With Ferrari starting 2014 poorly with a car and power train that is clearly off the pace, team principal Stefano Domenicali has bitten the bullet and resigned from the team with immediate effect. But why? Why is the team not competitive in 2014? why are things that bad?
Simply, Ferrari’s problems are not new, Stefano Domenicali has left the team as his failure to lead the team to a championship since 2008 is unacceptable given the money spent and talent at his disposal.
Their problem is clearly not drivers speed, with Alonso and now Raikkonen they have two world champions, potentially the best line up on the grid. Two proven race winners who knows what it takes to win.
However the team excelled in the days of unlimited track testing and unlimited spending; they invested heavily in their own test track & facilities. With unlimited backing from their tyre suppler who built tyres just to suit them and all day and niight to test them, how could they not build winning machinery! Other teams could only dream and invested in their own alternative systems including innovative tyre modelling software / CFD and simulators.
Since the bans on testing for cost control, Ferrari have clearly struggled to get up to speed with ‘new’ testing methods such as the simulator. They have also struggled aerodynamically for many years with wind tunnel issues however these were claimed to have been fixed. Is it possible that using CFD instead of track testing is also hampering them as they're systems are just not as far advanced?
The team needs a top down management restructure, the team had clear guidance under Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and in Michael Schumacher, a driver who’s talent included rallying the best staff around him and motivating HIS team. Alonso and Raikkonen are not key motivators, I believe that is really showing. If anything Alonso is more downbeat when things aren't going his way and is quick to criticise the team, you hear him on the radio calling the team 'stupid' etc and know there is something lacking. If out of control, the Spanish, passionate temperament probably is less suited to the style of being a driver but also a motivator for the team. This is not constructive for a team that is crying out for motivation and leadership.
Ferrari have the money, they have some great staff and facilities. But they need to build better cars for fear of losing their star driving talent. however one thing is for sure, Luca Di Montezemelo slagging off the sport as a whole is now not taking the world's eyes off of the poor job his team is doing and their failure to build a consistent challenge at the front of the field.