Patrese says Ferrari should hire an Italian

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Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari, Abu Dhabi, 2009

In the round-up: Riccardo Patrese suggests Ferrari should replace Felipe Massa with a young Italian driver.

Links

Riccardo Patrese official website

“Maybe Ferrari, if they wanted, could have an Italian driver as the second driver in the team particularly as [Felipe] Massa hasn?t looked particularly good in the last couple of seasons. They could take a small risk to take a young Italian driver but this hasn?t happened since the time of Michele Alboreto.”

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“It?s true there are only four more days of testing and we will have to also make use of the first Friday at a race weekend to continue with development, but the car is reasonably complex and needs time, as was the case over the first eight days. It is definitely too early to say where we are compared to the others. Red Bull is very strong, but that?s hardly a surprise.”

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Comment of the day

Vjanik on why F1 needs greater variety in track design:

F1 teams build the fastest cars for the tracks that they race on. top speed is just not as important on F1 circuits as cornering speed (in terms of lap time gain) so logically team spend more time and resources on downforce. But if you took the F1 teams and gave them an oval calendar you would see how fast they can go in a straight line. remember these are prototypes that are tailored to their environment. change that, and the cars will change too.

If you took Formula 1 rules and applied them to the oval, you would get much faster lap times than by using the IndyCar rules. Thats what makes F1 the highest form of motorsport.

Don’t forget that the easiest part of the track for an F1 driver is the straight. Thats where they take a break from the g-forces, talk to their enegeneers, etc. Its also where they achieve the top speed, but if that speed was 20 or 30kph faster it wouldnt change much. they wouldnt probably even notice.

But if you can go through Eau Rouge 10kph faster, trust me, you notice. And thats where true skill and car development is. Not on the straights.

I think we should have more variability of tracks on the calendar. Not necessarily ovals, but more tracks like Monza or the old Hockenheim, so that aero is not always king.
Vjanik

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79 comments on Patrese says Ferrari should hire an Italian

  1. plutoniumhunter (@plutoniumhunter) said on 28th February 2012, 0:04

    Well, even Patrese remembers Imola ’83 damn well when the fans showed their true allegiance, like the COTD of a few days back mentioned.

  2. Diogenes said on 28th February 2012, 0:04

    The Daytona 500 is about to start under the lights for the first time. Cooler temps mean more power from the engines and more grip from the track, should be a helluva show!

    • UKFan (@) said on 28th February 2012, 3:19

      That race is too long, too boring, I actually prefer to watch short ovals and just 200 miles, instead of being 3 hours plus waiting for crashes, it just stupidifies my brain watching NASCAR. American people must feel an emotional link to bear with that kind of racing cause its just not appealing worldwide, except central and south americans which live the american dream in all senses, even in tastes…digressing…

      • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 28th February 2012, 3:54

        that’s offensive towards central and south americans. Mainly because you live the american dream more than we do.

        NASCAR/oval racing are impossible to watch for most of us round here too, by the way.

      • Kanil said on 28th February 2012, 6:32

        If you feel so secure in your motorsport of choice’s superiority over other motorsports, then why do you feel the need to belittle them?

        • Snow Donkey said on 28th February 2012, 14:30

          Agree with Kanil. Surely by now there have been enough top flight F1 drivers who’ve tried their hand at oval racing and declared it things like “a whole new challenge” and then done poorly at it, to sit back and say “ok, I don’t enjoy it, but maybe there’s more than meets the eye?”

          My lady does not enjoy watching F1. When we first met, she called it things like “driving in circles”. With time, she has come to see there is depth and nuance. She still is not a fan, but at least has some respect. You are entitles to your opinion, but accept that it is yours, and cannot be forced on others.

  3. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 28th February 2012, 0:06

    Is there a really good italian rookie in GP2? I doubt it. So no, they shouldn’t.

    • rpiian (@rpiian) said on 28th February 2012, 3:16

      You know I thought Mirko Bortolotti might fit the bill, but it appears he was axed from the Red Bull DD program. News to me.

      Anyway, he did well in Formula 2 last year. He’s still racing. And he’s Italian. I’d like to see him climb the ladder again!

