Ferrari set to resume battle with Red Bull in 2011

2011 F1 season preview

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso, Luca di Montezemolo, Felipe Massa, Ferrari 150??? Italia launch, 2011
Car: 150??? Italia
#5 Fernando Alonso
#6 Felipe Massa
Form 2006-2010: 2, 1, 1, 4, 3
2010 points: 396

After their shock defeat in the final round of 2010, Ferrari are set to resume their battle with Red Bull in 2011.

For the second time in three years, Ferrari came close to seeing one of its drivers crowned world champion, only to fall at the final hurdle.

The team pledged it would not make any hasty decisions in the wake of Abu Dhabi. Strategist Chris Dyer eventually had to make way following the error that cost Fernando Alonso the championship.

Ferrari also took on two prominent members of staff from their biggest rivals: Pat Fry from McLaren and Red Bull’s Neil Martin. They will bolster the strength of a team with impressive resources – one which has grown used to unprecedented success.

Six races wins in the last two seasons would thrill most teams. But compared to the levels of dominance with which Ferrari began the last decade, team principal Stefano Domenicali must dreading the thought of a third consecutive season without a championship trophy.

In Fernando Alonso, the team has its new figurehead driver. Both uncompromising and galvanising, he is the successor to Michael Schumacher that Kimi R??ikk??nen and Felipe Massa were not.

By the second half of last year Alonso was back at the height of his form he hit in 2005-2006. The victory grabbed from Sebastian Vettel at Singapore showed he is at the top of his game.

At Korea he demonstrated an element of his craft that should serve him very well last year. While his rivals shredded their intermediate tyres late in the race, Alonso kept his alive and they were in visibly better condition by the end of the race.

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Barcelona, 2011

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Barcelona, 2011

If it’s possible for a skilful driver to eke out another lap or two on disintegrating Pirellis this year – and save themselves a pit stop by doing it – Alonso may well be the driver who can.

At the launch of the new car – called F150 at the time and since re-named the 150??? Italia – president Luca di Montezemolo complained about F1’s “excessive” reliance on aerodynamics: “In the 1970s it was more about the engine and mechanics, now it?s all about aerodynamics.”

There is a sense of frustration at tight restrictions on engine development, traditionally a Ferrari strength, with the greater opportunities for aerodynamic development – where Red Bull and Adrian Newey reign supreme.

The 150??? Italia carries on the conservative appearance of recent Ferraris. But while it may not look as innovative as McLaren’s MP4-26 or Renault’s R31, it has shown promising form in testing on long runs.

It has also been very reliable – Ferrari lead the way in terms of distance covered so far. Nailing the reliability at the start of the season was key to their win in the first race last year.

Ferrari’s strong development was clear from the progress they made with the F10 in the middle of last year. Expect them to push Red Bull every lap of the way for championship honours in 2011.

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53 comments on Ferrari set to resume battle with Red Bull in 2011

  1. pakkalo (@pakkalo) said on 6th March 2011, 10:47

    Oh, how enjoyable it is, waking up on an off-season Sunday morning and knowing F1F has posted updates for me to read, as opposed to all the other non-fanatic websites I once followed.

    Thanks Keith!

  2. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 6th March 2011, 11:10

    I am still pretty miffed that Ferrari got rid of Chris Dyer. The man played a pretty significant role in the teams success from 2000-2007 and was dismissed as a knee jerk reaction for one mistake. I would have ordinarily said that this would hurt them, but they’ve brought in a pretty able replacement.

  3. Eggry (@eggry) said on 6th March 2011, 12:14

    I’m not worried about Alonso, but very worried about Massa. I’m sure Alonso would challenge Redbull again but Ferrari would not fully satisfied until getting WCC. I’m not sure Massa would be better than one of Redbull this year. if he weren’t, I’m sure Ferrari will finish his career. at least as a Ferrari driver.

    Anyway, 150°Italia is very frustrating name. I’d rather call it F150.

    • sid said on 6th March 2011, 12:29

      I agree there will be pressure on Massa. He had started ok last year but fell away later on.
      The tests suggest that Ferrari have an able car this year – good enough to win races will be clear only once the racing begins…
      I think Ferrari will probably again back one driver in the second half of the season – just a matter of who is ahead – ideally 1 and 2 :)

  4. Faraz said on 6th March 2011, 14:32

    Keith thank you for posting a very neutral article one which does not make Ferrari sound incredibly bad unlike other sites cheers.

