Weighty resource has been undermined by unstable management
Ferrari, quite frankly, have been a shambles so far this season. They didn’t re-hire technical director James Allison when they signed Fernando Alonso; instead, they waited for Allison to produce a very nice racing car for Lotus and then re-signed him, by which time the Maranello design/engine/gearbox/aero incumbents were even further entrenched in their ineffective way of doing things.
Even after re-signing Allison, the signs are that he hasn’t been given the same responsibility as, say, Paddy Lowe enjoys at Mercedes. For Luca Di Montezemolo read Toto Wolff, but there the
“Fernando is wasted at present at Ferrari, but at least he’s out there, writing music”
comparison ends. Toto identified Paddy and gave him his chance. Luca has hired good people here, and fired good people there as scapegoats – racers such as Chris Dyer (head of track engineering), Aldo Costa (technical director), Stefano Domenicali (team principal) Luca Marmorini (head of engines and electronics) and Davide Terletti (chassis engineer) have all left.
Much was made pre-season of the AlonsoRäikkönen pairing. As it’s turned out, Fernando has eaten Kimi for breakfast. Kimi is around 0.2-0.3 seconds per qualifying lap slower than he was in his McLaren years, which showed both in the way he was outqualified by Romain Grosjean at Lotus, and also in his relatively temperate pace when he raced for Ferrari first time round.
He can still race well if the car has a decent front and so, in theory, was always going to be a comfortable team-mate for Alonso. Yet Ferrari have made no allowance for Kimi’s shortcomings. Kimi’s a very specific driver, and if you won’t work with him there’s no point hiring him. Plenty of guys out there are quicker over a single lap and better able to maximise a bad car. With a very good car, Kimi’s still up there with the best, so he must have been signed on the assumption that the Ferrari F14 T would be a world-beater. As it turned out, they should have kept Felipe Massa – a quick, uncomplaining driver with whom Fernando was comfortable.
In the meantime, Alonso is the only guy who can make an F14 T look like a racing car. For the most part it’s been frustrating, but then you take it for what it is and your eyes water as you watch him in Austria, hauling the car around on his back, or Silverstone, passing Seb Vettel on the outside into Copse. He’s wasted at present at Ferrari, but at least he’s out there, writing music.
Ferrari have enough resources to win a race or two in 2014; indeed, they should win a race or two. Mid-season, though, they trail most of the eld in terms of money spent versus results.