Ferrari addresses reliability concerns with new hiring

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Ferrari has made a new hiring in its quality control department following the failures it suffered in Malaysia and Japan.

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Comment of the day

Adam is concerned F1 may be about to dumb down its engine formula:

I’ll be really disappointed if the engines are a step back. The current regs have produced engines that are phenomenally efficient, massively powerful from a small displacement, and are getting drivers to work harder to drive the car. I personally think it would be a shame to go back to something “dumb” regardless of the sound – F1 is about racing, not a decibel level competition.

As for the arguments that the engine should be less important – they tried that. What happened was a massive reliance on aero, that go so ridiculous that cars stopped being able to follow each other – a problem we still have to live with today. I’m not sure what the solution is, but I’m pretty sure that sticking your head in the sand and putting engines that are barely better than museum pieces in these cars is not it.
Adam Hardwick (@Fluxsource)

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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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76 comments on “Ferrari addresses reliability concerns with new hiring”

  1. What seatbelt controversy? It was brought up in a briefing once and they got an answer. This is a perfect example of why briefings have always been done behind closed doors, and why they should continue to be. The only thing that is a step too far is anybody making a big deal of it.

    I disagree with comment of the day, the last point in particular. F1 became over reliant on aero, and still is, because the aero regulations allow it to be so. A balance between engine and aero is obviously needed, but clearly the current engines have made the balance too far the other way. It’s surely not possible to say that the dispute between Red Bull and Renault, and the drastic failure of Honda, both of which are directly related to these engine regulations, have been good for F1. Aero is the bit that teams design and build themselves, and teams are where most of the credit is given. Also, with these engines, drivers aren’t really working harder to drive the car. They’re working harder to find the right setting to save fuel at the right time.

    1. I like those briefing peek-ins, and hope they keep them.

      But the seatbelt thing is far from a controversy; more like a nice anecdote.

      PS suggesting a ‘lap of honour’ after drinking champagne would be inconsistent with the drink/driving messages though.

    2. Re setbell controverse, Grosjean éventuellement said he thought it good and wanted it to be clarified wether it was allowed

      1. Tommy Scragend
        13th October 2017, 7:43

        I thought Grosjean only brought it up to snitch on Hamilton, after Hamilton had snitched on Vettel for taking his steering wheel with him!

    3. A balance between engine and aero is obviously needed, but clearly the current engines have made the balance too far the other way.

      @strontium I think the balance is about right. It’s just that Renault and Honda haven’t quite stepped up. Ferrari are proof that catching up can be done and the difference in the relative strengths/weaknesses of the Ferrari and Mercedes give the variation that we want to see circuit to circuit. To think that they’ve been so close all season despite such a massive change in regulations is remarkable.

      Surely the motor has to be at the forefront in motorsport?

      1. Motorsport is about racing so surely it should be the car and the driver that decide who wins and not the motor?

        1. That doesn’t make sense, unless you’re suggesting F1 have pedal cars as you don’t seem to count the motor as part of a motorcar, either that or a standard per unit which goes against the prototype nature of F1? Why is an engine any less important in deciding the outcome than the shape of the car?
          Different engine manufacturers have always been present in F1 and I think that the group complaining about engines being the differentiator are often fans of a team with an underperforming engine whereas people who complain about a team having an aero or chassis advantage may be week in that area. Prototype racing is all about a mix of the driver, engine, chassis, aero and anything else where the teams can get competitive advantage. Getting the balance right on these is difficult but as everyone is subject to the same rules it does unfortunately come down to who can develop fastest which normally means who has the most money to burn to find the final few 100ths is a second.

  2. @keithcollantine, Keith, please put the round up at the top of the page, today/night you have buried it below yesterdays roundup, one less click of the scrollwheel and I would have missed it completely. I sympathise with you having to work until midnight everyday and I know how fatigue can cause errors even in routine actions, so may I respectfully suggest you alter the deadline to 2200 hrs., surely very little happens between 2200 and 2400 anyway.

