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