Ferrari: 2012 “very important” for future of F1

F1 Fanatic round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

In the round-up: Ferrari’s Stefano Domenicali says 2012 is a “very important” year for F1 as teams face discussions over the Concorde and Resource Restriction Agreements.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Resource Restriction Still Active, Says Domenicali (Speed)

“Clearly this is a very important year and we are all aware of that. It is equally clear that there is only one offer on the table, given that no alternative solutions were ever established.”

‘We put our faith in FIA over Bahrain GP’ (Daily Telegraph)

Domenicali: “I think we need to trust [the FIA]. Maybe the experience [of last year] will give a different approach to that and the information will be more accurate.”

Domenicali: “No one works with the team like Fernando does” (Ferrari)

“I can honestly say that, in over 20 years at Maranello, I have never seen anyone spend so much time here with the team as [Fernando Alonso] has done.”

Montezemolo at Wrooom: “Not a pretty car? It can look lousy if it?s quick!” (Ferrari)

Luca di Montezemolo: “Domenicali said the car would not be pretty? I?d like it to look lousy: I say that provocatively because I want it to be a winner.”

Lotus reactive ride height is legal (Autosport)

“The fact that the driver is not involved, and that the system is a part of the suspension, means it complies fully with the F1 regulations.”

Meanwhile in Valencia (Joe Saward)

“HRT has moved its racing team into a warehouse in the western industrial suburbs of the city of Valencia, Spain, having failed to get the local government to provide it with one of the old America?s Cup bases in the harbour area.”

Romain Grosjean: “It?s always something special to sit in a new car for the first time” (Lotus)

“The French fans have been waiting for a while to have a driver to follow in Formula 1 and now there are three of us. Grand Prix is of course a French term, so the country certainly has a lot of history within the sport! Hopefully we can help develop support for Formula 1 in France again.”

Recognition of the FIA by the IOC (FIA)

“Jean Todt, President of the FIA, will be sending a letter to the 129 national sporting club members of the FIA, inviting them to respect and share the values of the Olympic movement.”

Red Bull boss Christian Horner defends Toro Rosso sackings (BBC)

Christian Horner: “Both [Sebastien] Buemi and [Jaime] Alguersuari had the support of Red Bull to enter F1 and had been supported in Buemi’s case for three seasons and in Alguersuari’s two and a half seasons, and during that time it enables you to form a picture of how the guys are developing.”

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Comment of the day

I’m sure Rumfresh speaks for all of us on the latest news about Robert Kubica:

Truly terrible news. This whole Kubica saga has been incredibly sad. To see such a talented driver suffer so much, it?s very hard to bear.

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79 comments on “Ferrari: 2012 “very important” for future of F1”

  1. That answers that on the ride height device legality then. Now the teams just need to figure out how it will impact tyre wear under braking..

    1. Ferrari now are developing their own ride-height system according to some reports such a system is expected to provide a significant benefit in maintaining the life of the rear tyres

  2. We will know soon. It would be nice to see Massa have some success this season as most are already writing him off. If the car is good Alonso wins the championship. He is the best driver in F1 at the moment and when they get the car figured out, it will take a real test of man and machine to better him.

    1. I agree with you. I’d also be delighted to see Massa do well. He’s had a rough few years and certainly hasn’t covered himself in glory with his handling of some of his incidents with Hamilton, but I can see a lot of people being delighted to watch him win another GP.
      Also agreed on Alonso. He pulled off some great results with the F150th this year, give him a decent car and we’ll see something special.

    2. Yea…, there is no denying it: F.A. is almost mythical!

  3. As a Lotus fan, I won’t be getting carried away with all this hype about this ride height device. That is one aspect of the car, albeit a big one if it works, but the rest of the car has to function properly too.

    The device may work, but if the rest of the car has the drag coefficient of a wheelie bin, it’s a pointless exercise. I will, as we all will have to do, wait until the first race to see what’s what. I do have my fingers crossed though.

  4. The way I see it is that the top four teams in 2012 will remain as they were in 2011 but in a different order. In my opinion it will be #1) Ferrari, #2) Mercedes, #3 Red Bull and #4 McLaren. The next three are likely to be Lotus, Sauber and Force India. As for the rest Toro Rosso and Williams will have potential for success and the others will remain mobile chicanes as they have been for years.

