Ferrari risk “terrible disappointment” if they aren’t pace-setters – Hakkinen

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In the round-up: Ferrari risk disappointment if they aren’t as quick this weekend as they were in testing, according to two-times world champion Mika Hakkinen.

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Gelael will race in F2 this year
You have to look a long way down last year’s GP2 championship standings to find Toro Rosso’s new test driver Sean Gelael:

This is absolutely farcical and I don’t get it. For one, he’s terrible. Truly not good enough to even dream of driving an F1 car.

Secondly, it’s Toro Rosso. Between them they have Pierre Gasly, Niko Kari, Dan Ticktum and Richard Verschoor who are all very talented. Any of them would be a better choice. Yes, the latter three are inexperienced but talent trumps Gelael’s ‘experience’.

It really makes me wonder if Red Bull give Toro Rosso enough money. If they’re resorting to this, choosing a pay drive tester over a Red Bull junior, clearly they need it for their budget. Weird from Red Bull. And a massive shame.

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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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37 comments on “Ferrari risk “terrible disappointment” if they aren’t pace-setters – Hakkinen”

  1. Mikka must mean “Ferrari fans” will be massively disappointed, the team know the full potential of their car but, as in years past, they also know that the opposition will have an ace or two up their sleeves. I wish Ferrari the best but memories of pre-season testing headlines past suggests that SF will be in their usual position of nearly there but not quite, again.

  2. Stupid headline by the Independent. Not expecting something to happen is not the same thing as ruling it out entirely.

    1. Ricciardo: “It is my target and aim to be world champion”.
      Newspaper: “Ricciardo rules himself out of challenging for world title”.

      Now I understand why that guy keeps calling it ‘fake news’ ;)

  3. Mika surely meant Ferrari fans than the team themselves. No one in the team ever spoke about any thing about championship or wins , they are going by only one thing we are doing our job we dont know what the competitors are doing , we expect Merc to be ahead again.
    its media and fans hyping them selves up this time around rather than the team who used to issue big statements and only to fail in the season.

  4. This gotta be the least exciting off-season ever. Everyone is saying “no, we won’t be able to do this after all”.

    Force India already ruled out fighting for 3rd. Ricciardo thinks a title challenge is highly unlikely. McLaren is already saying 2017 will show little progress from them. Sauber is locked with an old engine. Sainz said the top teams are now further ahead.

    Only the folks at Mercedes are (somewhat) worried about Ferrari. But that’s it. Is everything so well simulated in the teams computers that the outcome of the season is already a given for most of them??

    1. I’m getting the impression that in the modern era senior staff are so afraid of losing their jobs that they want to keep expectations to a minimum.

    2. ‘Least exciting’ – I had to read that twice!

      Meaner cars, bigger tyres, potentially a few teams battling it out again at the front..?!

      It’s just the modern age, mate. Managing expectations. Simple as that.

  5. I was just saying this today.

    Either due to the media (probably more of this), or the unconsious vibes being given out by Ferrari. There is a lot of hype surrounding them (warrented or not).

    If they are not competative in Australia, it may be very embarrasing/frustrating.

    1. That’s not logical @mach1 Ferrari themselves haven’t been saying they are title contenters at all. The media did and probably some fans got their hopes up as a result. If Ferrari then isn’t contending and the media and fans go crazy, how is that on Ferrari?

      1. @jeffreyj Did you actually read my single sentance. I said unconsious vibes.

        They have set the fastest times in testing, vettel was seen to be lifting to hide true pace and they have playing down their performance (without much conviction). Ferrari have a track record of performing well at testing or practice and not being there on race day. So, that is my point. If it turns out to fit that pattern again, it will be very dissapointing for fans especially.

        As I said, this has not been helped by the media who are also fueling the the idea that Ferrari are the fastest.

        I just hope they are fast, otherwise there will be dissapointment.

        It will be embarresing for Ferrari regardless because they seemingly performed so well in testing.

  6. Is it really a surprise that Honda are a corporate beast? Ross Brawn and Gary Anderson have been saying this for years. Mclaren should have known what they were getting themselves into from the start.

    In Total Competition, Ross stated that he went to Honda HQ in Japan to give the honest truth to their Board and Chairman. They’d basically had wool pulled over their eyes, leading them to believe that the 08 Honda engine was top notch, when it clearly wasnt. I guess in this case, perhaps the board already knows their PU is a lemon.

