Massa admits Ferrari development struggle

Felipe Massa says Ferrari’s upgrades for its F10 have not improved the car as quickly as they expected to.

Writing on his blog Massa described the Turkish Grand Prix as “the poorest performance from Scuderia Ferrari so far this season.” He added:

We were uncompetitive through the whole weekend from Friday through to Sunday, struggling in every session, especially qualifying. So, when it came to the race, I think we did the best we could do, given our pace and our position on the grid.

It was a shame, given that the Istanbul track is one of my favourites, where I have won three times in the past at the wheel of a great car. This time, it was not so positive, but no way are we going to give up and we must just keep on working and try to fight back immediately.

We can do it, because we did a fantastic job over the last winter and came out with a great car at the start of the year, which was a massive improvement compared to the car with which we ended the 2009 season. At that point, we had found the right direction to take in working on the car. However, from a certain moment of the season up until now, our development has not seen the car improve as much as we had hoped for or expected. In the same time period, we saw our competitors improve their cars significantly.

This is the situation facing us now, so we must start by understanding why the good direction we had up until that moment has not continued. I am sure we can do it, because Ferrari has the capacity in terms of the people working for the team and also because it has come from behind in the past to again be competitive with the very best cars on the grid.

As far as the championships are concerned, the situation is not yet in a critical position for us: given that there are still twelve races to go, it is one hundred percent open, which means we can still fight for both championships. However, at the moment, it?s true that Red Bull has a better performance level, as it has done all season, while McLaren which was behind us a few races ago is now ahead of us in terms of their car performance.

We simply have to push hard to try and get ahead again. If the ability to achieve this goal is based on our desire to do so, then I am confident we can improve.
Felipe Massa

Ferrari has already promised a major upgrade for the European Grand Prix at Valencia in three weeks’ time, after the Canadian Grand Prix.

Read more: Ferrari promise Valencia upgrade after poor race (Turkish GP team-by-team)

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35 comments on Massa admits Ferrari development struggle

  1. MarkC said on 3rd June 2010, 16:21

    indication that CDF and windtunnel is not dialed in like it seems to be at McLaren?

    • Bartholomew said on 3rd June 2010, 17:29

      When Ferrari bought the CDF and the wind tunnel, the instruction sheets came in miles per hour and inches, and Ferrari still thinks those numbers are in kilometers per hour and centimeters.
      Lou has to take a break between making speeches to read the instruction manuals.

    • BasCB said on 3rd June 2010, 18:20

      And very far away from what Renault have, after their Windtunnel update during the winter.

  2. Tango said on 3rd June 2010, 16:49

    “If the ability to achieve this goal is based on our desire to do so, then I am confident we can improve.”

    This is blissfully beautiful.

    • bosyber said on 3rd June 2010, 22:17

      Of course, by that measure, imagine how much HRT would improve in handling, esp. with Bruno Senna!

      • Mike said on 4th June 2010, 5:14

        Senna WDC 2011 anyone?

        So what are the odds for it atm?
        Maybe I’ll put a doller on it just in case $$$

  3. Ferrari needs to shake up it’s technical department. Fire a few Italians because they all go political at Manerello. An they’ve got to stop hiring Italians infront of more talented techies on nationality, the post Scheckter drought should have told them that. Obviously if theres a talented Italian hire him, but don’t kid themselves that it matters to the tifosi that the company language has switched back from English, the tifosi just want to win.

    Get themselves a new team principle, someone talented and ambitious, a Jean Todt essentially, they could hold out their hands an get the best by waving, they’re Ferrari for crying out loud. An they clearly needs some new toys back at the factory, Renault should not be wiping the floor with them in the development race.

