Ferrari’s Stefano Domenicali, Renault Sport F1’s Jean-Michel Jalinier, Caterham F1’s deputy technical director Jody Eggington and head of track operations Gerry Hughes along Cyril Abiteboul and 40 other employees consisting of heads of staff and large salaried key personnel, and finally, rumors of Ferrari’s engine chief Luca Marmorini are people in Formula 1 who have all been dismissed, laid off or faced redundancy.
That’s a heavy toll that this year’s version of F1 has exacted on lots of people in the series who have made it their life’s work to be in the world’s most advanced form of motorsport. These people represent key personnel within F1, not merely fringe players or dead weight.
Perhaps the biggest name is that of Marmorini who started his career at Ferrari in 1990 with a brief spell at Toyota’s fledgling F1 operation only to rejoin Ferrari in 2009 where he’s been the head of engine development ever since.
The new V6 turbo hybrid system is his baby and clearly his baby is struggling against the might of Mercedes. Ferrari have so far refused to comment on the rumor of Marmorini’s departure but new team boss Marco Mattiacci has signified that changes will occur and that Ferrari will start serious restructuring in order to get back on top.
The team briefed 2-time champion driver Fernando Alonso of the coming changes last week as technical director James Allison told AUTOSPORT:
“Both of our drivers were in Maranello, and both of them were discussing with us our plans for next year,” said Allison at the German Grand Prix.
“Both of them had our programme set out in front of them, and both of them had the opportunity to give us feedback – as they do on a continual basis about the weaknesses of our current cars.
“It is a great thing when the driver buys into what you are doing and we make an effort to try to make sure that they can see the plans that we have in place.”
Allison also points out that Alonso has sat through several of these so just how effective this one was, we’ll have to wait and see as the team tries to give compelling reasons for the Spaniard to remain with the Italian squad.
There are many reasons for all of these dismissals but the least common denominator are the new regulations and inability for certain teams to get on top of the technology to compete with a runaway Mercedes. While Caterham was sold and the immediate need was for drastic budget cuts in order to remain solvent, that may not have been as pressing if the team had gotten on top of the 2014 season with some points-scoring performances.
Turnover happens in any industry but this year F1 is experiencing a significant amount of it. Perhaps these moves will bring the struggling teams closer to the front through a strategic new plan for 2015. Let’s hope so because there could be one other group of people being made redundant and that’s the fans as attendance and TV viewership is said to be sliding dramatically in 2014.