    1. I agree that it would be handy to have the daily roundup “sticky” at the top of the listing of articles.

    2. I agree i hate when we gotta search and or not even notice its there so +1 that and an edit button!

    1. Indeed. Surely it is more logical for engines to play an important role rather than aerodynamics. I think it should be exciting to see what the engine/drivetrain does (sigh, if only they were SHOWING/TELLING us openly), afterall it IS a core component of a car.
      – even though I am not sure they are still THAT important? Williams is nowhere with a Mercedes engine, Manor didn’t shine with it either, while McLaren is showing promise even with the Honda at times and Red Bull can still win once in a while now that they finally made their car good again after a weak start of the season, while at Ferrari it is not the lack of engine holding them back but driver mistakes, their driver desicion as well as technical gremlins that hurt their battle

      1. Well said @bascb,COTD +1

        Had Red Bull been at this level from Australia it would have been a three way fight for wins, WCC & WDC all along.

        I prefer seeing strength between teams/winners vary from track to track depending on power, low speed grip, downforce requirements, Tyres and temperature than only on who is fastest through the turns.

    2. Best COTD I have read in times. Couldn’t put i better “F1 is not a decibel contest”. We are witnessing some of the most amazing developments in PU department.

      1. I totally disagree – it is just the same old archaic internal combustion engine, just made more efficient, at HUGE costs, nothing amazing in that. and to ruin their good “Green” work, the manufacturers then go and inject oil to incread power!. Hybrid systems are a stop gap to the inevitable of full electric power, that has also been a terrible waste of money. they could have forced teams to keep v8s, fit them with hybrid and tell the teams to use 50% less fuel, and we could have had good sound and pointless efficiency numbers for the 2% diehards. what good are those efficiency numbers when the teams truck around so much freight polluting the world? manufacturers are already doing “more” in advancing the internal combustion engines in road cars, more than in the world of f1, so its not like the technology will trickle down to the public, that technology is already there, but car companies will ski[p most of it anyway when switching to more electric power.

        1. When people say that eletric power is the future (mostly because petrol will disappear at some point) I ask myself if they don’t know that you can run your car with Alcohol that’s 100% renewable, less poluent and cheapier than gasoline. I think the future will be Hybrid cars and not full eletric.

    3. Could not disagree with the COTD more.

      F1 is about racing, not a decibel level competition.

      It is about racing, not programming a sophisticated computer at 200mph. There is way too much going on in these things at the moment and just watch a lower category formula, there is a purity to the racing that is sorely lacking in the top tier because they are too busy micro adjusting these little details instead of leaning on basic analogue feel.

  3. So Ferrari has hired the head of quality control of the powertrain department for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Try googling “Fiat Chrysler reliability” and then tell me if that seems like a good idea.

    1. Are Ferrari road cars unreliable, how about Mopars?

      1. In 2016, Consumer Reports rated Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat, and Ram the four least reliable car brands (in order of decreasing reliability), so yeah, all FCA brands at the bottom of the barrel.

        As far as Ferrari is concerned, few people drive theirs enough to find out, so it’s hard to find actual data about their reliability. But anecdotally, they don’t seem to fare really well either.

        1. And Consumer Reports has had the almost identical rankings for YEARS. They rate things on the how do we personally like it and make up the rest. Their car rankings are so bad actual journalists tend to skip their reviews. Esp given that for 2016, the year you specifically mentioned Ford had proportionately triple the recalls and in shop repair requirements for their trucks over Ram. But hey, why let facts get in the way.

        2. Do you still believe in CR reports? How delusional…

      2. My point was that in consumer products you get what you pay for.

        Car manufacturers give the consumer what they think the consumer is paying for, and then charge for all the extras.
        That Honda reliability comes at a cost for the one who’s paying. I’m sue there’s other nationalities at play in Ram or Fiat products or that they could make their cars bulletproof for 200,000 kms but only if that was part of their business model.

        So i don’t equate the hiring of a QC person from a brand with a bad reputation in QC with a potential failure because we don’t know what was asked of that person at that job.

    2. @flatdarkmars

      It would seem that way. But I’ve owned several Hondas. They were/are exceptionally reliable and durable. Something got lost on the way to F1.

      Besides, they are competing with Renault and Merc. Neither of those brands scream quality.

