Ferrari replace technical director Aldo Costa

2011 F1 season

Aldo Costa, Ferrari, 2011

Aldo Costa, Ferrari, 2011

Ferrari have announced Aldo Costa is no longer serving as technical director.

Pat Fry, who joined the team from McLaren last year, has taken over in charge of chassis development and Corrado Lanzone will be responsible for production, both reporting to Stefano Domenicali.

Costa remains with the team in a different capacity. He became technical director in 2007.

Ferrari issued the following statement:

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro announces that, as from today, Aldo Costa relinquishes his current position as Technical Director to take on new responsibilities within the Company.

At the same time, the technical activity has been restructured in three areas: Director for the Chassis side is Pat Fry, Production is in the hands of Corrado Lanzone, while Engine and Electronics continues with Luca Marmorini. All three report directly to the Team Principal, Stefano Domenicali.

Ferrari’s start to the season has fallen short of expectations. They have reached the podium just once in the first five races and Fernando Alonso was lapped during the Spanish Grand Prix.

The team introduced a new rear wing during practice last weekend but the development was banned by the FIA.

Ferrari also replaced race engineer Chris Dyer in January.

Earlier this month Williams announced their technical director Sam Michael and chief aerodynamicist Jon Tomlinson would leave at the end of the season following their disappointing start to the year.

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97 comments on Ferrari replace technical director Aldo Costa

  1. AdrianMorse said on 24th May 2011, 14:27

    A bit of a knee-jerk reaction, it appears to be, coming on the back of Dominicale’s “no-more-excuses” talk in the build-up to the Spanish GP. Maybe they should have waited five more days for Fernando to win the Monaco GP…

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 24th May 2011, 14:36

      If the events of the past week have taught us anything, it’s that making wild predictions – even if you’re absolutely certain of it – is not a very wise idea.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 24th May 2011, 15:17

      Yeah. I think getting rid of Chris Dyer because of one mistake was a little harsh, and now putting Pat Fry in charge of chassis development is a little risky. Thats a lot of faith they’re putting in an ex-mclaren guy, lets see if it pays off.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 24th May 2011, 15:32

      Who knows, I think this was coming from Australia, when we first found out Ferrari were far off the pace. Even worse, McLaren had shown they were flexible enough to come up with a quick fix, while Ferrari are still looking for one.

      Maybe the announcement has only been made after they agreed to take over the two Williams refugees!

      • Rob said on 24th May 2011, 15:50

        This is the best decision Ferrari have made recently.

        The guy was obviously not up to scratch.

        • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 24th May 2011, 16:46

          The guy was obviously not up to scratch.

          How are you sure of this?

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th May 2011, 6:55

          I think you have forgotten how Ferrari won the title with Kimi and was very close to it in 2008 as well, not to mention they were the ones closest to Red Bull last year.

          Rather this is about getting a new crew in with fresh ideas for the next few years. Sure, announcing it now makes him a scapegoat of sorts as well, but I do not think that is the real reason.

  2. Malcolm said on 24th May 2011, 14:27

    Not again ferrari…

    • Rob said on 24th May 2011, 15:45

      Aldo Costa has had this coming for a while. He has failed on all fronts. His bosses are obviously tired of making excuses for the guy.

      He was an obvious thorn in Ferrari’s side.

      • Guilherme (@the_philosopher) said on 24th May 2011, 17:12

        Are you even sure about what you’re talking about? Costa’s cars won both championships in 2007 and the constructors in 2008, and came so close to winning the drivers championship last year.

        While I think he’s no Rory Byrne, he’s far from being “an obvious thorn in Ferrari’s side”…

        • Rob said on 24th May 2011, 19:33

          Look, Ferrari are not looking for some average guy. They want the best, because they are willing to pay for the best.

          So while I agree, he was not all bad. You also have to agree that he was not the best.

          Now Adrian is arguably the best. However they cant have him. So they are placing their trust in Fry.

          While they had good cars in Costa’s early stages, his cars were far from the best in his last three seasons at Ferrari. Considering they are a racing team and not an energy drink team, they cant stand for anything less than wins every time out. The only excuse ever for a team like Ferrari, should be “back luck”.

