Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Suzuka, 2018

Brawn believes Ferrari slump is linked to loss of Marchionne

2018 Japanese Grand Prix

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Former Ferrari team principal Ross Brawn believes the team’s slump in form this season is linked to the loss of president and CEO Sergio Marchionne, who died in July.

Brawn, Formula 1’s managing director of motorsport, pointed out that the team have improved in many respects since last year.

“It’s obvious from even a brief analysis of the way the car behaves that Ferrari has a very strong technical package,” he said, “thanks to the efforts of the past few years which has seen the team close a technical gap to Mercedes that had developed since the introduction of hybrid power units in 2014.”

“Compared to last year, even Ferrari’s reliability has improved,” Brawn added.

He identified the loss of Marchionne following the German Grand Prix as a significant factor in the team’s downturn since the middle of the year.

“There is no doubt the shock of the sudden death of its leader, Sergio Marchionne, who had been such a strong reference in the team, will have a major impact, and that is totally understandable.”

Following Marchionne’s death Ferrari named John Elkann as its new chairman and Louis Carey Camilleri as CEO. The team’s leadership must avoid the temptation to ‘play the blame game’ in the wake of its increasingly likely championship defeat, said Brawn.

“Having experienced many crises myself during my time with Ferrari, what I know is that this is the time to come together, stay united and look ahead, without resorting to recrimination and playing the blame game.

“Drivers, engineers and management all win and lose together, which is an unwritten rule in every sport, not just Formula 1. Everyone at Maranello knows that. Now is the time to try and turn things around and finish in style a season that has many positives.”

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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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42 comments on “Brawn believes Ferrari slump is linked to loss of Marchionne”

  1. Scarbs had a rather interesting theory that Ferrari was quietly banned from using its PU the way they did before. Was on Peter Windsor’s Youtube channel but haven’t heard about it anywhere else

    1. we demand answers!

        1. oh yeah, that’s the stuff

          if he is right, it is a bit stupid to ask a team to stop doing something that isn’t really illegal. And if they ask them to stop they should disclose it to everyone and say “here boys and girls, you can do this ok? or else there will be no chocolates”

          1. So would that apply to Mercedes? The FIA banned their suspension system at the start of the 2017 season. After Australia they were also told to remove something from their PU, which gave them a performance boost.

            This is not the first time they’ve done this.

          2. Yes, they have been doing stupid things for a while now

        2. @mrboerns Thanks for the link, it was a good watch for me.

        3. Oh Hamburgers! You guys clicked on it? Quick, wipe everything! Protocol Zero!

          1. The batterygate. There I named it, I will sue your asses if you use it

          2. @johnmilk Apple already had his batterygate.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batterygate

            Bit the same actually.. using the battery to slow down ;)

          3. Damn it Steve

          4. We could call it the doublebatterygate.

          5. What about ioncellgate, no it’s not a pop artist

          6. Cellbinder
            Age of Ion

          7. If Ferrari protested this and won, could we call it a ‘revolt’

          8. Cellbinder II
            Revolution

          9. Batteman, the eletron rises

            I feel we are moving away from the point

            @ceevee that’s a good one

          10. …what about “tricksgate”???

          11. that would be an interesting tactic

        4. Mark Hughes seemed to say that wasn’t true in his latest article.

    2. The FIA did the same to Mercedes after Australia

  2. Now is the time to try and turn things around and finish in style a season that has many positives.

    I agree with this.
    I recall watching Michael Schumacher win races, and it wasn’t one thing that won the race, it was everything that won the race: the car was excellent, the engine was excellent, the driving was excellent, the strategy was excellent, the pit crew were excellent, etc.
    I don’t know why Ferrari’s strategic decisions were awry at the Japanese GP, but the best way to deal with those is internally. There are four races to go. Whether or not the season championship titles have been lost is beside the point, as Brawn says, Ferrari need to finish showing how they want to compete next season: as World Champions.

    1. In retrospect it would be very interesting how much Ferrari actually dominated everyone in the early 2000s and how much it was just Mclaren dropping the ball really hard. Just look at the DNF stats Mclaren had from 2001- 2004. If you’d told Dennis back then that this was almost like as Mclaren-Honda he’d been thourougly confused.

      1. I remember those years very well. It was tough being a McLaren fan back through those years (quite a few DNFs from the lead, if my memory serves correct)… I suppose it still is, but I no longer pledge such die hard allegiance to the team from Woking. I have loads of fond memories, but I followed Lewis over to Mercedes. Life on Sundays has been a lot less stressful…
        It’s funny though, because my brother has always been a die hard Ferrari and Schumacher fan, so those were his golden years & these are now his days in the wilderness… I’m a tiny bit sympathetic, but I’ve enjoyed these years. Never know when Ferrari or Red Bull might find the magic ingredients right out the gate, & steal a march of their own, so I’ve been soaking it up while it lasts.

