Ferrari

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StevieBee

Original Poster:

8,082 posts

202 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
Discussion on Ferrari's fortunes of late have tended to be within other threads and I thought it worth exploring in its own right. To take stock...

It's last world champion was Kimi. It had four years of domination with Schummacher. Before that, you have to go back a quarter of a century to find a driver's championship (Scheckter).

Ferrari is the only team to have a seat at the F1 management table and a veto on regulations. It has all the money it needs and more if it wants any and it's very own test track at its factory. And throughout its history it's had the best - or amongst the best - drivers.

What's missing?



TheDeuce

3,455 posts

13 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
StevieBee said:
Discussion on Ferrari's fortunes of late have tended to be within other threads and I thought it worth exploring in its own right. To take stock...

It's last world champion was Kimi. It had four years of domination with Schummacher. Before that, you have to go back a quarter of a century to find a driver's championship (Scheckter).

Ferrari is the only team to have a seat at the F1 management table and a veto on regulations. It has all the money it needs and more if it wants any and it's very own test track at its factory. And throughout its history it's had the best - or amongst the best - drivers.

What's missing?
I get the impression Mercedes do a better job of team togetherness, culture and motivation. Ferrari are probably no worse today at the business of F1 than they ever were - it's just other teams have since applied modern and more patient ways of getting everyone working in sync harmoniously, whereas Ferrari seem to maintain the 'fk up and you're fired' technique still.

Ferrari have also extended some of their winning periods by employing some fairly 'unsporting' advantages. Modern press and social media etc means more people are better informed and it's become far harder to sweep certain things under the carpet as the debates soon rage online when anything untoward is suspected.

In short, I think their passion and fire got them a very long way but maybe a different approach is more effective in the modern world of F1?

Pericoloso

40,998 posts

110 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
What's missing ?

Maybe a mere 0.5s a lap ,which can cost $$$$$$ to find.

Muzzer79

2,927 posts

134 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
At the risk of appearing xenophobic; they try to do too many things the Italian way.

This is understandable - they're a proud Italian team who promote Italian engineers for their national team.

But it brings too many politics and a desire to do things the Italian way, rather than the right way.

They dominated with Schumacher as they lured in a team of winners - Brawn, Byrne, Schumacher, etc who were all protected by Jean Todt and allowed to do things the right way.

Kimi won his title on the back of that team but since then, the team disbanded and the old politics crept back.

The other point is location. Most teams are based in the UK, Ferrari are not. Whilst a red uniform (and a large cheque) draws a lot of talented folk to Maranello, some just can't or won't do it. Adrian Newey springs to mind as an example, James Allison is another.


kiseca

7,657 posts

166 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
According to Brawn when he first arrived there the whole team would spend the first two hours of the day reading what all the local papers had written about them and their last performance. He had to change the team to stop worrying about the media, for starters. Then he had to get each of the departments - engine, chassis, aero, etc, talking to eachother because they simply weren't telling eachother what they were trying to achieve so there was no cohesive development plan for the car as a whole.

Finally he needed the support of Todt and Montezemolo to make the cultural changes that were needed to get all the team pulling in the right direction and stick on the plan instead of reacting to some bad press because the last race was a shocker.

So that was Ferrari pre-1997 according to Brawn. Post Brawn / Todt / Montezemolo, have Ferrari slid back to the old habits?

AJB88

4,506 posts

118 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
Muzzer79 said:
At the risk of appearing xenophobic; they try to do too many things the Italian way.
I was out in Maranello earlier in the year, had a few nights out on the beer, chatting to locals and they all said the same thing. 2-3 of the people I chatted to worked for either Ferrari or Scuderia Ferrari as well and said similar.

TheDeuce

3,455 posts

13 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
Pericoloso said:
What's missing ?

Maybe a mere 0.5s a lap ,which can cost $$$$$$ to find.
Not just the lack of pace (averaged out across the season - they are sometimes very strong). But what about the countless mistakes they made in the first half of the season? Ferrari make so many more mistakes or bad calls than Red Bull or Mercedes - and as in my post above, there are probably ways they could improve that without spending the money.

Some of their farcical decisions have thrown entire races away for them. CLC in Monaco? They refused to put him back out in Q1 despite his pleas as he and the rest of the world watched his time sink to the elimination zone. They said afterwards it was calculation mistake...

confucuis

1,076 posts

71 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
As a Ferrari supporter, there is something inherently wrong about them.

Like, if the Mercs are 1-2 going into a race. They are true favourites, 95% of the time, they're going to at least win.

Ferrari on the other hand are very much likely going to find a way to loss the race. And it's fking constant. They cannot seem to get it right consistently. It's bloody frustrating!

Derek Smith

34,770 posts

195 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
kiseca said:
According to Brawn when he first arrived there the whole team would spend the first two hours of the day reading what all the local papers had written about them and their last performance. He had to change the team to stop worrying about the media, for starters. Then he had to get each of the departments - engine, chassis, aero, etc, talking to eachother because they simply weren't telling eachother what they were trying to achieve so there was no cohesive development plan for the car as a whole.