    If they want to succeed, Honda has to take the approach of Mercedes. Create an autonomous division that’s purely focused on developing the F1 PU. Free itself of its corporate shackles. Easier said than done. And to improve efficiency, set up shop in the UK. On top of that, they would need somebody like Ross Brawn (once again, not a common commodity) to oversee both Mclaren and Honda programs.

    One would argue that Toyota’s success (well relatively) in the WEC can attributed to the fact that their base is in Germany.

    From a structural perspective, what they’ve got now, with Boullier on the Mclaren side and Hasegawa-san on Honda’s, clearly isnt working. To ensure that the processes that govern each organization is pulling the same direction, there has to be an overall Program/Portfolio manager. Otherwise, they’d just be cancelling each other out, which looks to be whats happening.

    Change doesnt happen overnight in F1. If Honda does not end up with a Competitve PU by mid season, both parties have to go back to the drawing board, not so much from a design perspective (although it may help), but from structural one.

    1. Toyota F1 team was also based in germany cologne. It is not the location. It is the whole culture. F1 team can not be run by quarter year reports and market analysts. It is constant development race where only things that matter are money and how well and quickly you can spend it for maximum bang for the buck. Sometimes it is better to be early and get it wrong than to be the last w ho gets it spot on.

    2. @jaymenon10, with regards to your comments that Honda must “Create an autonomous division that’s purely focused on developing the F1 PU. Free itself of its corporate shackles. Easier said than done. And to improve efficiency, set up shop in the UK.”

      In a sense, they have effectively done all of those things – their base of operations has been in Milton Keynes since 2014 precisely because Honda wanted to try and improve their integration with McLaren, and I believe that research and development office technically answers to Mugen Motorsport, not Honda (although the two companies are very closely aligned, Mugen is a separate entity from Honda), making it autonomous from the parent company.

  7. Estaban de los Casas
    23rd March 2017, 4:14

    Ricciardo has already given up….

    But Max won’t

    1. I believe Max was the 1st of the two drivers to say that he isn’t going to start the season battling for wins, and was skeptical if they could challenge for the title this year.

      It’s kind of depressing to see Red Bull almost throw in the towel in pre season testing itself. I was looking forward to Red Bull fighting at the front more than anything else this season. I think all hopes for an interesting season now lie with Ferrari. If we get to Melbourne with Ferrari half a second(or more) off the Mercedes pace, we could be in for the most boring season of F1 yet.

    2. Micheal (@shakengandulf)
      23rd March 2017, 6:30

      “It is my target and aim to be world champion, and I will do what I can to make it happen this year, but I am not expecting it.”
      Where did he say he was giving up?
      Or are you just having a shot at him.

      1. @shakengandulf, I’d take it as being a cheap shot at Ricciardo, because Verstappen has been saying pretty much the same thing as Ricciardo.

        Verstappen, for example has said that “Personally, I don’t think we can fight for the win at the moment. Much can change during the course of the season, but we are not good enough yet to win.”

        As you say, it strikes me that Ricciardo is hoping for the best – being able to challenge for the title – whilst at the same time being realistic about his chances. Similarly, Verstappen is playing down the chances of success for the team at the current moment, so either Estaban should think that both have given up or he is just going for a cheap and lazy attack on Ricciardo because he is purposefully ignoring Verstappen’s similar comments.

    3. read the article, not just the headline. Or better yet check out the press conference

      1. Does anybody really expect that Renault PU’s are up to Merc and Ferrari level?

        1. why not @robbie? Maybe not at the moment, but I see no reason for them to close the gap on the other two.
          As long as it shows in the RB, and not the Renault, I have no problem with it.

          1. @johnmilk For sure they could close the gap and I hope they do. Perhaps they’ll even surprise us this weekend, but I’m just speculating as to how many expect that. If they have to catch up, they’ll have to surpass the others to make up for lagging initially, in terms of a WDC fight. But anyway…let’s also see who takes points from whom as well…reliability…etc. Everything to play for.

          2. now that you say that @robbie I might have read too much into your comment.

            the weekend will be interesting, even if we don’t get the sort of racing we all want, at least we will have answers to our questions

    4. Ricciardo hasn’t given up at all. His litteraly said he is going to everything to win…. However, he’s also realistic about where the car seems to be at this point (i.e. behind Ferrari and Mercedes by a good margin, which is also what Verstappen has said last week).

      Clearly, you just see in this quote what you want to see in it.