    The real question is will Red Bull be able to stay on top? It seems that the Ferrari and the Mercedes are the only teams that are destined to rise above it all and finally end the dominance of the Red Bull. Possibly McLaren but the sense is that Hamilton and Button will destroy each other seeking the glory. I count them out but still among the top four teams. Can Red Bull keep the jugernaut going?? I think they are now vulnerable like they haven’t been in several seasons. If Mercedes fails this year to get wins then this team will fall from grace and the results of that will take years to over come. MS will be done and that advantage will likely start the crumble. Ferrari are ready and have many things set in place. The best driver, the best organization and the potential of a new and radical car.Then there is the hunger factor…who more so the the Ferrrari and its tifosi.

    After these top four teams few will challenge for podium spots and many might wonder why they are even bothering as success by their standards will be something very different from what the big four expects.

    Anyway a new drivers champion and a new team champion for sure in 2012. What other possiblilties could there be??

    1. Why do you think that Ferrari and Mercedes will leapfrog Red Bull and McLaren, considering that Red Bull and McLaren were the big hitters in 2011?

      1. If anything probability would suggest everything stays the same.

      2. Well Ferrari showed that without the off throttle diffuser they were quicker than the two. Perhaps it was just Alonso’s skill or Vettels bad pitstop in the UK, but it happened nonetheless.

        Without the off throttle diffuser the gap to RB is much smaller.

        Ofcourse you cant ignore how RBR tend to leave testing with a much more developed car than the rest, so all we can do is hope.

        1. Back in 2009 in the first half of the season RBR had the fastest car without double diffuser and as far as I know without exhaust blowing. So I think they are pretty capable of building a fast car without it.

          I’m worried about Mercedes though. I really hope they can build a car this year that can at least win races.

        2. don’t forget that RB7 and MP4-26 were built around that idea (well the latter was a copy though). so off-throttle ban affected these two more than others…but for 2012 they’ll definitely come up with a different solution.

      3. Statistics, hunches, wisdom and odds.

        The statistics offer the potential for change based solely on linear time, nothing remains the same.

        Hunches reflect personal feeling about how teams are more or less effective during off season activity.

        Wisdom shows that even in the best of laid plans the unexpected can be both a blessing and a hindurance. Remaining on top is proportionally more difficult than the rise from mediocraty.

        Gamblers sense when the odds are in their favor thus risking the chance of playing for a better hand or chancing that all of your ducks are in a row.

    2. I see (and hope) 2012 as the Ferrari / McLaren domination of 2007 & 2008. Red Bull will be the ‘BMW’ of them years, meaning they will be podiums and a couple of wins. I see Mercedes in the same boat as Red Bull, with Rosberg getting his first ever win, and Schumacher with a couple of podiums. After all them, Raikkonen and Di Resta will be fighting for some podiums and the rest of the points, while I see Sauber struggling and the rest the same as 2011.

    3. Interesting ideas, but I would really like to hear your reasoning for the expectation of Ferrari and Mercedes jumping not just McLaren but also Red Bull in the coming season.

      The RBR operation runs smoothly, no problems there. Only upset could be the car, but Newey would have been already thinking about the hidden advantages of the upper exhausts and I would not bet against the car being one of the best cars.

      McLaren went a bit of a new direction with their design last year, and can now build on that. Also no reason to see them drop down suddenly.

      1. McLaren went a bit of a new direction with their design last year, and can now build on that. Also no reason to see them drop down suddenly.

        Haven’t key (?) members of McLaren’s design team been pinched by other outfits recently?

        1. yes but with new designers come fresh ideas.
          Mclaren has been in the show for a very long time and they surely know when they can afford losing a designer…they definitely have someone capable enough to replace him.

    4. Interesting comments, Ted Bell…it has been said many times that the hardest thing to do in sports is to stay on top. That said, I see no reason to think that RB won’t come out this season very very strong, and I just hope that the other three teams are closer. Sure there is always the chance that one of them pulls a rabbit out of their hat and takes a leap in performance (sorry to their fans but let’s hope it’s not Red Bull), but for now I would predict an order much as it was last year, but closer to each other such that the order could change simply by one team/driver having a little less luck.

      I take your point about the Mac drivers ‘destroying each other seeking the glory’ but I would like to think the season will start off with ALL drivers trying to destroy their teammates. I guess the presumption here is that FA will automatically dominate FM and SV will do the same to MW, and Mac seems to let there quite equal drivers duke it out, as does Merc, presumably.

      I hope for a much closer top 4 teams such that we don’t have Red Bull running away with it, and that is probably a popular sentiment for 2012. But I think it will be Red Bull as still the team to beat, and they will be beat much moreso than 2011. We need to see SV truly pressured by his teammate and 3 or 4 other drivers.

