Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Pirelli tyre test, Fiorano, 2016

Ferrari “switched off very early for 2017” – Wolff

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In the round-up: Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff believes Ferrari switched their focus to the 2017 season early to steal a march on the competition next year.

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Mercedes may have some cunning tactics in mind to reduce the impact of a third reprimand for Lewis Hamilton:

Mercedes (Paddy Lowe I believe) made some comments about Hamilton’s reprimand situation after Friday practice in Hockenheim which indicated to me that they’re thinking tactically about this last reprimand and subsequent penalty.

I won’t go as far as saying that I expect Hamilton to incur another reprimand on the same weekend he takes his new power unit components, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Looking at that list there are a number of things that Mercedes could fail to ‘advise’ Hamilton on, such as where/how to rejoin the track after certain corners, or even simply failing to tell him who is on a hot lap behind him. Are Mercedes willing to go to such lengths to ensure a level playing field for their two drivers?

It’s certainly not within the spirit of the rules and I can picture the fallout already. However aside from the fact that it would obviously have been premeditated, could the stewards/FIA actually do anything to prevent or punish it?
Mark G (@Sparkyamg)

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Keith Collantine
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  • 45 comments on “Ferrari “switched off very early for 2017” – Wolff”

    1. Ferrari probably switched off early for 2014, just like BMW switched off early for 2009.

      1. Ferrari also switched off early in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2014. Doesn’t mean that they will make a competitive car next season.

        1. indeed @todfod. From past experience Ferrari has been “switching off early to focus on next year” about nearly every second year of the last decade now with little resuluts showing for it in those “next year”s @david-a

        2. Exactly, I don’t see evidence that giving up on 2016 will mean a better 2017 for them.

    2. I believe Toto is right on Ferrari switching early to 2017. Obviously Ferrari have built a 2016 car which has shown some potentials – fast on some days and then not. So it is possible they are transferring the pluses of the present car to the next. My worry however is that the squad has undertaken major personnel overhaul during a season of change and July/August is clearly late for such.

      Renault’s claim about finding it difficult to hire the right people they need is bull. The people they need are not that difficult to find. I hate hearing it is difficult to hire. You never get the exact thing you need. If you keep waiting for that, progress is bound to be slow.

      @keithcollantine Another Hamilton tiger report? Two reports on this same subject in 24 hours? I do wonder why you don’t post any of Ham’s tweets or reports on his worldwide work with various charity organisations which has been on-going for years. I thought those are the things that matter. In case you ask, I have seen soft articles on some drivers on this site but never on Hamilton – maybe I missed them. If anybody has seen, pls point them out. Just asking.

      1. Hamilton, I am afraid- is a naive idiot- he always has been. You don’t have to be smart to be a very quick F1 driver- that comes from natural ability and psychological drive, and just so happening to have the right people around you. He probably was not aware that those animals were drugged (which they almost certainly were)- I just cannot believe someone could be that stupid.

        1. Intelligence IS important for Formula 1 drivers. Fast reaction times are closely related to having a high IQ and that’s extremely important for any top racing driver. Testing, giving feedback on the set-up, handling the media every day, etc. also requires you to be relatively smart. A driver like Alonso probably has an IQ of +130.

          Hamilton might be naive, but I still think he’s smart. Smarter than the average person for sure. Everybody does some foolish things now and then, such as this, but it doesn’t mean you’re a stupid person overall.

          1. Hamilton understands how F1 plays the fans and I am pretty sure he understands the real game being played, not the ones the masses follow. So in that respect, hes much ‘smarter’. Smart being something of a subjective declaration anyways. As for drugging animals (care to provide evidence?) and photo ops, and the incessant knocks on HAM’s mental capacity, that is likely to never stop, some people really can’t see past their own manufactured ‘branding’ (mooo). I don’t agree with some of what Lewis does, but, he is his own man (on that journey), and as long as he owns himself, and doesn’t subscribe to someone else’s lie, hes probably smarter than 80% of everyone. If you want to know someone who buys in to the charade, because that’s all they have ever known, and known to get buy on, you have to look no farther than the opposite side of the garage. hash tag truth.

