2014 Formula 1 Report: USA Edition
Drafting the Circuits
Ferrari Season Review
What are we to make of the legendary Ferrari?
A team in transition or a team that has lost its way in a sport that they have formally mastered? The past few years have been rough for the Scuderia. Between 2010 and 2013, Ferrari bounced between 2nd and 3rd in the Constructor’s Championship as Fernando Alonso led the charge with some spirited battles with Sebastian Vettel.
With new engine regulations in 2014, the masterminds from Maranello would have a chance to once again move to the top step of the Formula 1 class.
But 2014 found Ferrari behind the power curve in adapting to the new regulations that favored hybrid technology and V6 engines. A weak 4th place performance in the Constructors Championship rewarded only two podium finishes for Fernando Alonso and none for Kimi Raikkonen. With two World Champions piloting for Ferrari, the world expected much, much more!
Evidently, so did Ferrari!
This lack of competitive performance led Ferrari to totally retool their operations. Some top names in the history of Formula 1 were shown the door and in their place are a new cast who can hopefully bring championships back to the Scuderia.
Stefano Domenicali (Team Principal) Luca di Montezemolo (Chairman) Fernando Alonso (Driver) Andrea Stella (Race Engineer) Pat Fry (Engineering Director) Luca Marmorini (Engine Boss) Nikolas Tombazis (Chief Designer)
Sergio Marchionne (Chairman) Sebastian Vettel (Driver) Maurizio Arrivabenne (Team Principal) Jock Clear
In and then Out
From the outside, Ferrari has the look of a champion team that has lost its punch.
With a massive influx of new personnel, it appears that Ferrari has done what most large corporation do when they need to make sweeping change. My question is this? Do the new guys know how to be Ferrari?
Can the new team be the Ferrari that can influence Bernie Ecclestone? The Ferrari that has the iron willed drivers such as Schumacher, Alonso and Lauda.? The Ferrari that restores the magic to the Scuderia!
Personally, I hope so!
To their credit, Marchionne has been wildly successful turning around Fiat and Chrysler. Arrivabenne is understood to have strong influence and understanding of the inner workings of Formula 1 and Ferrari. And Vettel is a 4 time World Champion and appears energized and motivated. Nothing more needs to be said of his value to the team!
The question is have they reached rock bottom. The engine is slow, and the aero is fair at best on some tracks. And to boot, they have lost Alonso. Watching Alonso race this year was like watching a lion that has lost its heart. It is still an impressive beast, but without that crunching bite.
Hopefully, Sebastian Vettel will be able to counter some of the pain of losing the Spaniard. Certainly replacing Alonso with a 4-time champion is a plus. Vettel has also shown the desire to dedicate himself to Ferrari…something that Alonso seemed to struggle with these last two years. But Vettel won’t be able to overcome a weak car and it will be interesting to see how he compares to Raikkonen.
The magic of Formula 1 works best when there is a competitive Ferrari at the point. The worst part of the 2014 season for Ferrari was the on track performance was NOT the story. Ferrari, the most successful team in F1 history, needs to get back on track and quickly as the sports is better when the top lion has its teeth!
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