After clouting Sebastian Vettel twice at the Russian Grand Prix in 2016, you might think Ferrari would think twice about signing the ousted Red Bull/Toro Rosso driver but apparently it didn’t because that’s exactly what has happened.
The Russian driver has had a mixed bag of a career with moments of outright brilliant pace coupled with a serious lack of restraint and race craft and he was benched for a while to cool him off. That seemed to work for a time but eventually the old Daniil came back and Toro Rosso parted company with him mid-season last year.
I visited Ferrari’s website and what I found interesting is there was no story posted on it or a press release, just two posts linking back to their Facebook and Twitter account announcing Danill as a reserve driver.
I find that very strange as a company the size of Ferrari should be the creators and source of their own news, not simply a linking agent or aggregate for their social media sites. Why would Ferrari want Facebook or Twitter to be the host of all Ferrari news instead of using the platforms to drive traffic to their site where they can share news, set narratives and create a place for viewers to explore and become steeped in their brand?
Sure, social media may be massive and a change in media outreach but the art of marketing and brand positioning hasn’t changed that much. I had lunch with Ferrari’s head of communications, Stefano Lai, a while back and he seemed to be completely on top of it. He explained that he medium has changed (print, radio, tv, internet) but the mission, message and brand remain the same. Odd way to announce a driver.
I think Daniil may benefit from his time at Ferrari and needs a place to call home. He truly does have flashes of brilliance and serious pace and if he can get his head around the race craft and not trying to win everything at the first corner, he may find a way back in to Formula 1.
When Paul and I met him at breakfast in Austin, right after he had signed with Toro Rosso, he couldn’t have been a nicer young man but that changed quickly when the pressure mounted and he turned quite acidic in his approach to the team and other drivers. That needs to be solved and perhaps Ferrari can solve it.