ‘only’ paid £100K to staff of the £2.4M collected through crowdfunding (plus another £515K sponsoring).

    I hope staff will get the estimated £75K profit as well.

    1. The article indicates that those staff were being paid just for that particular race and that there were only 49 people present in Abu Dhabi, hence why only a low proportion of their funds seem to have gone on wages. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the money was burned up in repaying suppliers in order to compete in Abu Dhabi, hence why there was only a small amount left at the end.

  17. I’m surprised Caterham owes such a (relatively) small amount.

    1. How much credit would you have given either Caterham or Marrusia?

      I guess that the (relatively) small debt is good news, in that the cost of buying the team would be (relatively) small too (debt plus $1 or possibly even less with the agreement of creditors?)

      1. @jerseyf1 – yeah that’s what I was thinking. Isn’t Marussia’s debt rumoured to be around $60million? That makes buying Caterham a much more attractive proposition, even with the Marussia windfall.

        Not that there is anything left of Marussia to buy now most of their equipment has been auctioned off of course.

  18. What was wrong with Mattiaci? He should have started developing the 2015 car as soon as he joined in. But no, the fool decided to start late! Now I’m starting to think he deserved to get sacked.

    1. @austus I would take anything said by the Ferrari management with a rather large pinch of salt. Did he really start too late or is this just trying to pass the blame to someone else in advance.

      It’s a bit like how Ron Dennis suddenly decides to raise the issue of Hamilton playing a part in the 2007 McLaren issues when he finds himself with Alonso and not Hamilton in the car. These people will tell you whatever they need to in the circumstances.

      1. And we do not even know if it was Mattiacci who initiated the 2015 development program – Marchionne doesn’t specifically state that it was Mattiacci who was responsible.

        In fact, given that Ferrari would normally run their 2015 development program in parallel with their 2014 development program, you would expect that their 2015 development program should have started at the beginning of this year. It is therefore possible that it is in fact due to Domenicali that their 2015 development program started behind schedule, rather than Mattiacci.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      23rd December 2014, 20:05

      To be honest, I wouldn’t really blame Mattiaci. I’d blame whoever hired him! He studied economics at uni and got a job working for Jaguar. He then moved to Ferrari where he eventually became head of North America but none of this had anything to do with motorsport!

      All of a sudden, he gets put in charge of the F1 team, is given 7 months to learn the trade and start to make changes and before anything has actually come to fruition, he’s out!

  19. Well, I’ll be honest in saying that I sort of agree with what Villeneuve is saying. Surely I can understand his point when he says,

    You should arrive in Formula One as a winner and with a wealth of experience. F1 is not the place to come and develop as a driver

    However, calling it an “insult” is an insult in itself. That’s a bit harsh especially considering that in my very personal opinion, Jacques Villeneuve and Damon Hill are two drivers who I consider to be ‘World Champions with a very fast car than fast driving’ and hence statements like these are hard to be convinced about (even if they’re partly correct) since they come out from a driver with no real credibility.

    1. @neelv27 I agree with your comment that Villeneuve and Hill are probably the two least competent WDC winners in the time I’ve been watching F1 (25 years) – there are probably others through history too (Rosberg??).

      The big difference now though is that Villeneuve is forever shooting his mouth off whilst I have gained a lot of respect for Hill as he seems to have a genuine interest in the sport and gives much more thoughtful commentary and opinion. He doesn’t survive on his reputation as a past WDC but on his current reputation as someone who has something relevant to say.

      1. @jerseyf1 I agree to mate. Damon with his new role with Sky Sports F1 as a pundit has been a lot more thoughtful about his comments and I don’t really find myself pulling my hair off while listening to him (can’t say that for Jacques) however what I meant was in terms of driving, Williams has a long legacy but unfortunately for me, their last two champions were really not ‘champion-like’ drivers. Coincidentally, Rosberg also became a champion with Williams :D

  20. I thought Arrivabene was being humble and realistic for a minute, until I read where apparently he said two wins in 2015 is the minimum (though such a quote doesn’t actually appear in the article) F1Times explains he said 2 or 3 would be satisfactory.

    Where does he think Ferrari wins are going to come from? Merc will be more reliable, Williams will probably be better, Red Bull will have a big engine step and McLaren will have Prodromou, Alonso and Honda with Ron sounding a bit cocky about the engine.

    Not only that but Maurizio’s drivers were rated 7th and 15th this year.

    I don’t see this as a good sign, that their TP is so out of touch with reality. Saying things that Marchionne wants to hear, but that will leave the team with a bigger sense of failure at the end of next season.

    1. The car was started late, allegedly? OK. The question is what are you, management genius, going to do to about that and be successful? RBR were a laughing stock during testing last year, but won 3 races and regularly fought for runner-up position. They didn’t throw in the towel. Ferrari is coming into next season with a reliable PU and top drivers, and they are already writing off the season. It’s unseemly.

  21. I have a confession to make: I am looking forward to this next year with great anticipation, hoping that the Scuderia do not disappoint – my least favorite driver with my least favorite team, in their full operatic meltdown mode, blaming each other and everyone else on the grid, full of arrogance and bloated with unearned money and reputation.
    I hope Mclaren beat them.
    I hope Lotus beat them.
    Hell, I hope Sauber beat them.

    Does that make me a bad person?

  22. petebaldwin (@)
    23rd December 2014, 19:58

    Interesting to hear that Mercedes didn’t have the fastest pit stop at any grand prix. I suppose they were always so far in front that it was just a case of taking your time and minimising mistakes!

  23. Are there a lot of problems in Ferrari? But the next season didn’t started yet.

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