‘Be­yond its cars’ black arm­bands, Fer­rari’s loss was pal­pa­ble’

CAR (UK) - - Editor From The - Ben Miller Ed­i­tor

WELL, SER­GIO, credit where credit’s due – you proved us wrong. In De­cem­ber 2016, CAR pub­lished a story on the par­lous state of For­mula 1’s most cel­e­brated team. Fer­rari had squan­dered a fine rac­ing car that year and, what’s more, we were pretty con­vinced things were set to go from bad to worse. In part our con­cern stemmed from Fer­rari man­age­ment’s (team prin­ci­pal Mau­r­izio Ar­riv­abene and pres­i­dent Ser­gio Mar­chionne) ob­vi­ous pen­chant for ‘mo­ti­va­tional’ threats and a cul­ture of fear. In F1, such tac­tics have rarely borne fruit.

Turns out that, like many be­fore us, we’d un­der­es­ti­mated Mar­chionne. While he had in­deed told his own For­mula 1 team the pre­vi­ous win­ter that it ought to be ‘ter­ri­fied of the spring’, be­hind the scenes he was work­ing to re-en­gi­neer the way in which the Scud­e­ria went about its busi­ness. Pre­vi­ously, new ideas had stayed in peo­ple’s heads for fear of crit­i­cism. This, Mar­chionne con­cluded, was hold­ing back a very tal­ented bunch of en­gi­neers and de­sign­ers, some of whom weren’t se­nior enough to get their ideas to any­one with the clout to cut through the bu­reau­cracy.

It worked. Fer­rari’s 2017 chal­lenger was a fine car. Se­bas­tian Vet­tel won the sea­son opener in Aus­tralia and went on to head the driv­ers’ points ta­ble all sum­mer long, his chal­lenge fall­ing apart only with a dread­ful run of luck fol­low­ing the Ital­ian Grand Prix. And 2018? For the first time in the mod­ern hy­brid V6 era, Mer­cedes-AMG can no longer claim to pos­sess the fastest car on the grid – that hon­our be­longs to Fer­rari.

Be­yond the flags at half-mast and its cars’ black arm­bands, Fer­rari’s sense of loss at the Hun­gar­ian Grand Prix was pal­pa­ble. It had found a mod­ern Enzo, then lost him.

En­joy the is­sue.

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