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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.

Hat Tip: Autosport and Autosport

An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Meine Postma

    What would be best for Ferrari is to be less managed; i.e. let them do their real work instead of constantly being busy explaining to somebody what it is you are doing.

    Then again, maybe I’m just projecting :-)

  • runnah

    So when struggling with reliability and quality control issues you turn to…Fiat?

    Okay then, now if you can excuse me I need to talk to Pastor for advice on driving.

  • Sergio Dilorenzo

    I’ve said before and I will say it again. First take a deep breath and get some young guns in the pilot seat, put a 5 year plan around them as once did with Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello (2000 – 2005). Then tweak the whole ball of wax little bit at a time. This allows for less tension in having to quicken things to which makes for more errors and less consistency. Running around trying to band aid every time something goes wrong never gets to the meat and potato’s of it all. And yes I’m very aware that it takes a ton of money to run these companies, etc. as I am sure some of you are questioning my logic, but trying to hurry on in getting there yesterday will always bring err to the means. Look it worked before as mentioned, Schumacher/Barrichello era, why not again?
    Ferrari is making mistakes one after another such as the last blunder; signing on Kimi. This was very ridiculous, even if did take a cut in salary – I love Kimi he’s always been one of my favorite pilots, but seriously, when Marhcionne said himself; “Kimi Raikkonen was a “laggard” and then resign him for another year contract at a price of 7 mil plus bonuses (?) again that’s a cut in salary – where as you have a chance to get young, vibrant, eye of the tiger pilots with speed, no fear and a cool understanding; Verstappen (3 mil) (could have gotten him for a few hundred grand before resigning for Red Bull at 3 mil) – Ocon ( $185,000 ) and now maybe Gasly (?) I’m sure not much.
    One year of Kimi’s salary, you can get about 12 drivers hungrier and more in tune with todays technology moving forward.

    So for the last time Marhcionne, stay out of the way shadowing everyone, let them do their work in a relax atmosphere, get some fresh young drivers and build your team with a 5 plan. I can pretty much guarantee success as once did during the Schumacher/ Barrichello days; you cant build the best in one day…

    • p1ngu

      Much truth in this; Ferrari really need to pick their leader and let them lead. I never did understand why Mercedes decided to ditch Ross Brawn and bring in the Wolffinator, but it was an inspired choice. He’s the undisputed leader, but not in a dictatorial way; there’s never any angry outbursts, nor any media petulance – Mercedes (and Red Bull, Renault and most of the other teams, to be fair) are available to the media pretty much all the time and there’s a level of transparency that’s believable.

      Ferrari just don’t have this. There’s something akin to an atmosphere of fear in the team, there’s a refusal to engage with anyone who will even vaguely criticise, and there’s evidence of some rubbish decision-making. Another year of Kimi. No management of Vettel’s hot-headedness. Silly car breakages. They made technical and strategic errors all through last year, and although they seemed to have sorted that in the first half of this season, it appears that was an anomalous false dawn and that they’re back to normal with poor execution and driver management despite having the fastest car and one of the fastest drivers.

      Pity, really. I want to see Mercedes have more competition, though as Toto has noted several times, other teams have every chance. The 2017 Mercedes is not the fastest car at every race, and is a good bit harder to drive than its competition. They’re being challenged by a fast-improving but still slower Red Bull, and should be being soundly beaten by Ferrari. The fact that they’re not tells you all you need to know about the quality of the teamwork in Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull

      • Sergio Dilorenzo

        Very well said P1NGU – It seems something expected from a German company to be ran with an iron fist, as many still falsely imagine them do to the bad taste still left in the mouth of those who remember the war days, yet they are strictly very professional in every way possible and it shows in there domination – when in visiting Stutgard a couple years ago remember the kindness.
        Mercedes seem to all of a suden came back where they left off in winning the 50’s, too which they unfortunately pulled out after that catastrophic 1955 Lemans crash. As mentioned, all of a sudden woke up from a long sleep and said, ok where were we? and continued with winning again…

        Although Enzo (Ferrari) was tough old bird, he did have more compassion and respect for the workers and pilots, he and Michael got along great. Not much to be said about Luca di Montezemolo nor now also Marhcionne, they sure are/were no Enzo. And! Maurizio Arrivabene seems somewhat of another, don’t bother me kind of guy when media approach. As you say; ” an atmosphere of fear in the team,”…. Strange company and yet I have always been a huge fan…

        One of the beauties in F1, when you have the money that is. One can come from nowhere and make great strides. Fact in point, Hass team – in saying this we really need to watch for Force India team they are making very good gains, and with drivers such as Ocon and Perez, they smell Red Bull blood ahead of them, and Red Bull smell Ferrari, before you know it, they will be both in contingency to fight for a second place next year. leaving Ferrari in a “yelling” uproar…

        • the Late Idi Armin

          Enzo died in 1988 as Micheal was getting started in F3.