  4. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 28th February 2012, 0:10

    Riccardo Patrese suggests Ferrari should replace Felipe Massa with a young Italian driver.

    Ferrari need to take the best drivers available to them at any given moment. As a top team, they’re pretty much obligated to – Red Bull and McLaren have very strong driver line-ups, so Ferrari need the two best drivers they can get if they want to fight for championship position. Being Italian might be nice for sentimental reasons, but it won’t make up for any shortfall in talent.

    • Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 28th February 2012, 8:11

      Agreed. The last couple of Italian Ferrari drivers – namely Capelli and Alboreto (not Badoer and Larini, who were substitutes) weren’t hired into the team because they wanted Italians, it’s because they were young and promising. Alboreto had already won a couple of surprise races for Tyrrell and Capelli had done amazing things for March/Leyton House, so I don’t know why Patrese thinks they should take a risk again, when they haven’t really taken any risks before.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 28th February 2012, 13:05

      @prisoner-monkeys Couldn’t agree more. If their driver of choice just so happens to be Italian, great, but if not it doesn’t matter.

      No driver is bigger than the Scuderia, right?

    • Exactly, having said that, Massa has been performing really badly. Strictly from a cold hard performance perspective,m hwy not axe him half way thought the year if he doesn’t improve and the points don’t look to be that vital, and try out a rookie?

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 29th February 2012, 14:54

      @Prisoner Monkeys…you took the words right out of my mouth. We the viewing audience deserve for the top teams to hire the best drivers available, not ones based on their nationality. Nothing wrong with Patrese’s sentiment that an Italian driver on the team would be good for Ferrari and Italy, but the whole world deserves to see two gladiators on a top team, not one, and the other there just because…

  5. Harvs (@harvs) said on 28th February 2012, 0:14

    Ferrari should replace Felipe with the best driver available for the seat. Don’t give the seat to an Italian because he is Italian, but if that Italian is the best driver available then go for it.

    A driver shouldn’t be in F1 yet alone a Ferrari on nationality or money, but on talent and skill (in a perfect world anyway).

    • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 28th February 2012, 4:55

      The problem with all the ongoing talk of replacing Felipe is finding the driver best available for the seat. The biggest obstacle to that I can see is that I don’t see any driver that is better for the seat than Felipe. Yes his recent problems have been well documented, discussed and analyzed, but I think he would still do a better job than a younger less experienced driver in his position. Not to mention a return of the old Felipe would really give Ferrari more punch in the WCC standings.

    • babis1980 said on 28th February 2012, 9:47

      Ferrari will not replace Felipe with the best driver available nor with a italian driver and the reason is very simple. They already have a great driver and the teams philosophy from the early 60s is to have a great driver and a good second driver. Last time I remember to have 2 great drivers is Scheckter-Villeneuve and Prost-Mansell era and even then they choose to have a clear No1 and No2 because they wanted to be sure to win the championship.

      But it would be great to decide to sign a great racer and in my opinion the best available that fits the description at the end of the season would be Mr. Excitement aka Kamui Kobayashi. Sergio is very young and could fit to the team in 2015 or 2016 maybe. But they could have a great and exciting journey with Kamui IMHO.

  6. Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta) said on 28th February 2012, 0:25

    The trick to Patrese’s proposed method of getting more Italians into F1 would be for Ferrari to pick the right Italian, otherwise the whole thing will backfire badly. It may be a year or two before the “right Italian” is ready to step up, and even then it’s not 100% clear if sending them straight into Ferrari is necessarily doing them, their compatriots or indeed Ferrari any favours. I think Ferrari would need to do something similar to what it did with Sergio Pérez – develop them in its Academy scheme before sending them off to Sauber to smooth the rough edges in relative calm. After that, it can pick up the “finished article” and give that talent a chance to shine. Done properly and with the right individual, it would work – but even then we’d be looking at 2015.

    The problem has no short-term fix unless something quite unusual happens.

  7. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 28th February 2012, 0:25

    Construction update from Austin: the pit building, as of February 20th. They’re really humming along nicely.

  8. Banburyhammer1 said on 28th February 2012, 0:26

    Concerning the COTD, I do also think that the downfall of the low downforce, high-speed, and perhaps most pointedly engine tracks may also be a small but important reason why there is a death of engine competition at the moment. Simply because there is now only one track where engine is king. Sortof. Monza. With engine development, perhaps you could count Spa as well.