            Life is too short to go around knocking people who have absolutely no bearing on you or yours. It’s a reflection of something that doesn’t exist. Beware of false ‘images’.

            1. Nobody of his status and his power could possibly do something as irreponsible and as dumb as posting pictures on Instagram posing with heavily drugged, abused animals. It’s bad for F1’s image and bad for Hamilton.

            2. oh please. Maybe it’s bad for you to manufacture unsubstantiated claims. If you have proof, you might want to share it. Those cats don’t look anywhere near the cats I checked out on google whom were heavily drugged. When you think about the situation those animals are in, being around people, probably well fed, maybe treated well, it’s not really much of a stretch (special emphasis on well fed). Your claim is the greater stretch, perhaps you could link to an article about the place Lewis visited, and how they drug animals for people to pose with.

              As for F1’s image, well, heh, the FIA are doing their finest to keep anyone but them from running it in to the ground. Slander really isn’t a legitimate form of criticism.

        2. It’s one of those things that’s obvious enough once someone has pointed it out. Just as it’s obvious – or should be, to anyone with a bit of imagination – that since there is an industry doing it, there are plenty of people ‘that stupid’. Or that trusting, perhaps.

          Of course it seems obvious to PETA, but we all know different things, and it’s good that now a lot of people know about the drugging of the animals who didn’t know before.

      2. The tiger reports are interesting, because they follow up on the story. First we had a nice tweet from Hamilton and then some wildlife-protector organisation critisizing. This article gives a bit more on the Why of that critique.

        see this quote (about how it is even possible to have the likes of tigers patted by celebrities):

        The other option is perhaps worse. In the exotic animal selfie industry, animals are very often drugged to keep them placid. It seems very unlikely that the foundation would feel comfortable with sending Lewis Hamilton in to play-wrestle with grown big cats unless they were drugged. Surely that knowledge would take the edge off your holiday memory?

        1. I hope Keith is able to find the reply written by the people who runs the sanctuary and post in tomorrow’s round up.

          What’s interesting, is that Lewis did the same thing last year and there was no such uproar, so why now?

          Is this another moment of PETA acting like leaches and attaching themselves to someone famous so as to gain further notoriety ?

          Also, what has that organisation actually done to other than throwing flour filled balloons in protest on people to help rescue endangered animals?

          This is the same organisation that has been accused of mismanaging funds, involved in corruption and also been accused of racism.

          In truth, this is a none story, but given it’s Hamilton it will be picked apart bit by bit.

          1. Love your use of the word uproar in this case.

        2. ColdFly F1 (@)
          13th August 2016, 13:22

          It never seizes to amaze me seeing people complain about the inclusion of certain links when they are free to ignore them; or just leave F1F all together.

          If only we could just have mature discussions about the content and wider topics in F1.

          1. First of all- Hamilton is an F1 driver- and the defending F1 world champion. So on your basis- I should leave F1F because I don’t fit your idea of what an F1F user should be? Incredible… I was not complaining about the inclusion of the article- I just didn’t like what Hamilton was doing- because it is bad for F1’s image.

            1. ColdFly F1 (@)
              14th August 2016, 0:23

              I was not complaining about the inclusion of the article

              So I wasn’t talking about you then!

    3. Re: CoTD – that sort of thing happens in football. Quite a few players have been accused of (or have admitted to) deliberately picking up a yellow card in order to serve a suspension at a convenient time, to remove the risk of a ban in a more important game.

      Frowned upon and players can get in more trouble for doing it (in some competitions), but it’s very easy to do and incredibly hard to prove.

      In F1… I don’t think there’s anything specifically relating to this in any of the regulations (had a quick scan, correct me if I’m wrong), and it’d be very hard to prove with any certainty even if there was. In Mercedes or Hamilton’s shoes, I’d definitely be thinking about it.

      1. And in law it’s an accepted practice for offenders to serve jail time concurrently for multiple offences to wipe the slate clean.

      2. @neilosjames they’ll have to play it clever as I’m sure that an unsporting conduct done on purpose could be heavily punished. So impeding another driver is probably not an option. Also they’ll have to make sure they get a reprimand and not another penalty, it’s a thin line.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          13th August 2016, 14:00

          Indeed they have to play it smart, @spoutnik.
          The reprimand needs to be for a driving infringement, otherwise there is no 10-place grid penalty either.