        1. yeah….I remember those years..they were brutal as Schumacher dominated and I was a much younger McLaren fan…..I still am but the years have cooled my temper and I learned to enjoy the races no matter who wins as long as it is exciting….I also learned to appreciate that I was a witness to a legend dominating the sport (Schumacher)….I now feel the same as I watch Hamilton (although he broke my heart when he left us).

    2. Nell (@imabouttogoham)
      9th October 2018, 7:21

      Time has given me time to heal from those seasons where Ferrari ran so rampant. It was in the formation years of my F1 following so it has left an indelibel imprint on my mind.

      At the time, like the OP said, it wasn’t that Ferrari had Schumacher, but they seemingly had the best strategy (the 4-stopper in Magny-Cours comes to mind), the best pit team and took advantage of whatever advantage they were allowed to have. Granted, there were many “concessions” but that Ferrari team is not this Ferrari team, which just stumbles with error after error.

  3. This has been a constant theme for Ferrari since 2009. A strong start to the season, maybe even a strong start following the summer break, but they completely fall off at the end. Then it’s “lets finish as strong as we can” and “next season”.

    The buck has to stop somewhere. This season, while marred by the unfortunate passing of Mr. Marchionne, has to result in changes. Arrivebene or Clear need to be moved off and some fresh talent and minds brought in. Namely, Ferrari’s strategy has been putrid all year long.

    It’s tiring to see the exact same things happen, year in and year out. The summer break resumed with a win but following that, a complete chaotic downfall. Hopefully Charles coming in can breathe some youthful vigor into the team, because it is sorrily missing that.

    1. On the bright side, if Vettel keeps going like this Ferrari will finish with a bang

    2. With lousy starts to 2009, 2012, 2014, (At least resultwise) 2016, i wouldn’t call the theme ‘constant’

    3. I have no recollection whatsoever about ’11 except Vettel won, Hamilton crashed into Massa and Senna qualified a black and gold Lotus 7th on his sort-of-debut Spa which noone took notice off despite it kinda mirroring the often celebrated heroics of a certain german guy. So i don’t know about Ferrari s Start to the season.

    4. I agree with you that this has been the way things go with Ferrari for many years now. Remember we saw their championship battle dwindle about the same time last year. So I do not agree with Brawn that this is the reason. Rather it is a factor this time around, while last year it was Marchionnes pressure on his team to deliver etc.

      The team has to change, not sure about chopping off the head – that would not give the right signal internally, but I don’t get the impression Arrivabene is the right man at the right place either. But the team has to stop playing the blame game on itself, with the board and with the (Italian?) press and forge a unit that holds together, like they had when Schumi was winning everything.

  4. When was the last significant upgrade that Ferrari brought to a race weekend? Could their late-2018 performance (and title hopes) be suffering due to an early/heavy investment in their 2019 package? (Seb’s mistakes notwithstanding… taking away his errors in Germany, Monza and Japan, they’d probably still have a decent shot at the driver’s title at least.)

    1. They had a massive upgrade in Singapore and the updates keep coming this year. Almost every race there are changes..
      So no, 2019 is not a priority at the moment.

      1. According to Mark Hughes, the Singapore update was actually partly responsible for the Singapore, Sochi, and Japan’s Friday lack of pace @erikje, @partsguy20 – they found that out via a Friday to Saturday overnight simulator back-to-back test from Kvyat, and ran Saturday w/o it, with much improved pace (but bottled Q3). So, big update still. But maybe not entirely a show of strength (though finding the problem is, I think).

    2. @partsguy20, rather than one large update package, they have been bringing a stream of small upgrades over the past few races – there were upgrades in Singapore for the rear wing, the front wing was upgraded in Sochi and there were changes to the rear of the floor and the front brake ducts in Japan. The fact that they have been bringing updates over multiple races would seem to suggest they have still been pushing on with development of their current car and haven’t started throwing everything at their 2019 car just yet.

      1. Thanks to you and erikje for the responses. Somehow I missed the mention of those upgrades during the broadcasts! Glad they haven’t given up on the development side.

  5. It’s simple.

    The drop in relative performance to Mercedes and Red Bull is related to that “cooling bean-bag” / “weird box whats-it” placed at the airbag opening on the start line.

    No idea how of course, but intuitively I suspect that’s what’s changed: they’ve stopped using it, whether or not it’s still being placed there.

    They have decided they were going to get investigated in a way that would be more adverse than no longer doing whatever it was.

    Sounds like a real conspiracy theory, I know. But there it is….

  6. The timing of his death coincides with their fall. I noticed/thiught this a few races ago. Losing your leader is tough to overcome. They just don’t seem right.

  7. TeselOfSkylimits
    9th October 2018, 0:17

    I believe he is right. No large corporation rebounds so quickly after sudden death of it’s big boss. To expect FCA to get weather without a hitch is more or less unreasonable. And it’s unlikely that in FCA family, Ferrari F1 team has first priority.

    If Dieter Zetsche were to suddenly die of fast progressing cancer, Daimler AG would also probably go trough a shock and Mercedes Petronas F1 team would suffer.

  8. Nothing has been going well for them since Vettel crashed out of his home Grand Prix…

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