  5. richard s said on 6th March 2011, 15:09

    Must admit if ferrari really have produced a championship or race winning car through subtle iteration rather than revolution, then that really puts them head-and-shoulders above Mclaren. I’m beginning to warm to them and a bit of positive sentiment from the likes of this site can only add to that feeling

    • Sukoco said on 7th March 2011, 0:42

      I think from a long time Ferrari always use moderate approach for their car.. they just installed something when they know how its react.. in mr.Schu time they push to 100++laps per week mr.schu wanted scduled.. but test bann hurt them.. n i recorn Ferrari development pasion still no.1, they just team that never sleep when they 0.1sec behind

  6. I hope they resume this battle in the midfield!

    • VXR said on 6th March 2011, 16:14

      Now! Now!

      It will almost be inevitable that Ferrari and Red Bull will be up at the front come Melbourne. Hopefully some other teams will be up there with them, but I wouldn’t like to name which ones at present.

      • I know they will be at the front for sure! I reckon the williams, Renault and Mercedes will be on their tail. I reckon McLaren will get a slightly better 2009 season this season. Having said this i hope im wrong about McLaren!

  7. DannyJ said on 6th March 2011, 16:15

    @Solo Because Ferrari are dirty cheats (Frenando is faster) who do not believe in honour or sportsmanship… just the results… And results are not everything.

    If Alonso starts to under-perform he’ll be sacked before he can yell ‘give me an manicure’! And which other team would take Alonso, after all the trouble he’s caused, wherever he’s been. The man is a menace. A talented driver, yes, but a megalomaniac also.

    • Solo (@solo) said on 6th March 2011, 17:35

      Well that is irrelevant to looking bad on the track. They may look “bad” as in “evil” to many peoples eyes but i thought we where talking about “bad” as in bad performance.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th March 2011, 7:33

      Now DannyJ, i think you are a bit over the top on that.
      Sure, Ferrari are about winning, and they do use all means possible (most teams would, maybe shying back a tad earlier, but not much) and feasable for them. And they often behave pretty annoying about it.

      But they have a geat car this year, their drivers are top notch and the team knows how to win.

      If Ferrari would sack Alonso, I am sure there are several teams immediately willing to take him on.

  8. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 6th March 2011, 16:29

    It’s not often I make predictions, but this year I can see Alonso doing it. I’m expecting more from Massa, but of course he has my sympathies from last year given his accident in 2009.

  9. Ru_Bd said on 6th March 2011, 16:49

    Still i am very cautious about Ferrari………. caz last year i am very excited to see them completed more mileage than any other team, but ultimately after 1 race they crumbled or totally lost there competitiveness. I wish this does not happen this year and Ferrari returns to there true competitive form. Go Ferrari Go Ferrari >>>

  10. The New Pope said on 6th March 2011, 16:55

    Alonso could not get past Vitaly Petrov. This can only mean a three things: Alonso is not as good as he is touted, Petrov is better than people think, there is something seriously wrong with F1 cars and circuits. I think it is the latter, although there is probably some truth to all three.

    • wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 7th March 2011, 2:30

      It’s the car with the track that isn’t OK. Alonso was god that day just luck & some decision didn’t favoured him.

      • The New Pope said on 7th March 2011, 5:45

        So you’re saying that driver skill does not matter then, huh? Well, okay, then. THAT means that Alonso is not as good as he is touted, because his championships were won by “cars”, “tracks”, and “luck”. Hmmmmm…..I’m not sure Alonso would agree.

      • mash26 said on 7th March 2011, 15:39

        Did you forget about his start?

        • wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 8th March 2011, 1:47

          First,apology for my typo mistake it will be good not god.

          Next I didn’t said that he isn’t a good driver & don’t deserve the credit that is given to him,what I want to say that he is a good driver but on that particular race due to the track & some unlucky decision made by the team lead him away from the WC.If you read my comments then you would see that I think that Alonso is that Alonso is the third best driver out there next to Hamilton & Kobayashi.

  11. McG (@mcg) said on 6th March 2011, 16:59

    Raikkonen wasn’t as good a successor to Schumi that Alonso is?