Finally he needed the support of Todt and Montezemolo to make the cultural changes that were needed to get all the team pulling in the right direction and stick on the plan instead of reacting to some bad press because the last race was a shocker.

So that was Ferrari pre-1997 according to Brawn. Post Brawn / Todt / Montezemolo, have Ferrari slid back to the old habits?
I had a friend who kindly sent me edited highlights of the press reports on Ferrari after GPs. He posted the occasional newspaper, and one had something like 6-8 pages solely on Ferrari, and this was, in 2001, the norm. Of itself it was no great concern. However, the team's management, as you said, used to take it all to heart.

The press were scathing in their criticisms one season when Ferrari lost just a few races (2001?). They really tore into them. The following season, when Ferrari won all but two races, they were still mainly critical at first. The following season, when Kimi just didn't quite make it, they were critical all season. Brawn, I was told, ignored it all.

The press were not too happy about it, but what could they do with Ferrari winning both championships year after year? Apart from moan of course.


F355GTS

3,500 posts

202 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
Muzzer79 said:
At the risk of appearing xenophobic; they try to do too many things the Italian way.

This is understandable - they're a proud Italian team who promote Italian engineers for their national team.

But it brings too many politics and a desire to do things the Italian way, rather than the right way.

They dominated with Schumacher as they lured in a team of winners - Brawn, Byrne, Schumacher, etc who were all protected by Jean Todt and allowed to do things the right way.

Kimi won his title on the back of that team but since then, the team disbanded and the old politics crept back.

The other point is location. Most teams are based in the UK, Ferrari are not. Whilst a red uniform (and a large cheque) draws a lot of talented folk to Maranello, some just can't or won't do it. Adrian Newey springs to mind as an example, James Allison is another.
Summed it up 'd say 👍 except perhaps no mention of the blame culture that used to exist and has returned at least up to last year.

Didn't Allison go there but came back after the sad death of his wife?

TheDeuce

3,455 posts

13 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
confucuis said:
As a Ferrari supporter, there is something inherently wrong about them.

Like, if the Mercs are 1-2 going into a race. They are true favourites, 95% of the time, they're going to at least win.

Ferrari on the other hand are very much likely going to find a way to loss the race. And it's fking constant. They cannot seem to get it right consistently. It's bloody frustrating!
The media have a funny habit of latching on to what people think they're witnessing and embellishing that to drive the story - it gets attention which is their goal. It also has the double benefit of giving their audience a lot of confidence in what they expect to happen on race day, which makes for another good round of stories when it doesn't happen.

For example:

Several times this season Ferrari have qualified first but their race pace looked extremely doubtful. But for the most part the media and even the commentators/pundits will conclude 'Ferrari the ones to beat after a dominant Saturday qualifying in xxx'. Which is ridiculous as these media people watch and live the sport easily close enough to recognise the reality of what they're seeing - but they're also media monkeys so they are somewhat duty bound to hype the hype.

Then race day comes, and within 20 laps it's clear Ferrari can't maintain their pace and start to drop back. The same media folk start throwing out "after a strong showing yesterday just WHAT has happened at Ferrari!? This is a real shocker and Mercedes are capitalising on it".

Two stories out of nothing, and a roller coaster of emotion for the fans - also out of nothing.

It must be very tough for some Ferrari fans (I'm just an F1 fan personally), because Ferrari do get so much hype and attention - I can see that it feels there is often a reason to build hope and then have it crash down again. Unfortunately the media are encouraged to exploit that as much as possible - certainly if they wish to have their contracts renewed.

glazbagun

10,064 posts

144 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
confucuis said:
As a Ferrari supporter, there is something inherently wrong about them.

Like, if the Mercs are 1-2 going into a race. They are true favourites, 95% of the time, they're going to at least win.

Ferrari on the other hand are very much likely going to find a way to loss the race. And it's fking constant. They cannot seem to get it right consistently. It's bloody frustrating!
yes It does seem like a corporate culture thing. Mercedes, Red Bull and McLaren all seem to have (or have had) distinct cultures, and I think the growth of Hamilton has been as much due to the team culture he's been a part of in as his increasing on-track experience.

Ferrari OTOH, seem to brook no dissent, have sky high expectations and are keen to scapegoat. If I were looking for a good job based on what I see on TV, it wouldn't be with Ferrari. I think much is to do with their media though.

TheDeuce

3,455 posts

13 months

Wednesday 6th November
quotequote all
kiseca said:
According to Brawn.. ...Then he had to get each of the departments - engine, chassis, aero, etc, talking to eachother because they simply weren't telling eachother what they were trying to achieve so there was no cohesive development plan for the car as a whole.
This mirrors my experience of working with Italian engineers, and other engineers around the world that for whatever reason are feeling under pressure of being blamed if the project goes belly up.