    And with less tracks where the focus is the engine, therer are less races where the engine is talked about. When referring to the Red Bull, how often is mentioned about the Renaults low fuel consumption? THe superior horsepower of the Merc is barely metion in passing. The cars have become about the aero – completely. And the engine is lust another component.

    No wonder Mercedes split from McLaren – among the reasons was when the McLaren performed well, they were barely mentioned.

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 28th February 2012, 0:48

      But on the other hand, we saw Renault reverting to an engine supplier and ending manufacturer involvement. If they want better exposure, they need to be a manufacturer – and they need to pay for it. Mercedes can afford it, but Renault can’t.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 28th February 2012, 6:37

      With the FIA banning engine development and limiting them to less than 90% of their design power is it any wonder there is little interest in the engine any more. The FIA are still quietly working in the background for a single engine supplier licenced by them.

      • SempreGilles (@sempregilles) said on 28th February 2012, 9:18

        That is never going to happen. And if it does atleast a couple of teams would leave because of it. I’m pretty sure Ferrari will never be on the grid with a non Ferrari engine for example.
        That said, the current engine freeze is stupid too. This is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport, and what are we talking about: “Wow the Mercedes has 15 bhp more than the others!” or “Renault engines use x kg less fuel over a race”.
        I wish we could say “Damn that 1 liter renault turbo has just a much horsepower as the cosworth V8″ or “That electric Toyota accelerates really fast”. But that would cost too much:(.

        • The engines are due to be unfrozen in 2014 when the new engine regulations come in. Not much point unfreezing the current engines for one year before completely different ones come into play.

    • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 28th February 2012, 12:40

      I think this is another strong argument that would have been interesting to put to whoever’s idea it was to alter the Hockenheimring back in 2001/02.

      There were some relatively uninteresting races there, but it was certainly a Grand Prix everyone looked forward to. And seeing F1 cars at their limits as far as top speed made for an interesting change. Plus the track looked absolutely gorgeous. There are few things prettier than 22 F1 cars engaging in a slipstream battle down the long straights, vortices trailing the wings, the cars jiggling as they hit the ripples and bumps, and all of this happening between the trees of a beautiful German forest at well over 200mph.

      I completely agree with the COTD. I miss the variety. Monza is all we have now in the way of high-speed circuits, really.

      • Arijit (@arijitmaniac) said on 28th February 2012, 13:20

        And the worst part is that its the new tracks which fail to be good racing track… The old school tracks were so good… Just imagine the A-1 ring… Fast and flowing!!
        These tracks were of the sorts where both the car and the driver could demonstrate their calibre.
        And just look at today’s tracks… Look at singapore for example… What is that?? I mean F1 should be about racing and not about clearing an obstacle course!!

  9. BLOCKWALL2 said on 28th February 2012, 0:47

    Ferrari should replace Massa, 100%. However, they shouldn’t just throw an Italian in there, because he is Italian, they should put the best driver available in the seat. Among the best available would be, Kobayashi (probably not going to happen though), Sergio Perez, di Resta, Kubica (that would be exiting, but is unlikely), or even the young Canadian, Robert Wickens. The 2012 GP2 winner is also a possibility.

  10. Felipe Bomeny (@portugoose) said on 28th February 2012, 1:04

    Regarding Patrese’s request for Ferrari to sign an Italian rookie, I do not think that any Italian is quite good enough for Formula One… at the moment. In GP2, there’s the frankly unimpressive Fabrizio Crestani, veteran Davide Valsecchi, who’s been in the series a bit too long, and Fabio Onidi, who’s practically made a career out of Auto GP, a series which lacks the competition found in GP3 and the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. The latter of the two series contains another Italian, Daniel Zampieri, who was actually part of Ferrari’s Driver Academy until he was sacked. Another Italian FDA dropout is reigning Formula 2 champion Mirko Bortolotti, who returned to the series after a mixed season of GP3. Bortolotti was also axed by rival academy Red Bull Junior team. There’s no confirmation yet regarding Bortolotti’s plans in 2012.

