Ferrari replace race engineer Chris Dyer

2011 F1 season

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Ferrari has confirmed Pat Fry will take over Chris Dyer’s role as head of race engineering in 2011.

Dyer faced criticism following the strategic error at Abu Dhabi which likely cost Fernando Alonso the 2010 drivers’ championship.

The team have not announced what Dyer’s new role will be. Fry joined the team from McLaren in June last year.

Ferrari also announced Neil Martin has joined the team from Red Bull ahead of the 2011 season.

Martin was head of strategic operations at Red Bull and also previously worked for McLaren.
Ferrari issued the following statement:

It had been hinted at prior to Christmas when, speaking to Italian and international journalists during seasonal festivities, Luca di Montezemolo and Stefano Domenicali talked of not taking any drastic action, but rather making changes aimed at improving the efficiency of the team in its work, both at the track and the factory. Today came the facts.

Joining the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro is the respected engineer, Neil Martin, who takes on the role of heading up the new Operations Research department. A 38 year old Englishman, Martin previously worked for Red Bull and prior to that McLaren and he will now report directly to Technical Director, Aldo Costa.

At the same time, Costa’s deputy, Pat Fry will, in addition to his current role, take on the job of head of race track engineering. Up until yesterday, this position was held by Chris Dyer and his role within the company will be redefined in the next few days.

Image © Ferrari spa

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102 comments on Ferrari replace race engineer Chris Dyer

  1. Where’s Ross Brawn when you need him?

    • Yep Yep Yep I agree.

      Winning with a 4 Pit Stop Strategy. That is a genius with a lot of number crunching

    • Leftie (@leftie) said on 4th January 2011, 19:24

      Ross orchestrated a lot of brilliant race tactics since refuelling was introduced in 1994. It was Brawn & Symmonds duo who brought mathematical modelling methods for calculating race strategies and everyone else in the paddock followed very soon.

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 5th January 2011, 1:54

      At Brackley. :D And Mercedes are hoping 2011 is more 2009 than 2010.

      • Juan said on 5th January 2011, 3:17

        Never before have I so wanted a dyer to be sacked, except this time, it’s the one that’s been robbed.

    • jack the snake said on 5th January 2011, 4:24

      What a shame. Dyer was a great engineer to Schumacher but after that he sometimes appeared lost. I definitly got worried when they upgraded him to racing chief of both cars.

      Anyway, this was inevitable. The number of tactical mistakes was growing year in and year out. Ferrari needs a new Brawn clone. A man who sits and eats a banana while his slower cars beat faster cars by a simple pit stop strategy.

      • Butterfly said on 5th January 2011, 9:40

        That is so true.

      • Of course, Brawn was somewhat helped during his Ferrari tenure by having a driver who could chop off two seconds per lap on request…

      • Fixy (@fixy) said on 9th January 2011, 21:23

        The politic of promoting people in order looks silly to me because there can be very different jobs in the Scuderia. Like if Smedley was promoted to chief engineer, then to team boss! I’d like Smedley in charge, but that’s a little different than talking to Felipe.

  2. RIISE (@riise) said on 4th January 2011, 17:58

    He did what any other race engineer would’ve done. nobody knew that the options would last as long as they did. Sorry but that is ridiculous. I hope he gets in another job quick, he was a key component to Ferrari being so successful the 00’s…

    • RIISE (@riise) said on 4th January 2011, 17:59

      *in the 00’s

    • sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 4th January 2011, 18:19

      Yep I agree with this. Its pretty harsh getting rid of Dyer for that.

      • George (@george) said on 4th January 2011, 18:45

        Same. I’ve never worked out why this is a big deal, who expected Alonso to get stuck behind Petrov for the whole race?

        • Nice thought from Ferrari… IF Alonso cant overtake pertov, blame the Race Engineer for it. Well they have to protect their million $ investment. No other options for them either.

          • infy (@infy) said on 4th January 2011, 20:42

            Lewis in a faster car, couldn’t get past a reno either…

          • snowman said on 4th January 2011, 21:29

            Totally agree with above comments. They covered the most likely scenario by pitting Alonso. Hindsight it looked foolish but at time would have been a crazy gamble not to cover Webber. Guess there is massive pressure in Italy for someone to pay.

          • nano_rock (@nano_rock) said on 5th January 2011, 15:11

            the problem is the circuit, not the driver or the engineer. Who wants a circuit where drivers who are fighting for championship cannot overtake a rookie?

          • dyslexicbunny said on 5th January 2011, 16:39

            Who wants a circuit where drivers who are fighting for championship cannot overtake?

            Fixed that for you. It shouldn’t matter who they are trying to pass.

      • Feynman said on 4th January 2011, 21:54

        One of the main reasons I’ve never quite seen the attraction of an outfit like Ferrari … as an fair-minded observer, they have regularly struck me as quite a factional and vindictive operation. When something goes wrong, always quick to look for a fall guy. Single-out someone, anyone, an individual, pin *all* the blame on them, rightly or wrongly, and then have them crudely jettisoned.