    Ferrari should have learned by now that when winning is the most important thing, the team can be unstopable, the heritage, an that Ferrari allure is only usefull really for attracting fans and talent, as they’ve gone into the post Todt era being Ferrari has become more important again, they’ve become less unbearable, arrogant and cheaty, (an don’t start tifosi, Brawn essentially admited they used to use flexy stall wings after they’d been banned.) which as a McLaren fan is bread and butter, but there performance, even during 2008, has started to dip, an in 2008 they had the car to win the drivers championship. Yet they developed in favour of Massa, who clearly wasn’t the most talented of their drivers.

    Unfortunatley for the sport, for Ferrari to win they must be ruthless, this, our great history 800 grand prix whoha is becoming detrimental to the team.

    • Lee Sharp said on 3rd June 2010, 17:24

      couldnt agree more.

      Italians working in high profile positions in Maranello simply doesnt work.

    • Hairs said on 3rd June 2010, 17:39

      I’m not sure I’d even place the blame at Domenicali’s feet as Team Principal. One of the biggest changes since the departure of Todt seems to be the encroachment of Di Montezemalo into the team. Todt was clearly the man who ran things in his day, and Stefano is less so, and moreover seems to be unconcerned that he might not be the sole arbiter of what goes on.

      Stefano worked under Brawn and clearly respects the man, and his methods a lot. Luca however believes that Ferrari is Ferrari and that fact alone should be enough to guarantee success. Switching the team language back to Italian is a symbolic rather than useful gesture, a man’s pride getting the upper hand on his ability to prioritise the necessities. In the rapid departure of Brawn, Byrne and Todt Luca should have seen that the team had major holes to fill that would bring the racing team down.

      Instead he’s spent his time making brainless press releases, picking stupid fights with Mosely, and attempting to throw his weight around the paddock.

      Ross Brawn (and to an extent Martin Whitmarsh) are the two team principals who have impressed me most over the past two years. Both are engineers at heart, both want to win, and both seem to have a sanguine and careful attitude to setbacks. There’s no sense that when they have a bad weekend they go back to base and throw their arms around in a strop – they get down to doing hard, difficult work instead. Ferrari aren’t giving that impression at all.

    • Tango said on 3rd June 2010, 18:01

      ” An they clearly needs some new toys back at the factory, Renault should not be wiping the floor with them in the development race.”

      Renault has the toys since last year, and it starts to show.

      • Point is they are, an even with the backing of both Genii and Renault it’s odd that Renault seems to have better recources than Ferrari. Answer is of course that Renault doesn’t never has, an didn’t when it won 4 titles in two years. They just use what they’ve got incredibly well and are damn fine technically.

        Monty does seem to be getting a bit too big for his boots. Man should be given a lot of credit for helping Ferrari back onto it’s feet. But now he’s been part of Ferrari as the most dominant team ever an forgot that it was that golden quartet that made the differance where it counted. He wrote the cheques, unfortunatley all money men think they’re better than the men they hire eventually. Hence Jose Mourhino ain’t at Stamford Bridge.

        Ferrari need to seriously change the way they do things soon. They where the undisputed best team of the 00′s but the magics gone an they need to face up to what’s gone wrong just like they did under Jean Todt, otherwise there in for another great Ferrari decline and slump.

  4. matt90 said on 3rd June 2010, 17:29

    I wouldn’t say Ferrari were ahead of McLaaren a few races ago. At the first race they were. Malaysia is debatable about who had the best ultimate pace. Other than that McLaren have been faster.

  5. it is interesting how Ferrari never mentions Mercedes GP

    • KNF said on 4th June 2010, 3:11

      Because it’s already painful enough that their “Il Campione” and motor racing’s equivalent of Nicolo Machiavelli are now in silver and green… ;)

  6. Cyclops said on 3rd June 2010, 19:42

    Maybe it’s time for Ferrari to wake up and realize that time when simply the amount of resources was enough to secure front row. Nowadays it’s not about quantity but rather quality of people and equipment the teams have. Renault seems to be extremely effective and thoughtful in how they manage the team and it’s paying off. Scuderia – change the way things happen in Maranello or prepare to be bruised on the track.