      Safe to say that Merc is still the lesser resourced team than the other 3? That said I hope they are, at a minimum, a close 4th rather than a distant 4th. Can’t quite picture them as anything more than a distant 3rd though. Maybe a strong 3rd if one of the other three falters somehow and takes a step backwards from 2011. Hard to imagine that though, for me anyway.

  5. HRT appeared to have ruled out Tonio Liuzzi and any Spanish driver for car #23 this year:

    “I don’t think it’s in the interests of the team to have a second Spanish driver,” [Jacky] Eeckelaert said. “The same goes for the drivers approaching retirement.”

    Eeckelaert also appeared to end Tonio Liuzzi’s hopes of remaining with the team, saying: “He hasn’t really confirmed himself after several chances. We are looking more for a young driver with a lot of potential.”

    1. Can’t say I disagree with what Eecleheart says about the driver situation there.

      But I would say its still quite a big question of what cars they will actually be bringing to the tracks this year.

      1. Yeah, Joe Saward seems to think that might be a bit of a problem. If they’re packing up and moving to Valencia, they might not have the time to fully-produce the F112, and so start the season with the F111 … which could see them failing to qualify more often.

        1. Well, reading what Eekleheart says about the team moving and having started later than others does nothing to show Saward is wront then, does it.

    2. I bet on Dambrosio for the Liuzzi seat.
      The guy is always telling that he will keep racing, even if it is in a small team.

    3. @Prisoner-Monkeys Sounds sensible enough to me. Can’t say I’ll miss Liuzzi.

  6. It wouldn’t be Ferrari’s first ugly car if it was

    My guess is that they are going for a wide, flat nose, like Red bull has been using to dominate recently

    1. The nose regs have changed for this year, I think they have to be significantly lower than previous seasons so who nose (ahem) what shape they’ll be.

      In fact I’m quite looking forward to seeing the noses this year, could be some ugly ones!

  7. Just because it looks horrible doesn’t always mean it’s going to be quick… Anyone remember the 2008 Honda?? ;)

      1. Ah, a huge improvement on the fugly RA107 visually, but only a bit better on the track.

      2. I consider 2007 and 2008 cars the best looknig ever for all those extra wings and flaps they had… however that Honda RA 108 looked as if the car had a gull tied to its nose.

    1. I can’t ever recall a car that looked like a dog’s breakfast, but was still incredibly fast.

      1. I agree, Most of the really special cars look the part as well.

      2. I always thought the front end of the Brawn looked especially ugly!

      3. The F1 cars of the early 70s spring to mind!

  8. ” I can honestly say that, in over 20 years at Maranello, I have never seen anyone spend so much time here with the team as [Fernando Alonso] has done.” Where was he when Schumacher was with the team????

    1. Luca is like that, big words with little meaning.

      I reckon if Luca outlasts Alonso at Ferrari, which I doubt, then he will forget about Alonso as well.

      1. @mike

        Luca is like that

        That quote’s from Domenicali.

        1. -.- Course it was.

          In my defense I didn’t sleep well…

      2. Days of Thunder
        12th January 2012, 18:23

        Probably if Vettel does join Ferrari in years come, Domenicalli would said he is the best and so when other top drivers join the team, just maybe.

    2. Michael is well known about spending time with the engineers developing the car but (according to Domenicali in another statement) it took him 2 years to become the absolute leader & having all the team in one hand as for Alonso it took him some months & that’s really Fantastic!!!!!!!!!

      1. Remember, Alonso speaks Italian , so its natural that he bonded with the team more quickly than Michael.

        You could never fault Michaels work ethic tho…

    3. @wasiF1 Piling on the muscle in the gym, probably!

      1. Yeah, it’s hard to imagine, with the unlimited testing Ferrari was able to do in the MS/Ferrari chapter, that anyone could be there more…perhaps it does make sense that FA speaks Italian and therefore it was a quicker bonding with the team, but MS was at Ferrari for a decade. Not that I ever bought into the concept that MS was harder working that ALL other drivers or team members…he had the luxury of being on a team that had a bottomless pit of resources and more opportunity to test than all the others, and it is not like MS was calling everyone at 5 am to say come on I want to test today…the team arranged everything and MS was there, like any other driver would have been. That said, he was there and worked closely with the crew, obviously, and he had the most to gain.