          • Rob said on 24th May 2011, 19:34

            Bad luck*

          • Mike said on 25th May 2011, 11:32

            racing team and not an energy drink team

            If it’s a criticism of using F1 as advertising you going for I’d advise you to look at Williams or Sauber as your saviors.

        • AlonsoWDC said on 24th May 2011, 19:53

          While I will concede that Ferrari probably had the best car in 2008, with Massa coming within a single point of a WDC against a better driver, it was hardly class of the field stuff.

          McLaren clearly had the best car in 2007, they would have easily won the WCC were it not for the extralegal affairs uncovered in Paris, and they would have won the WDC if not for a multitude of reasons pertaining to any number of GP weekends that season.

          • robert said on 25th May 2011, 21:30

            Even without the spy-gate Ferrari would have won the WCC in 2007.

            From Wikipedia: After an incident at the end of Qualifying Session 3 at the Hungarian Grand Prix, an FIA decision was made that, due to team infringements during qualifying, McLaren would not be awarded any points. The drivers, however, do retain the points won.

          • robert said on 25th May 2011, 21:41

            BTW that 2008 Ferrari was so great it failed 3 laps away from victory in the Hungarian GP. (That was after he had overtaken your “better driver” at the start.)

  3. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 24th May 2011, 14:33

    Is this Ferrari’s solution to everything these days? First Dyer, now Costa … who’s next?

  4. They’ve been stagnating for a while now. 2007 was won because McLaren went through a big problem. 2008 was close because Lewis Hamilton wanted to throw away the championship for the second time. 2010 was close because of Vettel’s unreliability and stupid accidents with Webber, Button, etc.

    All this while, teams have come out with ingenious ideas like double diffusers, F-Ducts, exhaust-blown diffusers, flexi-wings, exhausts coming out of sidepods, etc.

    I have to think quite a long way back to remember any innovation that was done by Ferrari and copied by the rest. Their car designs have been evolutions, and boring at the same time.

    You can see the difference that is made by promoting a solid figure as the technical head at Sauber, while Force India is feeling the effects of losing the same member. I say good luck to Ferrari. They’ve always been near the top for these past years after 2005, but that has purely been due to driver skill and reliability, whether it was their own drivers and car or other teams’.

    • Ral said on 24th May 2011, 14:45

      To be fair, James Key probably had a lot of relatively minor niggly things he could change on both the organisational and design side of things that combined to make relatively large improvements. Ferrari on the other hand has been consistently not-quite-at-the-top for years. They’ve essentially got the organisation and technical know-how in place, just not these little eureka moments that Red Bull and McLaren have had.

      But yeah, when the most eye-catching design feature on your car, is to make the push-rod work better than it ever has on any other car before you when everyone else is jumping ship to the pull-rod suspension, then I guess evolutionary design is just so embedded in your thinking that it will be difficult to have those eureka moments at all.

      • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 24th May 2011, 15:23

        They did `invent` one thing that was picked up, first by McLaren, and then FI and this last weekend even by Red Bull: those fairings on the wheel rims. Probably not a big effect, but still, something clever.

        Last year, I was also reasonably impressed with how well they got the EBD to work on their car too, and their Monza special F-duct was a smart move too. There is some value in making good implementations of others’ ideas, but they clearly need something more to get them back to winning form on their own steam.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 24th May 2011, 15:38

          They had the vented nose in 2008 as well.

          • beckenlima (@) said on 24th May 2011, 15:55

            They had the vented nose in 2008 as well.

            ….Which they left behind after some races because don´t offered any performance advantage. The best Ferrari´s innovation in the last years was the illegal flexible floor from 2007.

      • alex said on 24th May 2011, 21:42

        And I think it was Mclaren who spied on Ferrari in 2007, not the other way around.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th May 2011, 6:59

        To be honest, the last 3 years both Ferrari and McLaren have been not quite at the top with Brawn and Red Bull claiming the top spot.

        So I guess this is a move by Ferrari to get a solid team in for the next years to get back on top.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 24th May 2011, 15:33

      The wheel faring thing.