    In GP3, there’s David Fumanelli, who impressed in pre-season testing. Fumanelli finished runner-up in the relatively uncompetitive European F3 Open (formerly Spanish F3) after numerous years in the series. Also in GP3 is female racer Vicky Piria, who failed to leave a strong impression in Formula Abarth.

    Italian Formula 3, which always attracts Ferrari’s attention, has a group of Italians aiming for the title, although this year’s brightest prospects aren’t even Italian- they are Romanian Robert Visoiu and Russian Sergey Sirotkin.

    However, Ferrari still has two Italians enrolled in the Academy. One is Davide Rigon, who won the Superleague Formula title twice. He raced in GP2 in 2011, but left the series following an accident which fractured his vertebrae. There’s a giant question-mark over his head; he wasn’t terribly competitive in GP2 and no one knows how fast he is now that he’s recovered from the accident- yet Ferrari still kept him as a test driver, although his role resembles that of a publicity stunt.

    But perhaps Ferrari’s brightest hope is Raffaelle Marciello. Marciello, who was born in Switzerland, carries Italian nationality. Marciello finished third in the inaugural Formula Abarth series, which was won by French FDA stable-mate Brandon Maisano. After both were promoted to Italian F3, however, it was Marciello who prevailed, beating the acclaimed Maisano (veteran Sergio Campana claimed the title). This year, he’ll be racing for Prema in the F3 Euroseries against Italian F3 rival Michael Lewis, who finished second, ahead of third-placed Marciello, in 2011. If he can win the Euroseries, he’ll follow in Bianchi’s footsteps to GP2 (or possibly the Formula Renault 3.5 series). Marciello will also race part-time in Auto GP for upstarts MLR71. If he impresses in both categories, Marciello might find himself at the wheel of a Ferrari F1 car. If not, Ferrari will have to wait for the next “big thing” from Italy.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 28th February 2012, 1:29

      this year’s brightest prospects aren’t even Italian- they are Romanian Robert Visoiu and Russian Sergey Sirotkin

      It’s strange – both drivers are doing parallel campaigns. Sirotkin is racing in Italian F3 and Auto GP with Euronova, while Visiou is racing in Italian F3 with Team Ghinzani and GP3 with Jenzer Motorsport. Both Auto GP and GP3 clash with the Italian F3 season, so I wonder which series each will drive in on the affected dates?

    • Girts (@girts) said on 28th February 2012, 6:59

      @Portugoose A great summary and a good reply to Patrese.

  11. Felipe Bomeny (@portugoose) said on 28th February 2012, 1:07

    There’s also Kevin Ceccon- he displayed speed in certain Auto GP outings (although I believe Sergey Afanasyev was quicker than Ceccon) and the GP2 final- but I was surprised that Enzo Coloni picked Fabio Onidi over him. Therefore, there’s uncertainty over his race plans in 2012, but I believe that with some more experience, Ceccon could mature into a star.

  12. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 28th February 2012, 2:36

    Ferrari are going to use Friday of the Australian GP to continue testing? I know all teams do some kind of development work on Fridays, but Alonso makes it sound like it’s spill over for what they know they can’t get done in the limited testing they have left. Tbh the entire article sounds like Alonso is preparing to be sitting in yet again the third best car, at least for the early races.

    • Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 28th February 2012, 8:18

      I think he’s referring to every Friday practice session to continue development – pretty much every team will be doing that.

      There isn’t a whole lot of positiveness coming out of Ferrari which worries me. I really hope it’s all a ruse, but perhaps I’m being stupidly optimistic.

  13. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 28th February 2012, 2:42

    First I agree that Massa needs to be replaced but there are many great drivers on the grid other then developing any Italian drivers. & Riccardo Patrese is an Italian & Ferrari will never allow any young driver ‘likes of Hamilton” (how in got his seat in the Mclaren) to get in the team.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 28th February 2012, 13:08

      @wasiF1 I’m not sure about Massa. Yes, he didn’t perform last year, but he serves Ferrari well. He does what they tell him.

      You could argue that Ferrari aren’t bothered about the Constructors Championship and go just for the glory of the drivers championship, getting Massa to serve a purpose for Alonso.