      1. You’re right of course. I just thought it was funny, because if asked to improve quality control, no one is likely to exclaim “get me someone from Fiat Chrysler!” as their first response.

        In reality I’m sure they pulled someone from FCA because, given the intertwined ownership and management of FCA and Ferrari, it was just the best they could do on short notice. Had they tried poaching someone from, say, Toyota, it might have produced complications ranging from bruised feelings to a contractual dispute.

        1. A reversal by Ferrari. Would anyone have been surprised if it was “Ferrari addresses reliability concerns with new firing?” They’re making progress.

        2. FCA owns precisely zero shares of Ferrari. The only “intertwined ownership” are shareholders that own both, e.g., Agnelli.
          The Board and managements of FCA and Ferrari have a fiduciary duty to operate at an arms-length as these companies have no material cross-holdings. Marchionne makes a mockery of corporate governance.

    3. Honda ranks as one of the most reliable roadcars makers in the world, look at how they’re doing in F1. :P

    4. If the engineer hired is a good one, why not? You do know that quality control is about standards and procedures. Fiat does have other set of standards from those of F1, completely unrelated ones. By that logic, the only engineers capable of bringing in F1 should be from NASA or other space agencies.
      These people have to come from somewhere, just because where they come from is a failing business or low standards does not show they are not to task. Should F1 not hire people from Marussia then?

  4. A lap of honour AFTER the podium ceremony? Have they even been at a Grand Prix? Track invasions begin almost immediately after all cars arrive back to pits – this will be a nightmare to schedule, monitor and arrange safety.

    1. And what about the alcohol? Around the whole track are billboards: When you drink, never drive! And then couple of guys full of champagne are going for a trip with superfast cars?

    2. Not to mention that at most tracks is pretty useless to even do it because by the end of the podium ceremony 90% of the grandstands have emptied up, with fans either taking to the track, or heading to their cars, busses to leave, or to the camping to pack up and leave @zimkazimka!

  5. COTD: +1

  6. People want F1 to be the pinnacle of technology, yet they don’t want to have the performance of said technology to influence heavily the results. Am I seeing here a contradiction?
    Those people tend to think back to the 90’s and 80’s with rose tinted glasses, saying that most of these things were nil in those times.
    Well, you could come up with tons of examples, where even tyre performance was deciding factor, like with Ferrari in the 80s, or the 98 season where one of the big McLaren advantage over Ferrari was the superior Bridgestone rubber.
    To think that results were rarely influenced heavily by the tech they use is just rose tinted romanticizing, and I think toxic to the sport, as it brings up agendas and arguments which can hurt the development of F1.
    (yes even in a spec series, the rubber, the powertrain and aero are heavily influencing the results)

    1. @leventebandi, or, for that matter, claiming that it was somehow a “purer” era when that era saw the development of a swathe of driver aids (traction control, anti-lock brakes) and technological aids like active suspension were prevalent. I agree with you that there is some fairly heavy revisionism going on right now.

    2. Do people want F1 to be the pinnacle of technology? I thought they wanted F1 to be the pinnacle of Motorsport which is not the same thing.

  7. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    12th October 2017, 8:45

    The current engines are set around such a finite set of rules and criteria they’re not the pinnacle of what can be achieved anyway. Personally, having watched so many years of dominance from one car or engine provider and talented driver’s careers wasted in uncompetitive machinery I would much rather have a closer more competitive grid, if that means simpler more standardised engines then so be it. Otherwise smaller teams with lesser budgets will never truly compete again. As long as F1 is still the pinnacle of motorsport I’m not too bothered about simpler engines if the show is better. I have no interest in watching a time trial exhibition of the richest corporations show piecing their technology.

    1. +1 well said

      For the pinnacle in technology and a complete lack of safety they should throw the kitchen sink at Roborace. No drivers = no fatalities = no limits and get F1 back to man and machine not machine and man as it currently is.

      1. man and machine not machine and man as it currently is.

        @offdutyrockstar when was F1 one and when did it start becoming the other though, and due to what properties?

        1. @davidnotcoulthard that is a long and drawn out debate but suffice to say, success in modern F1 is more weighted towards what you are driving rather than who is driving it.

          That may have been true to an extent throughout the history of the sport but I believe it is to a far greater degree now than ever before.