    • Atticus said on 24th May 2011, 15:42

      2008 was close because Lewis Hamilton wanted to throw away the championship for the second time.

      Well, 2008 was close because it was the Ferrari team who wanted to throw away the championship, not Lewis. Massa has had nothing to do with Hungary 2008 and Singapore 2008, those 20 (!) points was 100% team failure.

      At least there are fewer of those blunders nowadays. I mean those were not even strategical mistakes like Abu Dhabi 2010. They were blunders. First unreliability, then horrendous pit stop error.

      Based on driving skills Massa should have won the WDC in 2008 he rose to the challenge that year – and in fact he was exceptionally consistent until Hungary 2009. Something broke in him there. (In fact here, as I’m Hungarian. :)) And ‘broke’, I don’t mean it literally, no pun intended, you know what I mean: he lost it since then.

      Back to the actual news, I agree with Icthyes – the Prancing Horse should aim for a win in 2011 and then stop developing the car, focusing their resources on 2012.

  5. Scribe (@scribe) said on 24th May 2011, 14:40

    I spy a rolling head. Oh lol Ferrari, if it really is belived that going conservative is the cars problem, then if Costa made the call he should be out. I wonder though if there not investing a little to much faith in Pat Fry, never felt he was the man that made McLaren tick. He also produced the Mp4 24.

    Surley though the problem could be the general direction of the team at the top? Or maybe whoevers in charge of correlating wind tunnel readings? An why do Ferrari’s electronics look so buky? An why does the finish on the sidepods look sub f1 standard? It’s quite funny to read the F150 thread on f1technical, internet enthusiasts are officialy concerned, Ferrari seems to have quite a few probelms, last question, why’s the front wing so damn basic?

    • Butterfly (@) said on 24th May 2011, 15:18

      Wasn’t Fry the one who told Ferrari last year to stop copying the F-duct and just focus on the diffuser. I’m pretty sure it was.

      Also, the MP4-24 was garbage because of insufficient time to develop it, but, ultimately, he made it win a couple of races.

      Aldo Costa has made the right move here.

      • Scribe (@scribe) said on 24th May 2011, 16:32

        I’m afraid both those points are conjecture. The problem with the MP4-24 wasn’t the development time, it was an inherant problem with the underneath of the car, leading to uncontrolled flow through the diffuser spilling everywhere loosing the car significant downforce in what is infact the key creating area. It was fixed once the entire underfloor was redesigned post Germany.

        While the car was only initially underdeveloped it had more to do with a flawed design rather than the fine tuning required to to compete at the front. Hence when the massive problem the car had was fixed, the top of the car was in good shape, hence their victories.

        We don’t know what Aldo Costa’s responsibilities are, so we really can’t make the call with any actuall certainty.

        I’ve no idea if Pat Fry told Ferrari to stop concentrating on the diffuser but if he was working for McLaren I’d assume such a thing was against at least his own companies code of conduct.

  6. Fixy (@fixy) said on 24th May 2011, 14:40

    He was a nice guy at least. He made the competitive F2008 and F10 but he had probably too many ups and downs.

    • Scribe (@scribe) said on 24th May 2011, 15:13

      I think people underestimaite the turn around required to make the F10 truly competative. WHen a top team suddenly becomes comptetative in Monaco it’s a sign of the trouble their in, requiring mechancial grip to come to the rescue of their poor aero.

      Ferrari started from a higher base then McLaren in 09, but considering the amount of time they spent developing the F10, 3rd in the constructors is very disapointing. TO only start competing for wins by Valencia isn’t good at all. Costa’s a scape goat though, something fundementally is missing at Ferrari, in comparison to Redbull, an maybe even McLaren over the past few years. There up there, but if you take my meaning not half close enough for a team of their recources.

      • Hallard said on 24th May 2011, 19:37

        So they got a 1-2 at the first race of the season, yet the F10 wasnt competitive? I dont follow you there. Sure they got left behind on development for a few races, but they had the best combination of reliability and speed from the start.

        • Scribe (@scribe) said on 24th May 2011, 23:52

          No for three reasons.