        Covering-off Webber didn’t immediately look like a completely calamitous dropped *******, it took a coupla laps for the penny to drop; but either way they had to try and cover two pretty quick racecars with one strategy call, which couldn’t quite be done.
        (hint Luca: this is sometimes what happens when all eggs go into one Hockenheim-shaped basket … having two drivers in the hunt to strategically confound your rivals is occasionally worth a whole lot more than 7points).

        People makes mistakes, that’s why they put rubbers on the end of pencils, but some of the more enlightened managers tend to take a more mature, rounded, adult, view to these things.
        Instead of launching the remote through the TV, they’re actively looking for individuals that demonstrate a capacity to learn from past mistakes
        … the team have already dearly bought and paid for that particular learning-experience, that’s gone, rather than the blame-game, they should maybe look at the systems and processes that failed to catch and prevent the strategy-error in the first place; the methodolgies, analysis, simulation and prediction, team communications and offsite support-staff that all failed to raise a red-flag in time.
        Not jsut paper-over those compound failings with an easy scapegoat, punished by being sent back to the factory to sit on the naughty-step.

        His green replacement now presumably comes with the opportunity to fall into exactly the same sort of traps afresh. Rinse and repeat I guess.
        Does anyone think a guy very much like Dyer, having now been once round the block, would make anything even close to a similar error ever again. He has effectively been pre-disastered …
        … what are the chances of any competent race-engineer, in their career at one team, making two critical calls that each lose a championship. Pretty rare I’d imagine, just on the raw probabilities and percentages, I think you’d want to keep him involved somehow.

        Anyhow, last two newsworthy hires have both been “internationals”, looks like LDM’s clumsy, post-Brawn, “Project Italianification” of Ferrari F1 has taken just a slight knock in the last year.
        … It therefore seems pretty clear all the hirings and firings will need to pay-off in 2011 or else it’ll be poor ol’ Stefano’s name that will be the one going in the Ferrari Blame-Box™ this time next year, for sure.

        • infy (@infy) said on 5th January 2011, 0:24

          Maybe he will be replacing Rob Smedley…

          • Kyle said on 5th January 2011, 0:31

            That’s one sure-fire way of making sure Massa remains Ferrari’s No. 2!

          • Mike said on 5th January 2011, 8:20

            To be honest, those two get on so well, I’d be unsurprised if Massa would stay after that.

        • qazuhb (@qazuhb) said on 5th January 2011, 0:30

          “…when all eggs go into one Hockenheim-shaped basket…”
          Hadn’t read a better way of expressing it before!

          • A Hockenheim shaped basket would be absolutely useless for eggs, I mean, wouldn’t they all just slide off the Parabolica?

        • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 5th January 2011, 1:58

          I like this comment a lot. The key figureheads of the Italianisation, Stefano and Aldo, are still around. To be fair, they were trained as the proteges of Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne.

          I do wonder, though, why Fernando hasn’t brought over anyone from his previous teams over to Ferrari (except Pat Fry). Schumi brought over Ross and Rory, who then brought over a whole other bunch of people.

          • Soumya Banerjee said on 5th January 2011, 15:56

            How come Ferrari still remains the most popular team and i still get to see comments like this?

        • vickyy (@vickyy) said on 5th January 2011, 5:49

          wowww man, you have got some writing skills, have you tried GMAT :) (sorry, very off the topic)

          • Todfod (@todfod) said on 5th January 2011, 7:00

            The GMAT doesn’t have a lot of writing, except for that one rather useless essay at the beginning.

        • ru_bd said on 6th January 2011, 6:22



          still in recent times dyer was making mistakes regularly. so i think it was a fair call.

      • mfDB (@mfdb) said on 4th January 2011, 21:59

        They didn’t get rid of him, they just demoted him. who knows, maybe his new position in Ferrari will be a lateral move…..

        • bananarama (@bananarama) said on 4th January 2011, 22:22

          It just says a new role for him will be found. That doesn’t tell us anything yet. Yes it sounds negative and if he gets a worse job he should probably consider going to a different team (maybe one with many old friends) but we can’t be sure. Maybe they want to find him a nice place to learn more about parts of the team he didn’t work for yet and in the end, when he knows everything about the team, they get rid of Domeniblahli and he takes over. Maybe they already planned all this, gave the people their new jobs and waited for Domenicali to leave by himself but now he didn’t and they have to make new plans. Sounds a bit too crazy?! Yeah actually it does …..

        • By my personnal experience in F1, I’ve seen a fair number of high profile people (chief designers, head of aero, technical directors,…) being replaced and whose “role within the company would be defined in the coming days/weeks”. Invariably, the role ended up being “former employee”.

        • Stephen Jones (@aus_steve) said on 5th January 2011, 1:58

          you’re right.. he could be promoted or something. As long as he’s not the cleaner he should be alright.

          • SoLiDG said on 5th January 2011, 3:18

            I think they might lose this season!
            Could also be a no team penalty, but i expect something to happend to dyer.

  3. Adrian J (@adrian-j) said on 4th January 2011, 18:08

    Big changes do not always equate with immediate success.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the early races go for Ferrari…

    • clipper said on 5th January 2011, 4:29

      Well, indeed you seem to know nothing about what happened.