          1. If pushed for an answer I would say the beginning of the end was 1998 when they started purposefully slowing the cars down and the teams scrambled to plug that deficit with an increasing amount of tech.

          2. @offdutyrockstar

            success in modern F1 is more weighted towards what you are driving rather than who is driving it

            Having spent a lot of time recently watching old races I don’t think it’s any worse now than it’s ever been.

            In F1 been in the right car has always played a big factor in drivers results. Niki Lauda for example didn’t do much of anything in F1 until he ended up at Ferrari in 1974 & even then he wasn’t able to contend for a championship until the following year when the Ferrari was the best car on the grid.

            Based on everything i’ve seen & read about F1’s past over the years I would say that the balance has been more about car than driver for most of F1’s history.

          3. That may have been true to an extent throughout the history of the sport but I believe it is to a far greater degree now than ever before.

            Agree to disagree @stefmeister

          4. to a far greater degree now than ever before.

            greater than 1954, 1955, 1950, 1988, 1992?

            There are a good number of ways F1 has regressed since the past (yes I do realise Fangio didn’t have a problem with dirty air like today – slipstreaming probably helped him), but I just don’t see this as being one such way at all. I guess I’m with @stefmeister here.

          5. One piece of recent history, Spa 2017. Alonso lost deployment in sector 3 at Spa because the ECU didn’t register that he took Pouhon flat. Now why is a computer calculating where to give power through the lap? Think about that, the car has a literal MAP of the circuit in its ECU which is changing the characteristics in anticipation of different parts of the track. A driver should have all the power, all the time and it’s up to him to manage the various components in the car to the best of his ability.

            Ditto the engine modes, why are they legal? Despite them being a factor in my preferred driver’s qualifying record this season, I have faith that he could still be leading the championship without them.

          6. @offdutyrockstar

            Think about that, the car has a literal MAP of the circuit in its ECU which is changing the characteristics in anticipation of different parts of the track.

            It doesn’t have a map in the ECU. The Honda system goes by throttle inputs, Over the weekend the teams & engine people look at drivers inputs & program charge/deployment based on those inputs.

            Also drivers can over-ride the presets & do manual charge & deployments. In Baku for instance Bottas over-rode the system & saved all his KERS power for after the final corner which allowed him to get by Stroll for 2nd.

            And looking to the past in the active suspension days the cars computers were adjusting various aspects of the cars ride from corner to corner among other things based on pre-set data. In 2002 the teams were able to change various aspects of the car (Engine, Gearbox, Differential & other stuff) from the pits without any driver input (Which helped DC win at Monaco when the team changed some oil pump settings).

            Ditto the engine modes, why are they legal?

            In the 80s they had different boost maps in qualifying compared to the race & up until parc-ferme rules in 2003 some teams had qualifying engines & even qualifying cars that had various components designed just to do 12 laps.

            End of the day regardless of the technology the drivers are still in control of the actual driving. There still the one’s turning the wheel, changing gear & operating the throttle/brakes. Even when you had driver aids like traction control, fully automatic gear shifts among other things driver talent was still the most important factor & even in those days it’s not as if you suddenly had poor drivers able to challenge/beat the better one’s.

          7. @stefmeister fair points. I still think that degree of intrusive driver aid should not be allowed. Many of the systems from years gone by were banned as they were deemed too automated but the engineers are so talented in F1 that they find ways and means around it. It feels like the championship is won in the R&D departments rather than the track and to be honest you won’t find many quotes from people within F1 itself to contradict this.

            With a clear gulf in talent we can see the difference, Ferrari and Mercedes’s current lineups for example. But for junior drivers like Leclerc coming in and posting laps comparable to Seb, Lando Norris posting laps comparable to Alonso and Stroll now matching and beating Massa with less than a season under his belt can we really say computer assistance isn’t at least partially responsible for this?

            Good debate by the way guys @stefmeister @davidnotcoulthard

          8. junior drivers like Leclerc coming in and posting laps comparable to

            @offdutyrockstar Isn’t that how people like Gilles Villeneuve, Niki Lauda, and Ayrton Senna entered F1 though, if I’m not mistaken? (that and do we really rate MAS that highly to begin with?)