        Perhaps SD is somewhat pumping up FA and throwing MS under the bus with his comment since MS, who most thought for a long time would be a Ferrari lifer even post-F1, jumped ship to Mercedes. And perhaps due to the much more restricted testing there’s not much more FA can do than to be there alot and provide whatever input he can, absent of actual testing on the track.

        1. Days of Thunder
          12th January 2012, 18:27

          “and it is not like MS was calling everyone at 5 am to say come on I want to test today…”

          Seems like you were part of Ferrari test team :D

          But i agree with your 2nd paragraph

        2. Actually, I’ve recently read an interview with Badoer saying that Schumacher was the only one who could, whenever Badoer was scheduled to test, show up and say, I’ll give it a go now, I want to know how the car feels with this or that etc.

          1. Days of Thunder
            12th January 2012, 22:38

            Interesting, could you paste the link?

  9. I think these predictions from TED & JT are more of what you hope will be in 2012 rather than what will be reality. Me personally I hope McLaren are the fastest along with Ferrari and we have a Hamilton Vs Alonso title battle with MSC getting the odd win in wet conditions or something..but,

    My head tells me that the reality is Red Bull will once again again be quickest come Melbourne. I just can’t see them being leap-frogged by the other teams..but then on the other hand i don’t think the car nor Sebastian can or will be as dominant as last year. Yes i think they will start the season quickest but this year McLaren and Ferrari have to out develop them during the season, the pressure is on, neither team will let Sebastian walk all over them again and once they catch, thats when it’s time to watch, the pressure will then go on Sebastian to keep his lead in the championship in an ever fading bull..beyond that my crystal ball is hazy but i would keep an eye on the second half of the 2012 season, could be an interesting one ;)

    1. having the Fastest car is not a problem in 2010 Red Bull have the fastest & it was an amazing fight for the championship but the scary thing is being the fastest (Rb7) car with an advantage of 0.5s in every race

  10. I think it will be close between Red Bull and McLaren with Ferrari and Mercedes fighting for 3rd in constructors’, and the occasional win. Red Bull have obviously got the advantage, and McLaren are always strong. Red Bull and Ferrari will both be hampered in the constructors’ by having weaker 2nd drivers (unlike Mercedes and McLaren). We could easily see a scenario in which Vettel (hope not) would win the drivers’, and McLaren the constructors’.

  11. Thanks for COTD Keith, I wish I got it under better circumstances however. Truly shocking news.

    1. Thanks for writing that COTD @rumfresh

  12. @keithcollantine “To invite a friend furst log in, then go to My Account > Profile, select Send Invites and follow the instructions from there.”

    Thought you might like to be the furst to know ;)

    1. @mike-e Fixed it, thanks.

  13. Progress update from Austin:

    – Crews are working on construction around the clock
    – Concrete for the first two floors of the main building has already been poured
    – Space for the podium is already clearly visible in the second floor of the main building
    – Slab for the main grandstand will be done this week
    – Retaining wall around the circuit is complete
    – Circuit outline is clearly visible
    – Surfacing has not begun yet, but will come soon

    1. My friend was at US las month, she knows I´m big F1 fan so she looked for a gith for me… she couln´t find anything… it really mades me wonder if F1 will do good with 2 GPs.

      1. Well, the race is still 310 days away. No doubt the country will embrace it more as the date gets closer.

  14. Horner, speaking exclusively to BBC Sport, said that the decision to drop both Buemi and Alguersuari was made because the time they had spent with Toro Rosso had enabled Red Bull to establish that they were not of the calibre required to race full time with the senior team.

    I wouldn’t pretend to know as much about driver development as Christian Horner, but what if Red Bull had just thrown out a late bloomer? Many drivers out there, one of them is sure to be a Jenson Button type.

    1. Doesn’t fit their image? Hm, but what about Webber then!

      1. Another late bloomer. But while his pace was obvious for a long time, his luck on the other hand….

    2. but what if Red Bull had just thrown out a late bloomer

      In RedBull Driver Academy they have an army of young talented drivers to chose from so they are searching for an “ace” from the start not just for a “good driver” who MAYBE will bloom. I mean, why wait for a Button when you can have a Hamilton? RedBull is the place for winners, for apprentices they have Toro Rosso. And since Toro Rosso’s sole role in F1 is to be spawning pool for RB future star, I understand and totally agree with their decision.

      1. I can see where you’re coming from, and indeed, finding another Mansell is harder than finding the next Hamilton. More than that, this is Red Bull’s matter, and it is up to Red Bull to solve it. But it would be a tragedy if someone of Mansell’s or Button’s calibre would be overlooked, in my mind.