      Alonso:”It´s a mistake!”
      Dyer:”No Fernando, we have to cover Webber!”
      Alonso:”It´s a mistake, I´m staying out”
      Dyer:”Pit next lap, we have to cover Webber!”

      These radio calls were never released, but reported by a Ferrari team insider. Looking forward to 2011, when all radio calls will be available to the public.

      • Todfod (@todfod) said on 5th January 2011, 7:02

        Where did you find this info clipper? I’m pretty sure its fake

      • Adrian J said on 5th January 2011, 9:44

        Indeed I had heard about those “reported” radio calls. But I seriously doubt that if Fernando felt that strongly about it then he would have stayed out whatever the team said.

        I was referring to the number of changes of people in key positions including Pat Fry who is part of the technical department. These sorts of changes on the eve of a new season can be unsettling and throw off a team’s preparation.

        And all radio calls in 2010 were available to the media, so if that radio exchange was legitimate then I think it wouldn’t have taken a “Ferrari Insider” (someone who’s being laid off thanks to the RRA one wonders??) to leak them.

  4. DaveW said on 4th January 2011, 18:14

    Why didn’t they sack the guy who was actually in charge of race strategy for that race.

  5. FullSpe3d (@dryyoshi) said on 4th January 2011, 18:22

    Ferrari also announced Neil Martin has joined the team from Red Bull ahead of the 2010 season.

    Yep, more time travelling cheats

  6. Did Ferrari see a conspiracy there? Hmmmmm, I think Chris is an Aussie and he sent Teflonso to chase his countryman only for “The Finger”-Vettel to grab the cup? …..

    Hmmmm, I can’t just put this conspiracy theory together, I might need help here …. anyone try help? :(

    • mike callin said on 5th January 2011, 3:30

      I’m not British, and I don’t like Ferrari either.

      Shuffling of Chris Dyer is illegal.

      Maybe next year they can change that, but, unless you are suggesting that it was not an Shuffling, then, I don’t see how there can be anything but a penalty of some sport.
      Dyer was clearly unhappy about it, I suggest you watch the interview again if you missed that.

      Suggesting that Luca’s is on brawn’s side, is, both stupid, and quite funny, because normally people say they are on Dyer’s side (the whole mansell being the ex driver thing eh?).

      Ferrari have to think of the championship. but breaking rules or even being underhanded, is not the way to do it.

      • What the hell? Illegal? How is it possibly illegal for an organization to decide who within it takes on what role?

        • dyslexicbunny said on 5th January 2011, 17:56

          It’s unAmerican! No, anti-affirmative action! Wait, contrapreferenceiality! Sexist!

          Hmmm… those don’t make any sense here.

  7. Michael Griffin said on 4th January 2011, 19:42

    PIf McLaren sacked a race engineer every time they lost a title they’d be bankrupt….you make decisions as a team, same as you win and lose as a team.

    This decision from Ferrari, IMO, shows a lack of unity within the team, and hints that Alonso or others may have pointed the finger in Dyer’s direction.

  8. Icthyes said on 4th January 2011, 20:06

    A knee-jerk reaction and a very defensive tone on top of Domenicali’s comments earlier. Ferrari must be feeling very threatened by someone back home.

  9. tindrum (@tindrum) said on 4th January 2011, 20:38

    ‘Ring Ring’
    “Hullo”
    “G’day Ross, Chris here”
    “Chris yes, why don’t we met for a coffee.Perhaps Michael will join us”
    “Yes Ross I’d like that”

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 4th January 2011, 21:16

      and it was followed by: “Say Dom, you know how you wondered if you should quit to appease the tifosi after Abu Dhabi? How about I go, I’ll take it for the team starting tomorrow”

      *joins Mercedes to fine tune the Brawn – Schumacher race strategy stuff with a driver he knows can overtake, if not always fairly* guess we’ll hear in a while :)

  10. paolo (@paolo) said on 4th January 2011, 21:01

    Why don’t they replace Alonso for not being able to do his job properly and get past Petrov…

  11. Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 4th January 2011, 21:45

    I wouldn’t pick Dyer out as a sole responsible one…

  12. bwells88 (@bwells88) said on 4th January 2011, 21:58

    The Alonso flaming is ridiculous… I mean really… you truly think he got rid of Dyer?….. and who said he’s gone?
    I don’t agree with Fernando’s reaction after the race in Abu Dhabi but I chalk that up to being frustrated… the only place to pass in Abu Dhabi is the straight and the Renault was quicker in a straight line… these are facts so let’s stay on topic…

  13. Steve Lyons said on 4th January 2011, 22:32

    Shades of what happened with Stepney. Wonder when Chris will start being followed and tales of mysterious white powder in trousers and on the cars appear.

    • Scribe (@scribe) said on 4th January 2011, 23:27

      Yeah, if I was Dyer I’d sign up to one of the other big 4. They’ll all have room for him, possibly a promotion.

      • I would think there would be an office for him being prepared right now at Brackley…

        Unfortunately, no one who is worth anything in the motorsport world ever leaves Ferrari on good terms, so I would expect some scandal to erupt mid-season should Dyer find employment elsewhere…

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