          1 They only got the 1-2 due to Webber’s qualifying and Vettel’s engine faluire.

          2 They didn’t have to deal with the McLaren who screwed up on set up

          3 They went on to win nothing till Germany, an not really threaten to win anything either. Up and till that point they were frequently third best and usualy were in the constuctors standings.

          Hence not truly competative, they certainly didn’t have the best combination of speed and reliabilty as they weren’t the fastest, an their engines kept blowing up before they were allowed to change them pre Barcalona.

          Holding up the 1-2 is a very hollow argument, they were lucky once, it then took TEN races before they won again, thats more than just a few races.

      • McLaren started the testing season with a woefully unreliable and slow car, and Ferrari have at least equal resources to come back like McLaren.

        It is little wonder Adrian Newey turned them down again last year. His success has come from gradual improvement, building the right team, and getting stability. Can you imagine what would happen to that attempt at Ferrari.

  7. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 24th May 2011, 14:41

    I wonder if Alonso knew this was coming when he pledged his future to them last week?

  8. Romesh82 (@romesh82) said on 24th May 2011, 14:42

    concerning times for ferrari.. Everyone in da devolopment team is responsible for this senario..they all couldnt come wit a competitive car.@ least da upgrades should have been witiin da rules and was realy pathetic 2 c a ferrari strugle this much..drivers were helpless..hope this move provides dividents soon.

  9. Fixy (@fixy) said on 24th May 2011, 14:44

    And where has Nicholas Tombazis gone? Has he remained?

  10. Raj said on 24th May 2011, 14:50

    I feel they have made right decision..not sure about timing.. But for me the worrying factor is ferrari needs to stop developing 2011 car and soon work on 2012 car similar to wht they have done in 2009. They are just too incompetent on hard tyres in spain.. (even sauber seems to faster on hards than them..).

    It seems ferrari is in need of new direction. Without alonso i wonder they would have been in contention for WDC and they should realize that they need strong second driver to win constructor championship. I doubt whether they can ever win WCC with massa?

    But sad to see costa go but surely ferrari lacked technical prowess in last 3yrs or so..

  11. seemed like a decent guy, hope he lands on his feet

  12. beckenlima (@) said on 24th May 2011, 15:16

    So that’s the team that we supposed to see as a ‘famiglia’. To any failure a head to roll…

    Anyway, Ferrari needs a new designer with fresh ideas. And sorry because there’s no one available right now.

    Newey will never go to Italia, because of his family and because there he was charged with manslaughter after Senna´s death..

    Maybe Tim Goss could accept a millionaire offer?

    The point is Ferrari was never that innovative as some made us think. Their superiority in Schuey era could be explained in terms of empiric and exhaustive tests.

    They really need to communicate or establish some links with the motosport valley to be in the top again because they are far away from the racing technology epicentre.

    • Ral said on 24th May 2011, 16:35

      Well, they’re more like family than some teams. They’re moving him “sideways”, and whether you interpret that as demotion or not, at least they’re keeping him in a job, as opposed to just telling him to go away.

    • LuvinF1 said on 24th May 2011, 20:44

      Well, pretty soon they will have a warehouse full of employees with tire marks all over their backs.

  13. renzo said on 24th May 2011, 15:30


  14. hoshi said on 24th May 2011, 15:36

    with so many guys getting fired from established teams..

    the new three lot might gain by employing one of them..

  15. IceMan said on 24th May 2011, 15:50

    They let Jean Todt to go, prefered Domenicali to Ross. Oh dear Ferrari is returning to post Todt Era.

    • Boomerang said on 24th May 2011, 19:10

      Oh, YES!

    • alex said on 24th May 2011, 22:03

      pre-Todt… yes! Since 2006, things are not going really well… 07 title it was an accident (although kimi drove brilliantly in the second half of that season). And last year, alonso almost won cause vettel was not mature enough and made some silly mistakes (and had reliability issues)…
      He is much stronger now and Newey seems to be having a really good time at redbull. This is a really strong combination.

    • IceMan said on 25th May 2011, 6:11

      post Todt Era.

      should read pre Todt, got too emotional i guess :)

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