A couple of years ago, we heard a lot about team culture at McLaren and how Honda were struggling to come to grips with it and vice versa. We’ve spoken about how Red Bull could find the key that unlocks the door to how a far-east company like Honda could gel and bear fruit with a group of racers from Milton Keynes. We’ve even heard Toto Wolff explain how Mercedes needs to avoid a culture within the team to be less energized, over-worked and ineffective (I’m paraphrasing there).
All that may be a continuing element in Formula 1 but one culture has been here for 60+ years and it has the weight of an entire nation dragging along with it. That culture is Ferrari. The country is Italy.
We asked earlier this year if the pressure within Ferrari might be a challenge for new driver, Charles Leclerc, and if bringing in such a young person would pay dividends or might he buckle under the weight that comes with being a Ferrari driver. Most of you favor the young man’s chances of rising above such pressure.
There is a lot of pressure on drivers but there is also a tremendous weight on team bosses, such as the recently fired Maurizio Arrivabene, and engineers, designers and more within the team. There is one driver who knows that pressure better than most. He spent eight years as a Ferrari driver and recently told Autosport:
“A lot of things happen in a difficult way inside Ferrari in terms of pressure,” said former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa..
“They feel this a lot. The inside of the team was always like this.
“There was a time that they felt less because they had more results, in the time of Jean Todt.
“Jean was a guy who had great leadership in every area of the team. He could put an area working together with the other ones without any pressure.
“After this, things happened in a very different way.
“Ferrari now is always feeling the pressure and the obligation to win, and this is a problem.”
Whatever Todt was like inside the team and behind closed doors, he was relatively calm when in public at races apart from the white tape on his fingers to stop him from chewing his fingernails off. Now Ferrari have promoted Mattia Binotto to the role as team boss and he’s been at Ferrari a long time—since the mid 90’s.
“Binotto is a calm guy. He is a guy that has the capacity to work in a calmer way and maybe absorb less of this pressure that you have in Ferrari than Arrivabene.
“But it is a new moment for him. He was never a team principal before.
“We have to see how he will work, because it is a important change.
“He became the boss, but will be on the technical side as well. Speaking the truth, this can be good.
“I wish the best to him, because I know him since I joined Ferrari.”
Our old dog-eared question of, “can Leclerc handle it at Ferrari”? Mass has an opinion on that.
“For me, what Ferrari is doing with Leclerc is very good. This kid can be a super champion in the future.
“And I hope and cheer that this can be in a near future.”
Time will tell but there is a new team boss, new driver and certainly a few changes internally. That may all be for the good but there is one thing that won’t change…the pressure to win.
Hat Tip: Autosport