          9. @offdutyrockstar, when hasn’t a championship been won in the R&D labs though? Why is, for example, an engine map more intrusive than, say, the active aerodynamics that Ferrari fitted to their car in 1968?

  8. They should keep the rules as they are. Let’s be honest here, they should have kept them as they were during 2014-2016 in aero and just discard the token system on engines as it is now. And from next year or so toning down the aero, even more, discard DRS would help more to improve the show.

    That DRS decision and the current aero rules…. The average CEO knows that if there is no big solution to something (improve the show, overtakes) then small little things over time will.

    And I don’t wanna even get started on the sound whether that is an issue… Maybe it is if you are technologically stuck to 80s-90s where everything making sound justified itself as machine…. That age is gone and the remnants of it gone soon and everybody is free to buy a Ford 1969 Mustang to enjoy an even better engine sound quality than f1 should ever hope to deliver.

    I would never leave f1 as a fan from the occasional transitional races. There is a much higher chance I’d leave it the moment it stops being the pinnacle of technology and the motor of a casual FIAT is more sophisticated.

  9. @cobray
    You know the funny thing about sound, manufacturers are playing all kind of tricks. “road relevant” includes things like exhausts outlets tuned at different frequencies, bypass valves, firewall sound tubes, and even speakers, both for cancelling and increasing noise.

    I’m ok with the current cars, because the sound is part of the function. Plus hearing loss is permanent.

    And like you said, the tech is part if it. NASCAR has really great racing, but the cars just dont do anything for me.

  10. Thats the elephant in the room yes. Engines cost cutting mechanisms end up costing more.

    Honda needs to make engines for next year that will last 3x longer than this year…

    Keep in mind this years engines did not last most races. It is an impossible task. Hence they will probably fail to deliver reliability, performance or both.

    1. Next year is going to be a joke in terms of reliability, cars will be coasting every opportunity they get. I do not hold out great hopes for the 2018 season at present, even if performance is equalised it’s likely to be a frustrating season.

  11. Does anybody know if Williams tested someone else apart from Kubica lately?

    1. Paul di Resta

      1. @jureo qualified not too far from STR? (or was there another test I missed?)


  12. Gasly won’t be doing the US GP at Austin. We are going to have a new driver debut :)

    1. Source?

    2. Or maybe we’ll see the real VER (maybe called VEG this time or something?)?

    3. Some say underneath his helmet is just another helmet and his left nipple outline resembles Suzuka… All we know is he’ll be driving Torro Rosso in Austin.

  13. I could not disagree with the cotd any more. Opinions can differ but some things were totally false, like this statement:
    “As for the arguments that the engine should be less important – they tried that. What happened was a massive reliance on aero, that go so ridiculous that cars stopped being able to follow each other – a problem we still have to live with today.”

    What happened was double diffuser and vettel domination. The engine had 0% nothing to do with it. Some of the best championships fights were had during the v8 years. The hybrid years have been total snoozefest in comparison. This year’s vettel vs hamilton battle has been total pancake with mercedes cruising into wins while fia gave them special liberty to use more oil as fuel. The amount of oil these hybrids consume as fuel makes them equal to 2 stroke engine. Efficient it is not in reality.

    Apart from that the rule changes made back then during v8 were a success. But in 2014 onwards the new engines the cars were so slow that fia felt the need to add more aero to make the cars look faster. Making it even harder to pass. V8 was the best racing engine f1 had. Equal power for all teams, good price so teams could survive and fight for wins and no 1 team total domination. Red bull was not even nearly as dominating as mercedes is.

    The hybrid engine is a total failure on every level. One team is winning everything, the engines cost way too much (remember marussia and caterham?) and force teams to sacrifice car design so they can afford a 2nd rate engine from one of the engine suppliers that is willing to sell them one. The engines are efficient for sure but also massively heavy. In racing trim a v10 would be faster over single lap and over race distance because the engine is so much lighter.