  8. Boullier makes good points, but you would think that Honda are well aware of all that. Not only have they raced in F1 relatively recently, but they also currently race in many other categories.

  9. Thanks for the birthday shout out! What better way than to spend it trackside! Really looking forward to the weekend. So many questions to be answered!

    1. Enjoy a great trackside Birthday @tommy-c! Indeed, there can hardly be anything better.

  10. The more you behave like a corporate company, the more process inherited from a corporate company, the slower you are, the less agile you are …

    The claim Honda’s problems are because it has a corporate culture is a myth. Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault, etc, are all corporate environments, and they all have products that perform better than Honda’s, so the problem isn’t the corporate environment. Google is another example of a highly innovative corporation, it is most definitely a corporation, and it is most definitely an industry where you develop or die, and it is still, for more than a decade, the number one search engine. Honda-McLaren’s problems not keeping pace with the necessary rate of development isn’t because they are a corporate entity, the problem is their corporate culture is happy with being below average.
    As I said before, every major system failure brings with it minor system failures. The importance of this statement isn’t so much when you are aware of the major system failure, because you know the minor system failures will vanish once the major system failure is fixed. No, its main purpose is to make you aware that when you have a lot of seemingly unrelated failures that suddenly appear out of nowhere, then maybe they have a common basis. The problems with the McLaren car and Honda RA617H hybrid during the testing session seem unrelated, but my belief is their root is a common system failure behind the scenes, and once that is fixed the other problems will vanish too.
    As I said, it seems to me Honda is happy being last in terms of power unit development, and nothing will change until they decide they want to be first. Saying you want to be first is a waste of time, you need to actually embrace that desire python, you need bolt it to the ceiling and swing on it, you need tie it to your back and clamber over an army assault course with it, you need to hold that desire as the more important than the name “Honda-McLaren”. You cannot expect to be great if you aren’t prepared to cast yourself aside. Only then can you even hope to try and be first.
    Recently a world renowned expert on F1 engines was let go from Honda, presumably because his advice wasn’t welcome. Now, on the eve of the start of the F1 season Honda finds themselves with a below average F1 engine in terms of reliability and in terms of performance.
    Honda needs to question what is and what isn’t going to make them loose face. As far as I’m concerned an engine that is built with foreign expertise isn’t going to make them loose face, most people won’t even care, but an engine that is unreliable and under powered does make them loose face. So the question then is which is more important: being first, being competitive, or being last.

  11. Funny enough, this season will have only one rookie, yet 3 drivers will have their first Australian GP

  12. Mika you should be more worried about McLaren’s performance this weekend and not Ferrari’s otherwise your new role with the team mite be very short lived.

  13. Alonso sees no need to fill empty grid slots
    McLaren-Honda has uncovered a cunning way to gain a WCC spot ;)

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      23rd March 2017, 10:03

      My thought too.
      Nando knows if there were 30 cars he’d be starting on row 15

  14. As a Ferrari fan, I’m expecting nothing. Once bitten, hundreds of times shy. Well, maybe two or three times bitten.

  15. Honda finished 2nd (with Button) in their debut year as a manufacturer team. Meaning, that car was actually designed by BAR (the team they took over). From there everything went downhill quickly untill they build a monster just as they pulled out from the sport (which then became the 2009 title winning Brawn).

    That period made it clear that the modern version of the Honda company isn’t fit for F1. Ross Brawn could have told McLaren that much up front but I guess they didn’t ask him.

  16. COTD: I agree wholeheartedly that it’s disappointing to see low ranked juniors get test drives. This backs up my whole point about the fad that was Suzi Wolff and other female drivers a few years ago. If and when a female driver with genuine runs on the board in the junior categories comes along she should get a great gig, what with all the sponsors who would want to get on board with a properly competitive female driver; F1’s version of Michelle Mouton for example. Until then however it would do more harm than good for female drivers in F1. But I digress…

    While I love Fernando, his comment about F1 not needing more teams is proved wrong by drivers like this new guy getting test gigs when he really does not merit them. If teams like Minardi, Tyrrell and more recently Manor still were on the grid, young up and coming drivers would have more of a chance of driving in F1 on merit. This would be even more possible, both for those sort of backmarker teams to exist and for drivers to get drives without millions in sponsorship, if Brawn’s ideas about budget limits or rewriting the rules to allow teams to operate on far less than is required now get through.

    I just hope it happens that’s all. I want to see more drivers like Alonso in the 2001 Minardi rather than Chilton in the Marussia thanks very much

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