          But more interesting will be what happens after a 4th reprimand! It’s not defined in the rules; it doesn’t say that the counter resets to zero. Who knows it could be 15 places after a 4th, or even worse. Unchartered territory.

          1. @coldfly

            The reprimand needs to be for a driving infringement, otherwise there is no 10-place grid penalty either.

            I don’t believe that’s the case: The rule states “the ten grid place penalty will only be imposed if at least two of the reprimands were imposed for a driving infringement.” Both of Hamilton’s reprimands so far have been for driving infringements, so the third one doesn’t have to be.

            1. ColdFly F1 (@)
              14th August 2016, 0:26

              I wouldn’t have thought ‘reversing in the pitlane’ would be considered a driving infringement.

            2. As far as I am aware, the stewards have a great deal of latitude with most penalties. If they suspect that Merc/HAM have purposely engineered a reprimandable infringement to coincide with other penalties, they would be very much able to impose a different penalty, not a reprimand, therefore leaving the 2 reprimands in place as well as imposing a potentially more severe punishment. Even if there is a rule they can break which mandates a reprimand, there are generic rules with respect to sporting conduct and bringing the sport into disrepute which could be triggered by such a move, particularly when they are already pushing the rules to their limit over engine changes.

              Because of this, I do not believe they would take this option. It carries far too much risk as a strategy.

    4. Martin Brundle has hit the nail on the head, it wont matter how good the 2017 cars look if they can’t race in close proximity to each other.

      1. yup, it’s all nice and fine if they look great. But what fans really want is that the drivers can go for close racing with them.

      2. @hohum
        Agreed. I’ve never really understood racing fans who think that the looks or sound of F1 cars are more important than how raceable they are in close proximity.

        1. Speaking as longterm fan who finds the sound of the cars important, I can categorically state @kingshark that I have never said, and know of nobody else every saying that the sound is MORE important than the racing.

      3. Total agreement @hohum .

        Funny thing is, I don’t anyone has a clue how this will shake out until these new cars are driven in anger at a close proximity to each other. It could easily be the best thing ever, the worst thing ever or more of the same of what we have now…

      4. I’m wondering if a return to fully compound based racing tires and not temperature induce wear will alllow for better racing? I knew the tires of the past were different but didn’t know how. Someone on F1F posted a fantastic summary based on basic compound and temperature based compound wear.

      5. Guybrush Threepwood
        13th August 2016, 23:02

        Martin Brundle is right, but if he thinks the cars now can race in close proximity he is wrong.

        You can’t break something that is already broken.

      6. Unfortunately experts, have said it, Martin has said it, lots of us have said it, but … well it doesn’t matter what most of us say now, some experts have decided next year’s cars will race better with when they leave more turbulence in their wake. So now we have to wait for 2017. Maybe those in charge will pay attention if Bernie says something, but unless he does nothing will change between now and Melbourne.

    5. I’ll believe Toto when I see it. He has constant bias, estimating Merc to be 0.5s slower, Ferrari 0.5s faster and RBR 0.1s faster than reality.

      Then on race day Ferrari is nowhere, Mercedes opens up 0.5 whenever needed, and RBR is somewhere in the middle.

      Ferrari has glimpses of genius, but overall at no time in last 3 years anyone was “close” to Mercedes level.

      1. @jureo they are just cruising around, with Hamilton preserving his engines as much as he can. They always seem at 70% capacity. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mercedes could bag the championship even with half the ERS they have.

        1. Yeah, when crusing around they are only comftably faster than RBR and miles ahead of Ferrari.

          When pushing really hard, their brakes tend to fail. Maybe their car is unable to be pushed 100% of the time?

    6. I don’t think Ferrari gave switched early, they’re changing their organisation, which is common corporate code for “we’re out of ideas”.

      Basically I think we can expect more of the same from them in 2017 – Yep… I’m calling it at the midpoint of the 2016 season. More of the same for 2017.