The issue is a culture that leads (often deliberately) to people worrying that failure will result in them being disciplined or removed. Whilst that threat will make people take their task seriously, it will also close them off from working with other people on the team that will be rated on their own performance in a different part of the project. They will become more guarded of their own isolated performance at the expense of shared team performance. An earo engineer does indeed need to talk to the guys packaging the PU etc, as there are joint considerations and knock on effects to weigh up as the design develops jointly. However, who's fault will it be if the whole thing doesn't work in the end?? Whilst under threat, a lot of people will start to either war over, or be none committal over such decisions, plowing ahead with their own design preferences and agenda's so that at least when the st hits the fan they can't be blamed for their own area of responsibility being the issue. "The aero works perfectly, they didn't listen to me which is why the PU is overheating, that's their fault"..

If on the other hand you have a team culture that empowers people to make and admit to their mistakes, and that are truly committed to and motivated by the teams goals, then you start to build a team machine that moves in the same direction arm in arm. The more honesty and the less self protection, infighting and politics are at play, the smoother that machine will work. It takes a wise and thoughtful person to construct such a team of course - but it can work. There is increasingly a similar culture appearing in many large businesses too, with positive results.


marine boy

334 posts

125 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
What is missing is the ring of steel Todt put up to protect the team from the upper Ferrari management along with Brawn having everybody working in the same direction without any blame games

More recently missing was also thrown out with the baby and bath water when the excellent, open working relationship between Aldo Costa and Pat Fry ceased when Aldo left

Wouldn't go as far as saying the cause of Ferrari's problems being the Italian way more of the wrong way as there are many extremely talented Italians within the team too

I'm sure an expert will disagree with the above but its just my opinion based on my experiences of working there for 7yrs


TheDeuce

3,455 posts

13 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
marine boy said:
What is missing is the ring of steel Todt put up to protect the team from the upper Ferrari management along with Brawn having everybody working in the same direction without any blame games

More recently missing was also thrown out with the baby and bath water when the excellent, open working relationship between Aldo Costa and Pat Fry ceased when Aldo left

Wouldn't go as far as saying the cause of Ferrari's problems being the Italian way more of the wrong way as there are many extremely talented Italians within the team too

I'm sure an expert will disagree with the above but its just my opinion based on my experiences of working there for 7yrs
It sounds like the majority that have posted on this thread so far agree with you in essence; remove the blame, get people working together and stop the bosses at the top reigning fear upon the team below. It's not all that surprising imo that those on the outside can gain an inkling as to what it might be like to work for any organisation - we all have a level of human intuition, and there are traits from all organisations that over time bleed out in to their public way of doing things, no matter how hard they try and separate their public image from the corporate reality.

Out of interest, in what capacity did you work for Ferrari?

Edited by TheDeuce on Thursday 7th November 07:34

Muzzer79

2,927 posts

134 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
F355GTS said:
Muzzer79 said:
At the risk of appearing xenophobic; they try to do too many things the Italian way.

This is understandable - they're a proud Italian team who promote Italian engineers for their national team.

But it brings too many politics and a desire to do things the Italian way, rather than the right way.

They dominated with Schumacher as they lured in a team of winners - Brawn, Byrne, Schumacher, etc who were all protected by Jean Todt and allowed to do things the right way.

Kimi won his title on the back of that team but since then, the team disbanded and the old politics crept back.

The other point is location. Most teams are based in the UK, Ferrari are not. Whilst a red uniform (and a large cheque) draws a lot of talented folk to Maranello, some just can't or won't do it. Adrian Newey springs to mind as an example, James Allison is another.
Summed it up 'd say ?? except perhaps no mention of the blame culture that used to exist and has returned at least up to last year.

Didn't Allison go there but came back after the sad death of his wife?
He did - I cite him as an example because, following his tragic loss, he and his 3 kids needed to be in the UK - not out in Italy on their own. This is not Ferrari's fault obviously, but it's a side effect of their location when everyone else is UK-based.


StevieBee

Original Poster:

8,082 posts

202 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
Location is I think a bigger factor than it may appear.

There's a reason similar businesses cluster. Ease of supply chain, ease of tech transfer and of course the readily available pool of talent. Toyota's decision to locate their F1 team in Cologne was cited as one of the principal reasons for their failure.

Wasn't it John Barnard who set up a Ferrari design office in Guildford?

sparta6

1,396 posts

47 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
Hybrid PU development lockout ?
No in-season testing allowed ?



Daston

5,598 posts

150 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
Part of me feels that even Kimi's Championship year wasn't really Ferrari at its best but more Hamilton/Alonso tripping over each other and the FIA making some very odd calls. Was certainly close!


SturdyHSV

6,628 posts

114 months

Thursday 7th November
quotequote all
marine boy said:
I'm sure an expert will disagree with the above but its just my opinion based on my experiences of working there for 7yrs
hehe