  7. Gilles said on 3rd June 2010, 19:52

    Didn’t Monty say about a week ago that the technical department needed strenghtening ?
    I guess they know their weakness and are planning to do something about it.
    Too bad that another season will have passed by then and that they can start focussing on the 2011 car. A familiar tale of late …

  8. Icthyes said on 3rd June 2010, 20:00

    Ferrari are in real trouble if they don’t win a few more races this year. Since their last WCC title they’ve only won two races, and even if they miss out on either title again this year, they’ll want to do so fighting, not constantly trying to keep up with the eventual contenders.

    I never thought I’d be writing this after 2008, but here I am. I guess Ferrari thought having Alonso would be a cure-all, but it’s not working so far.

    • bosyber said on 3rd June 2010, 22:28

      I think they have in general been showing a way too strong reliance on one thing to bring the titles all, and to Ferrari bind them: DDD, KERS, Alonso, being Ferrari, having bridgestone, and this year F-duct/Toyota DDD/RBR exhausts.

      It is a bit odd, as the F10 itself seems to be sort of an integration of RB5 ideas into bug-fixed F60 w/o KERS, rather than a reliance on a mega DDD or the f-duct (which seems to be the McLaren concept for this year).

  9. verstappen said on 3rd June 2010, 21:20

    I wonder if Newey would want to do his trick one more time after Red Bull has become World Champion. Wouldn’t Newey at Ferrari be awesome?

    • Absolutley not it would suck. Think about what your saying man. Ahhhh, you’ve given me nightmares.

      • David A said on 3rd June 2010, 23:35

        Why would it suck?

        • David A said on 3rd June 2010, 23:38

          Oh, never mind, of course it would suck for non-Ferrari fans :P

          • bosyber said on 4th June 2010, 18:23

            Either that, or it would work as well as Mike Gascoyne at Toyota. At Ferrari, it will be about Ferrari, not about a Newey car. If Newey went to Red Bull for even more freedom, I do not think Ferrari will satisfy him (hm, a Newey Acer Ferrari laptop? Sleek, but not very exciting).

  10. rampante said on 3rd June 2010, 23:28

    No team in F1 have dominated and also gone without a title longer than Ferrari. To suggest that they should not employ Italians in an Italian team is as ridiculous as some of the other comments. When the team dominates everyone else moans and the FIA (who most claim are in bed with Ferrari) change the rules as they did with the points and when they don’t win they are the subject of ridicule. The performance in Turkey was poor and they cannot hide from it but even after that they are still well in both titles. Ferrari have always developed a car on the track testing and with the crazy regulations that has not happened. I don’t want to go down an expense argument here but the sport that they have been in for 60 years is no longer what it was. Second division football teams now spend more money in Italy, England and Spain than F1 teams do. Teams can’t use tyres, engines or gearboxes and drivers can’t drive out with a race weekend. It is easy to attack Ferrari when you are not a Ferrari fan it’s what everyone who is not does. Remember in 2007 they won, 2008 they lost by a point and last year they gave up after Massa’s accident. They are not finished yet.

    • Icthyes said on 4th June 2010, 0:46

      Bit of a knee-jerk reaction, if I may say so. No-one is saying they shouldn’t employ Italians, just not instead of more talented individuals.

      The world isn’t divided into Ferrari v non-Ferrari. There’s a reason there’s a vehemence of opinion against them (a passion by no means held by most of non-Ferrari fans), and Ferrari are to blame for some of that by some of their decisions over the years.

      The appeal to expense only really underlines the point about Ferrari. You seem to be implying that without being able to maximise their private tracks and millions upon millions of dollars of resources, they can’t compete like they used to. Other teams are adjusting well to the new environment – why aren’t Ferrari?

      And to compare them to McLaren, in 2007 they lost by a point, won in 2008, and never gave up in 2009. Look where it’s got them. Ferrari are by no means finished, but they can’t keep going on as they are.