      1. That’s a bold prediction, especially considering we’re basically getting more of the same we’ve gotten every season starting in 2010.

        I’m a Ferrari fan but their form since late 2008 leaves me very frustrated.. Every now and again they seem to be going forwards (2010, early 2013, 2015) then manage to lose the plot either mid season or next season. I don’t even care anymore what’s going on, I just want them to bloody solve it already.

        1. the problem isn’t Ferrari’s its a rule set that works for one particular competitor and not others. When you over regulate, limit opportunities and degrees of freedom you help promote the centralization of power, influence, corruption, etc….

          Ferrari, Williams, Renault, etc… will never beat Mercedes at their own game, they don’t have the initial input or the budget to keep up with them, this is a fact, Mercedes will own the V6 Turbo Hybrid era, because that is what the FIA wants. If the people in charge of F1 actually wanted to see real competition, they would not limit the rules like they do.

          I can see Renault leaving after 2018, and Sauber leaving just before or about the same time. F1 will continue to promote the Mercedes brand, run their safety cars and preach Green as a trade off for inequality and oppression. The irony.

          If Ferrari really want to win, they need to quit F1. You can’t win in a system that chooses who wins. Unless being told what to do is considered winning :) The irony.

          1. Funny thing is that Ferrari are completely capable of losing even if they are being the ones chosen to win.

          2. @xsavior, how can a team where there has been repeated major changes amongst the senior management of the team hope to successfully direct and manage its resources and hope to catch up with their rivals?

            In the past five years, the team has gone through four different Technical Directors, three different Chief Aerodynamicists, at least two different heads of vehicle dynamics, three different heads of engine/powertrain development (having undergone a major restructuring of their engine and electronics divisions by choosing to merge the two units in late 2014), at least two different heads of their tyre analysis division, along with a minimum of two different head of wintunnel operations and sporting operations managers, and that is just a fraction of the personnel changes that Ferrari have made in recent years.

            In fact, if you were to compare the line up of the team in 2011 to their current line up, I don’t think that there is a single technical or managerial departmental head that hasn’t either been fired or changed their role in the past five years – assuming that their role still exists in a number of instances. As noted before, some departments have been heavily restructured, such as the engine and electrical design teams being merged in an effort to improve the integration of their energy recovery systems and their engine – only for the management to then decide to shift a chunk of their engine development out of house and over to an independent mechanical engineering company instead.

            Asides from that, in recent years you had the infighting between Montezemolo and Marchionne, with the former trying to resist the latter from interfering with the team, but eventually losing out to the latter. Since then, there have been complaints that Marchionne has taken a bit too much interest in the team and has begun to micromanage it, with increased interference in the day to day operations of the team that is potentially proving to be disruptive.

            You can blame the rules all you want, but quite a few of the problems that the team has had have been there for years and constantly undermined their success in the V8 era just as much as they do now – they are constantly resetting their progress by continually changing their team, their management style and their design philosophy, and it is hurting them quite considerably.

            Some rival teams were suggesting that Ferrari’s internal squabbles and personnel changes – especially since it seems that quite a few of those who joined alongside Allison have now walked out of Ferrari and are looking to go back to the Enstone team – have effectively set the team back by three years, such has been the disruption.

            As an aside, I consider it quite weird for you to bring Williams into the equation when they’ve really not been competitive for over a decade. They have only won one race in the last decade (Maldonado’s victory four years ago in Spain), whilst the last time before that was Montoya’s solitary win in the 2004 Brazilian GP – even when they had BMW pumping huge amounts of money and providing them with the best engine in the field, Williams still sometimes struggled.

            At the moment, they don’t even look like the best privateer team – Force India look like they have overtaken them – and, in all honesty, their last really competitive season was in 2003. The name might be evocative of past glories, but they’ve really not been competitive for over a decade and not won a title for nearly two decades now.

            1. You can talk up and down about Ferrari’s leadership and lack of stability, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter, Merc have a technological advantage that their rivals dont, and I am willing to wager a few billion Benz dollars, it won’t be matched any time soon. Merc were willing to walk away from F1 when it was suggested they shouldn’t do the new formula. Formula Merc, their rivals should walk away and let Merc celebrate the ridiculousness of calling something a competition that is just really a production for TV that is hyper regulated.

