Alonso’s ti­tle hopes on hold un­til 2016

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

With this year’s third best car and work on the 2015 ma­chine un­der way, Fer­rari’s next cham­pi­onship could be a long way off

Af­ter some awk­ward early races bat­tling Force In­dia and Wil­liams, Fer­rari have just about es­tab­lished them­selves as the third best team in For­mula 1 be­hind Red Bull and Mercedes.

But they re­main an or­gan­i­sa­tion in cri­sis, hav­ing man­aged just one podium in the first six races of the sea­son. That sole third place, by Fer­nando Alonso in China, un­der­lines how much work the team still have to do to catch up with ri­vals Mercedes and even Red Bull.

Fer­rari’s main weak­ness this year is their en­gine, which while bet­ter than a Re­nault is still some way off a Mercedes. But Fer­rari tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor James Al­li­son has now ad­mit­ted that the chas­sis is not up to stan­dard ei­ther. He dis­missed sug­ges­tions that it was one of the bet­ter chas­sis pro­duced by Maranello for some time as “prob­a­bly a bit too kind”.

He added: “We’re not lag­ging hugely be­hind but there is nev­er­the­less work for us to do be­fore we can hold our head up and say we were com­pletely happy with the chas­sis per­for­mance.”

Mean­while, it has emerged that Fer­rari had once again made a play for Adrian Newey to join them, al­though Al­li­son in­sisted he felt he had the full sup­port of his bosses. He said he ex­pected pres­i­dent Luca Di Mon­teze­molo and team prin­ci­pal Marco Mat­ti­acci “would be con­tin­u­ously try­ing to find people of the ab­so­lute best cal­i­bre be­cause at the bot­tom of ev­ery­thing this sport is about the people you put into it”.

He added: “Fer­rari is ex­tremely sup­port­ive of me, of the di­rec­tion I would like to take the car in tech­ni­cally. So I don’t re­ally have much I need to ask for from them be­cause the com­pany is al­ready sup­port­ing the di­rec­tion I would like to travel in, in the way I would hope they would.”

Al­li­son has talked of fos­ter­ing an en­vi­ron­ment at Fer­rari where cre­ativ­ity flour­ishes more eas­ily than in the past few years. The im­pres­sion is that it is Al­li­son, not Mat­ti­acci, to whom Fer­rari are look­ing to turn around the team’s per­for­mance.

Fer­nando Alonso ad­mit­ted in Monaco that Mat­ti­acci had changed “not much” since join­ing in April, and needed time to get to know the team and F1. Mat­ti­acci him­self said he had “a 75-80 per cent pic­ture of the strengths and weak­nesses of Fer­rari. We work 24/7 in the last few weeks with our pres­i­dent, with our di­rec­tors with my team, to un­der­stand where we can im­prove. We are go­ing to make a lot of im­por­tant changes in the way we work.”

With the 2015 car al­ready well un­der way, it is hard to es­cape the im­pres­sion that it may be 2016 at the ear­li­est be­fore Alonso can hope to get a car ca­pa­ble of chal­leng­ing for the ti­tle.

Alonso on the grid at Monaco this year, poised to turn a solid but un­spec­tac­u­lar P5 into a solid but un­spec­tac­u­lar fourth place

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