      • HG said on 4th June 2010, 1:20

        yep, truth avoided is simply pain delayed. Their development at the moment is simply not up to scratch.

        • HG said on 4th June 2010, 2:33

          And by that i mean the pain of admitting you are getting it wrong. Getting spanked each race will continue to hurt.

  11. Mark in Florida said on 4th June 2010, 4:52

    Ferrari lacks the old team chemistry that they once had.When the team was an international affair it had a unbeatable balance of thought and action.Now that Pucca excuse me Lucca, is running the show he wants everyone to realize that He`s the man. A team is only as strong as it`s weakest link and he`s it!

  12. wasiF1 said on 4th June 2010, 9:17

    Ferrari needs everything that they have as they were the first team that started developing the car in 2009 for 2010. They made a good start but they filed to carry the momentum with them since then. & with Massa under huge pressure probably he needs the upgrade more than anyone else in Valencia.

  13. VXR said on 4th June 2010, 18:20

    So, what’s the betting on another Ferrari victory this season? I can think of at least a handfull of circuits left, where, if the car performs as it is now, it won’t stand a snowball in hells chance of winning. Canada being one of them.

  14. bosyber said on 4th June 2010, 18:36

    I do hope Ferrari are right to be (sound?) optimistic about those two big updates coming. They need them, and F1 needs them to keep it a three/5 horse race (WCC/WDC).

    While Williams is a lot worse off, I can’t help but feel Ferrari are feeling a bi like Williams have been feeling for the past few years at this time of the season: where did we lose it, again, and how are we going to find back the right direction. The difference is that Ferrari do have the money to execute, once they have a plan.

    Still, after only losing WCC in 2005,6, winning in 2007 only by having McLaren implode, losing out by a single point in 2008, and having a lousy 2009, the are firmly back on earth from their Schumy/Brawn/Todt/Byrne trip.

    And, importantly, while those first few years with Schumi were not at all easy (unreliable, error-prone), at least there was a clear sense of momentum. I think that Alonso might help get there, but in a way I think they made the mistake of forgetting that it takes time to get back to that level. Perhaps because it is still so fresh in their collective memory.

  15. DaveW said on 4th June 2010, 18:40

    I think its quite interesting that of RBR’s main challengers this year, SFM, VMM, and Mercedes, only one of them has taken a clearly different design tact than Newey, and its been the best approach. Ferrari and Mercedes have gone for the pointy-tip cleft-nose design, while Woking went another way. I think in F1 it does not pay to copy the form and hope you stumble upon the idea. Toyota tried this and it never worked for long. It’s interesting that McLaren have taken the same basic design from the back of the field one year ago to challenging the same RBR concept now, when everyone seemed to think that the novel ridged nose was the cat’s pajamas and were testing it on Fridays, and that the McLaren had produced a congenital failure.

    • bosyber said on 4th June 2010, 19:00

      That is an interesting point.

      I would not say that SFM and Merc. went the RBR way though. It seems more like they took one part, that nose bit, and tried to merge it into their existing design, without thinking through the full impact. Now, it probably brings benefit for downforce, but it also probably has issues (drag?), and they do get those problems, but not all of the benefit.

      McLaren and RBR both took an idea: RBR a full downforce beast with good suspension, while McLaren went for low drag, high speed. Both teams seem to have kept that concept in mind for the full design. So in that sense, it seems to be about creating an integrated package with a concept you can grasp, and thus then improve upon.

      Yesterday I was looking at f1technical, trying to see where/when the undercut at front of sidepods started to appear (ferrari 2000-2002 a bit, then McLaren and Renault went very far with it).

      You can clearly see that the Ferrari cars, while not always the best, follow a certain model, the 1st to go for low side pods/high exhaust, where they can improve the packaging each year, tweaking the design. They need to find a new direction in developing a package, and the F10 seems a bit too much of a compromise of best bits from F60, earlier cars, and RBR to be that platform.

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