    3. I would not consider Button as late bloomer just because he won championship in his 9th year. He was a star in his own right when he entered F1 and had lots of podiums in his first few years of F1 before BAR/Honda dropped significantly.

      The fact of the matter is that if a driver ends up in a good car after 5-6 years of scrapping at the bottom and ends up scoring win/podiums or may be a championship, doesn’t mean they improved a lot.

      Team principals are generally not that stupid i believe. After all Alonso, Raikonnen, Webber etc were all driving vastly inferior cars before they were picked by bigger teams. So it is for sure possible to influence big teams by performances in smaller teams and since red bull doesnt really need pay drivers, i would assume they have concluded that buemi and alguersuari haven’t put up that great performances so far. I would say fair enough.

  15. Article 3.15 of the F1 Technical Regulations states: “With the exception of the parts necessary for the adjustment described in Article 3.18 [the DRS], any car system, device or procedure which uses driver movement as a means of altering the aerodynamic characteristics of the car is prohibited.”

    Ah… but is applying the brake pedal classed as ‘driver movement’? Does that meant that when the driver releases the brake pedal other aerodynamic characteristics of the car can be altered? The wording of the regulations, once again, is creating some grey areas from my perspective.

    1. @john-h

      is applying the brake pedal classed as ‘driver movement’?

      Yes, I would say so. Otherwise the teams would all be using air brakes that are activated when the drivers hit the brake pedal.

      1. @keithcollantine

        Otherwise the teams would all be using air brakes that are activated when the drivers hit the brake pedal.

        Suggesting that air brakes are not used because of the rule against “driver movement altering the aerodynamic characteristics of the car” is a bit of a red herring. Air brakes are in fact banned because they do not “remain immobile in relation to the sprung part of the car”.

        3.15 Aerodynamic influence :
        With the exception of the driver adjustable bodywork described in Article 3.18 (in addition to minimal parts solely associated with its actuation) and the ducts described in Article 11.4, any specific part of the car influencing its aerodynamic performance :
        ‐ Must comply with the rules relating to bodywork.
        ‐ Must be rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car (rigidly secured means not having any degree of freedom).
        ‐ Must remain immobile in relation to the sprung part of the car.

      2. @keithcollantine

        Indeed. Some more from the autosport article:

        Instead it is reactive to brake torque and is linked directly to the suspension – so cannot be classified as a moveable aerodynamic device in the way that independent mass dampers were.

        So hitting the brakes, moves weight to the front end, which alters the suspension, which activates the device.

        I suppose the point I’m getting at is whether you can call the correlation between applying the brakes and the suspension flexing a direct one? I’m guessing not then if this device is being allowed, but hopefully you see my point.

        For example, can you have any movable body parts (i.e. a flexi-wing) that are activated only when the suspension arms move (i.e. predominantly under braking)?

        It seems like you can to me or am I missing something?

        1. Ah, my bad. Seems like deadmanwoking answered my question at the same time as me writing it.

          Article 3.15 suggests the whole ‘sprung part of the car’ is being affected with the Lotus device, so should be ok.

  16. I’ve never been a big Kubica fan or got the hype but what happened to him really does sadden me. I don’t care about the measure of talent when something like this happens- it doesn’t matter or make it any more important; it’s just awful to see someone who loved racing not being able to do that and having his whole future in doubt.

    1. Days of Thunder
      12th January 2012, 18:33

      I hope he would still the same driver when he comes back

  17. BREAKING NEWS: HRT has moved again into an abandoned laundfry shop. The warehose owners rejected the offer from HRT of 50 bucks of rent.

    1. Thats hilarious. You should do standup.

  18. Wow, one dictatorial organisation approves of another. What news! :)

  19. I’ve been looking into (and trying to get my head around) some of the rule changes for next year regarding car design. It somehow makes me more confident in Mercedes, as the W02 nose seems to be closer to what a 2012 nose might look like than the other 2011 cars. They also seem to have less to lose at the back end of the car regarding the EBD and indeed their rear suspension was meant to be pretty advanced.

    It’s also possible the cars could get really ugly, if they end with noses as extreme as Scarbs seems to be predicting…

    1. You may be right.

      But fortunately Craig’s illustrations so the impact of the rules, and he says that he doesn’t expect the noses actually look like that.

      My feeling is that they will probably return to their 2010 shapes i.e. slightly lower and with a V-shaped cross section.

      However, I think nose shape has minimal impact on performance compared to front wing and rear end. The secret to competitiveness probably lies under the car, out of sight somewhere.

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