      I don’t know the exact figures of course but Ferrari get a better pay out from FOM than any other team, irrespective of finishing position at the end of the season so as a result you could argue that they’re not bothered about the Constructors as they get more money than anyone else anyway!

  14. Eastman (@eastman) said on 28th February 2012, 3:01

    Speaking of Daytona, our old friend Montoya has just struck a safety vehicle that was blowing debris off the track. Both the car and the safety truck burst into flames, but no one appears injured.

  15. UKFan (@) said on 28th February 2012, 3:11

    Great daily comment! the F1 circus definately needs more diverse tracks, that has been one of many causes that led to total domination

    • dennis (@dennis) said on 28th February 2012, 7:47

      Exactly. Brilliant COTD.
      I still don’t understand why the old Hockenheim track was completely axed to build yet another Tilke track.
      I don’t think F1 needs ovals, but yes, a few tracks with a high-speed layout, a few like medium downforce tracks and some high-downforce venues like the Hungaroring and naturally Monaco.

      Maybe split to 1/3 each. Different concepts would emerge, with some cars being build towards speed, others for high downforce…

      We don’t need 20 races a season with the same track driven on 15 times.

      • Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 28th February 2012, 8:14

        I think the Hockenheim change was for the better. We get more passing now and the drivers prefer it.

        But yes, there does need to be much more variety. Some tracks with laps under a minute, some nearer two and a half minutes, some faster, some slower.

        • Jarv027 said on 28th February 2012, 9:08

          There was far more overtaking on the old Hockenheim with high speed slipstreaming. The last race at the new Hockenheim was boring. Ferrari wouldn’t have needed to tell Massa to let Alonso past on the old circuit.

        • dennis (@dennis) said on 28th February 2012, 10:24

          @dan-thorn

          The drivers prefer it? I’ve heard them saying they like the track, but no saying they prefer it over the old layout.

          The last race on the old layout was in 2001, and after Burti shot MSC off the track Ralf Schumacher made minced meat out of everyone else. Hardly a sign of how interesting the track is/was.

          • Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 28th February 2012, 10:41

            I’ve heard a few saying the old track was boring just driving in a straight line for miles surrounded by trees with no fans. The driver can’t really make up any time there and any engine disparity got exaggerated and spread the field out quickly…

        • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 28th February 2012, 12:49

          @Dan-Thorn I agree with Keith below. The first race at the revised Hockenheim saw an amazing battle between Kimi and Juan Pablo, but I can’t really remember much else happening there. The 2010 race was terribly dreary.

          But the new track has no character at all. It’s been made into another modern circuit with no history behind it and there’s certainly nothing notable about its current layout. The old track was so full of character and charm that it didn’t really need to host exciting races all of the time. It was still a fantastic race to look forward to.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 28th February 2012, 11:35

        We shouldn’t just think in terms of individual circuits being ‘good’ or ‘bad’, we should think about the composition of the entire calendar.

        Whether you like the new Hockenheimring or not, the changes to it made it more like every other track on the calendar, whereas before it was almost unique. The only comparable track we have left is Monza.

        When people talk about “improving the show” they too often overlook points like how similar all the new tracks are. Designers, drivers and cars alike need to be challenged with different configurations of circuits. This is something IndyCar does very well – arguably better than F1.

        Here’s some quotes from drivers who liked and disliked the changed Hockenheim and which ones didn’t when it was first used in 2002. Although I wonder if some of those praising it weren’t just toeing the PR line at the time:

        Changing tracks: Hockenheimring

        • I strongly agree, it’s great for the racing as well, every year we see the order mixed up in Monza, with varying tracks it mixes up the field and that is infinitely good for the people watching.

        • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 28th February 2012, 20:04

          I think that also contributes to the lack of racing we have and the dull championships of nowadays.

          If the tracks were different one from another, there’d be a great variety of conditions, and different cars would be suitable for those. And the designers would’ve a harder time trying to adapt the cars to those conditions.

          But no, they’ve become so obsessed with the lack of overtaking that every track looks the same and worse of all, it has not improved overtaking a single bit.

          The quality of racing goes beyond overtaking, too. Going round a harpin quickly isn’t that exciting nor it shows a driver’s talent.

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