    Winning the title in his first year with Farrari when Alonso did not. Beating Alonso and Hamilton in 07 to WDC. So much for “uncompromising and galvanising”.

    • wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 7th March 2011, 2:28

      Kimi may not be a better thinker then Alonso but given the right machinery he will blast Alonso.I will still don’t know why Ferrari replaced him by Alonso. No disrespect to Alonso, as a driver he is the best out there but what about as a human. Before entering Ferrari he didn’t had a good relationship with his past two teams.

    • sumedh said on 7th March 2011, 3:19

      Alonso has the leadership qualities that Kimi lacked. Kimi was never able to blow Massa away and assert himself in the team as well as Alonso has – and Michael did in the past.

      Ferrari have always been at their best when they have one strong driver in the line-up. With Prost in 1990, they came very close to winning the title. Same was the case with Michael throughout his 10 with the team.

      I am not saying Massa will be no.2 right away. But Ferrari aren’t going to wait till he is ‘mathematically’ eliminated.

  12. I hope Ferrari have the car to press the Red Bulls, everyone else seem to be woefully off pace. Yeah, I’m talkin’ about you McLaren; another beautiful innovative design that is apparently too slow.

    • wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 7th March 2011, 2:27

      Kimi may not be a better thinker then Alonso but given the right machinery he will blast Alonso.I will still don’t know why Ferrari replaced him by Alonso. No disrespect to Alonso, as a driver he is the best out there but what about as a human. Before entering Ferrari he didn’t had a good relationship with his past two teams.

  13. DannyJ said on 6th March 2011, 18:48

    @Solo Lets face it, Ferrari cheated last year, and STILL couldn’t win.

    What a hopelessly proud, arrogant and pompous outfit… Pride always come before a fall. You know it.

  14. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 7th March 2011, 1:57

    They are team to beat this season next to Red Bull. Both Alonso & Ferrari are fired up for this & they will be even more ruthless on track (which I love all teams & drivers to be) to grab their hand on the WC trophy. A question that remains whether both the drivers will match each-other like the Mclaren or Red Bull duo. This is probably one team who already have in their mind that which driver they should push for the WC. I just hope Massa get an equal treatment until his chances of WC comes dim.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 7th March 2011, 6:31

      I think they should give both their drivers an equal opportunity. I’m pretty sure that Stefano realises that a huge reason that Fernando didn’t take the WDC was because Massa was unable to take any points off Vettel and Webber during the last 6 to 7 races.

      • Both drivers will be given equal equipment, but if there is any chance of either driver being favored by pit stop strategies or Q timing everyone knows Alonso will get the benefit.

        That’s why he came to Ferrari, for the favoritism he expected and didn’t receive at McLaren. Ferrari have institutionalized No. 1 driver concept, as honed to perfection by Schumy.

  15. Puffy said on 7th March 2011, 8:45

    While Luca is no stranger when it comes to complaining, I do feel he has a strong point when he says that F1 has become too reliant on aerodynamics. It seems to me that if F1 wants to be more relevant to road car development and be a leader in innovative technologies, then they need a rather large paradigm shift to lessen the role that aerodynamics currently plays and increase the performance of the engine, gearbox, electronics etc.

    While the reintroduction of KERS is a small step in the right direction, development was still mainly focussed on exploiting the aerodynamic rules, with some teams opting out of KERS entirely.

    Aside from making F1 more relevant to road car design, we all know how poorly F1 cars perform in the “dirty air” of another car, making it incredibly difficult to overtake. Loosening the rules on mechanical development and severely restricting aerodynamics could hopefully lead to some very exciting racing.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th March 2011, 8:49

      I expect that will change further in 2013, though, with the new engines, more powerful KERS and what is expected to be even tighter restrictions on aerodynamics.

      • Puffy said on 7th March 2011, 9:17

        Indeed, they certainly seem to be moving in that direction, time of course will tell how successful they are. Unfortunately the current trend tends to be trying to plug holes in the rules after the teams have exploited them, only to have the teams find other ways to exploit the aerodynamics the following year to make up for it. The nature of the sport I suppose, but it does hamper the move away from aerodynamic reliance.

        As a complete aside, can anyone recommend a good book which details the technical progression of F1 cars over they years? I read a fantastic book the other day which examined each season of F1 since it’s inception, but it was heavily driver focused, and only touched briefly on a a few of the technical aspects.

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