    An f1 car should not weigh 828kg. There are sportscars you can buy that weigh less! Colin chapman built his cars with the ethos that racing cars need to be light. Light is fast. The amount of aero that was needed to make these current gen obese hybrid engine cars as fast is a testament to their total failure as racing engines. Hybrids already killed lemans p1 protos. Is f1 going to be next? 5 more years of ferrari and mercedes domination if these engine rules stay?

    These engine rules are nothing less than abomination designed to ensure nobody but mercedes and ferrari can win. If that is what you want then these rules are exactly what you want.

    1. @socksolid, For someone who claims he/she could not disagree with the cotd any more, you seem to be saying pretty much the same thing though

      What happened was double diffuser and vettel domination. The engine had 0% nothing to do with it.

      That’s the point. When the engine had 0% influence on racing they turned to 100% aero dependence and the racing was much more of a snoozefest.

      1. F1 has been aero dependant every since lotus put wings on their cars in 1967. Only thing the v8 era brought was even more sophistication on that area with cfd making its breakthrough (using computers instead of win tunnels) and couple of changes in rules. But the cotd tried to make the point that the change was caused by the engine when in reality the engines had no relation to the ever improving aero and issues that happened. It was false statement.

        And personally I think it is much much better for f1 to be aero dependant than it is to be engine dependant. Every team builds their own cars. Everybody has a chance to build a great car. Nobody is relying on the big manufacturers to not let them down to get a benefit by selling worse engines to their competitors. There are only 4 engine manufacturers in f1 and only 2 of those are probably willing to even discuss about selling an engine to you.

        To even hint that teams like sauber, force india and haas should be building their own engines is absolutely ludicrous statement. It was not a possibility even in the v8 era, now it is impossiblity even for teams like mclaren and red bull who pour money into their f1 teams. And building your own engines is not f1. Only one team has done it over the years. Ferrari. Pretty much everybody else have bought or negotiation their engines from somewhere else.

    2. @socksolid, you’ve heavily biased your post towards the latter end of the V8 era, when the manufacturers had to agree to a price cap at artificially low prices, making a loss on the sale of the engine – which is exactly what is happening now. Before that price cap came in, the V8’s were not at all cheap – inflation adjusted, the costs were pretty much the same as the current engines, if not even higher at times.

      As for teams going into bankruptcy, those problems were still just as prevalent during the V8 era – you have neglected the fact that HRT and Super Aguri both went bankrupt during that era, for example.

      1. There are teams in every era that go bankcrupt. But when it comes to marussia and caterham I see the new expensive engine regulations as the direct cause whereas with hrt and super aguri the reasons are more to do with. Reading the wikipedia page the super aguri bankcrupt was a direct result of a breech of contract by third party.

        Where did you find engine price comparisons between say 2006-2007 to 2016-2017?

  14. I disagree with the comment of the day. While I agree about the fact F1 should be about racing, the track experience for fans at the races has been severely downgraded. Silverstone 2014/15/16 was no where near as enjoyable as usual due to the engines. My Dad even dozed off in the Grandstand during FP2 in 2016. The atmosphere has gone. This year we couldn’t make it and we didn’t miss it as much as I thought we would and enjoyed the experience of watching all the sessions live on C4. Getting proper F1 sounding engines should be a priority for the new engine regs. Yes by all means keep the hybrid tech but let’s get the sound sorted!

    (Nothing beats waking up at 8am on a Saturday morning in a Silverstone campsite to the sound of revving V10 engines! I remember that first morning in 1998 as though it was yesterday)

  15. Regarding the COTD, I think there’s a problem with assuming that going to a prior engine setup is a ‘step back’. We shouldn’t be deciding on the direction of power train development based on a current obsession with ‘complex technology = good, anything from the past = bad’. It’s over-simplistic, it’s shallow thinking, and it’s a sure-fire way of continuing down roads that we should’ve avoided. Though people hesitate to say it, the old engines were more exciting. They were visceral, powerful, less expensive, louder, and allowed F1 to have a greater number of small teams being competitive. So…. is your idea of ‘moving forward’ to become more sterile, virtually soundless, prohibitively expensive, and, ultimately, allowing only 2 or 3 giant corporations to be able to compete? Awesome.

  16. “Mendoza was previously head of quality control of the powertrain department for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.” Really? Fiat Chrysler? Okaaayyyy.

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