              Ferrari have never had the measure of Mercedes since Lewis came along, and they won’t. They have a car that is great off the line, but thats about it. Renault have nothing but a name that is getting butchered every season they stay in this hot mess, and Honda have really no chance of catching Ferrari, because they just don’t have same interest per cost. The problem isn’t Ferrari, the problem affects every team that isn’t Merc. Sauber, Renault, the Merc Handout team called Manor, the once Merc handout team called Williams, now going backwards because someone was forced to divest their financial/wifey interests from the team. The rest, barely holding on, doing a great job advertising the benefits of austerity, and a few commentators trying to make Nico Rosberg look better than he actually is. This is what happens when authority goes unchecked because some people believe competition is doing what you are told.

            2. oh yeah, RBR, hoping to get 2nd, hoping to beat Ferrari, and vice versa, thats really the only point of F1, who is 2nd best.

              All they have to do is drop the fuel quantity limitation and limit boost, to really give the other teams a passing chance. That is the most obscene part about this mess, one rule, 100kg of fuel per race, is keeping Mercedes comfortably in the lead and keeping teams like Ferrari and RBR behind.

              If two things happen, Lewis leaves Merc, and the FIA drop the fuel limitation (not 100kg/hr) Mercedes go backwards considerably. But unfortunately, with the FIA increasing both aero and power train drag rates for next year, Merc’s fuel efficiency will only mean a more decisive advantage, courtesy of people who go on and on about one thing but mean (effectively) something completely different.

            3. @xsavior, I feel that you have warped the train of events to fit your claim that this regulation package was written with Mercedes in mind.

              With regards to the development of the current regulation package, we know from minutes that have been leaked from meetings between the teams and the FIA that it was Renault who were the first to propose that the next engine format should increase the relative importance of hybrid energy recovery systems.

              Renault also made it a matter of public record, and in private in those meetings, that they would quit if the new regulations did not come in long before Mercedes made such threats – the changes to the regulations were originally driven by a need to keep Renault on board, not Mercedes.

              Meanwhile, according to Newey, the regulation package was in fact written in an attempt to lure VW in – VW are known to have participated in negotiations on the current engine format back in 2010, as did Honda, and Newey has claimed that VW promised to enter F1 if the engine rules were written to their demands (only to then walk out of the deal). In that same meeting, Honda also made the current engine regulations a precondition for their return to F1 – again, all of those demands by other engine manufacturers predated any threat by Mercedes to quit the sport.

              Moving onto your technical points, you’ve repeatedly claimed and yet repeatedly failed to explain why your proposals would work. Why are you so insistent that removing the 100kg fuel allowance would suddenly make the other engine manufacturers more competitive? If Mercedes’s advantage comes from fuel efficiency, you’re still giving them that advantage – you’re just going to convert it into a fuel mass advantage, which would enable them to streak off into the distance during the early stages of a race and then control the pace from there.

              It also assumes that the limitation of the other teams is in terms of fuel efficiency, but that is not necessarily the case. There have been reports in the international press that Ferrari are currently hamstrung by the modifications they made to their turbocharger in order to try and improve the efficiency of their energy recovery systems and issues with components suffering from fatigue before they can reach their lifespan – letting them use more fuel offers no benefit if they are having to detune the engine in race trim in order to hit the lifespan requirements.

              Renault’s problems, meanwhile, have been quite varied, including issues with pre-ignition and issues with mechanical fatigue (such as the piston failures they were suffering from last year, which were down to issues with unexpected stress concentrations in certain parts of the piston crown after they modified its shape).
              Again, I don’t see why giving them more fuel would solve mechanical issues that are related to the design of the engine and would still limit their performance even if they could use more fuel over the course of a race – your proposed solution doesn’t address any of those issues.

      2. What a far fetched prediction… Ferrari failing to be top team yet again?

        Seems they are always one restructure away from winning titles. Saddly its always next technical team, next year, next, ruleset, next driver…

        They are however reliably close to the top. Look at what happend to other legacy teams, McLaren, Williams..

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