I posted a link yesterday about a new story in which Ferrari CEO, Sergio Marhcionne, said that the issues they are having culminated in the spark plug issue in Japan. It is, in his mind, serious need for a overhaul in their quality structure.
To those ends, it seems the Italian carmaker has drafted in Maria Mendoza from Fiat to help with the quality control issues and the team’s technical director, Mattia Bionotto, said:
“What we are considering is something, already planned, to improve our quality department.
“Our quality department will be and somehow is already reinforced and those are the changes that our chairman was meaning.”
That may all be very correct and one would assume it is given the last two races. However, always ready for an open mic and ink-dripping pen, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has an opinion on what Ferrari’s issues are:
“It is about having the fastest car, and the best driver, and the most solid performance.
“We’ve been there: we’ve had difficult moments for each of the drivers in the past in terms of reliability.
“When you are pushing the boundaries you will eventually reach its limits.
“Ferrari’s development from 2016 to 2017 was exceptional, and probably this is a development phase.
“I can nevertheless relate to how it feels of having three races where you have lost a lot of points and it doesn’t feel nice.”
Now, Toto wasn’t actually there during the Brawn/Haug era with all the struggles they had with Nico and Michael at the wheel but he did come in very soon after when the team had ironed a lot out and started moving upward. He was, however, with Williams as they struggled with development and pace so he’s a guy who has seen both sides of the coin for sure.
I tend to agree that the development gains Ferrari made have pushed the team very hard and perhaps the oil-burning limitation has had an impact too? Who knows? The reality is that when you are pressing that hard, sometimes things get missed. Unfortunately, Formula 1 is a sport where things cannot get missed and perhaps Maria will sort that out.