On this week’s podcast, Grace and I discuss the situation with Ferrari and if you’ve listened for any time, you’ll know I am a fan of the team. It’s not easy to think critically about a team you like but as always, I’ve remained as neutral in my assessments whether it’s a driver or team. On the podcast, I outlined what I felt were errors in the new management of Ferrari with unrealistic expectations.
As it turns out, I wasn’t too far off the mark with my thoughts as a recent interview with Ross Brawn confirms and new reports surface today that Ferrari are trying to find a sweet spot and job description to lure the former F1 icon back to the Scuderia.
Brawn was asked by Martin Brundle, in the video, what he felt Ferrari needed to do in order to get back to winning ways. Brawn’s answer was very insightful. Ross suggested that Ferrari needs to get back to a quiet approach to methodical progress and should focus on keeping the lid on the rhetoric. If you recall all the occasions that former Ferrari president, Luca di Montezemolo, had to be upset or vocal about their lack of pace, he would keep things cool. He kept the eye on the ball but apparently that wasn’t what the Fiat board wanted.
When the new ownership entered, they went through the senior management with a flame thrower and at many levels, if a team is performing poorly, you don’t fire the entire team but the coach so I understand Sergio Marchionne’s approach here and reasons. Having said that, I do feel that offering comments suggesting that a “Ferrari that doesn’t win isn’t” a Ferrari or that the team must win this year isn’t helping matters. It’s setting a very loud, brash expectations that quite honestly isn’t easy to deliver on.
It’s fine to rally the troops but as Brawn suggests, this is an internal conversation, not one for the public in which you are setting standards that now are up for public scrutiny. There’s nothing easy about F1 and Ferrari, as well as Marchionne, know that all too well. The pace Mercedes have was baked in from the beginning—thanks to Ross Brawn—and only time will bring a formula within the grasp of those trying to catch up. It is starting to get closer but isn’t quite there yet. Placing the expectations of winning and even running for the title this year isn’t very realistic.
Ferrari are said to be trying to design a consultancy position for Brawn to lure him back to the team but not on a full-time basis. In the video, Brawn is very clear he doesn’t want to attend 21 races and be 24/7 in any role he would take in F1.
Per Brawn’s comments, I agree that Ferrari need to get back to a quiet approach to success. Publicly calling for victories and titles in order to put pressure on the team isn’t helping anyone. A combination of Brawn and James Allison would be very dangerous indeed and with a driver like Sebastian Vettel, they have all the tools they need.
Hat Tip: Motorsport