Why Ferrari would do better with “two roosters”

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Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Hockenheim, 2012Ferrari ended speculation over their 2013 driver line-up one week ago when they announced Felipe Massa would keep his seat for another season.

The team’s president Luca di Montezemolo indicated the move was coming 24 hours earlier when he scotched rumours Sebastian Vettel would join Fernando Alonso at the team, saying: “I don?t want to have two roosters in the same hen house”.

Ferrari’s resistance to having two ‘number one’ drivers in the same team is not new. It’s a contentious talking point, and the arguments for and against their position are well-worn.

But recent changes in the sport should lead Ferrari to consider whether the policy is still in their best interests.

Finding a hen that will fly

Ferrari’s driver hiring policy would work perfectly if they could sign the two best drivers in F1 and one was always content to finish behind the other.

But racing drivers are competitive beasts – and the best of them do not want to spend year after year being ordered to finish second behind their team mates.

The best Ferrari can realistically expect from a number two is someone who is reasonably competitive, unlikely to end up in front of their lead driver, and prepared to pull over on the rare occasions that they do.

Go back ten years and this was the situation Ferrari had with Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. The F2002 was the class of the field, Schumacher racked up the wins and Barrichello played the dutiful number two.

Ferrari no longer have a car advantage that allows them to win races by half a minute or more. But nor does any other team and, with the technical regulations becoming ever tighter, nor are they likely to.

This has made it more important for Ferrari to maximise the points haul they get with both their cars. And changes to the points system have made that even more crucial.

Why two numbers ones is horse sense

Ten years ago points were only awarded to the top six finishers and were heavily weighted in favour of the winning driver.

That began to change when a new points system appeared in 2003. With the latest points system, introduced in 2010, the pendulum swung even further towards spreading points out more evenly between finishers.

This table shows what proportion of the total points available each weekend were awarded to the top ten finishing positions in 2002 and 2012:

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
2002 38.46% (10) 23.08% (6) 15.38% (4) 11.54% (3) 7.69% (2) 3.85% (1) 0% (0) 0% (0) 0% (0) 0% (0)
2012 24.75% (25) 17.82% (18) 14.85% (15) 11.88% (12) 9.9% (10) 7.92% (8) 5.94% (6) 3.96% (4) 1.98% (2) 0.99% (1)

The value of finishing in the top three has been reduced compared to finishing elsewhere in the top ten. Ten years ago a one-two finish gave a team 62.4% of the available points, 35.6% more than anyone else could score in the same race. Today a one two is worth 42.5% of the available points and just 15.9% more than the next-best team can score.

For Ferrari, as with any team, their chance of scoring a one-two finish is higher if they have the best two drivers available. If they don’t, and another team’s drivers beat Ferrari’s number two, then a one-four finish is worth little more than a two-three (37 points versus 33).

This shows how an under-performing number two driver will hurt a team like Ferrari much more now than it did ten years ago. When we look at Massa’s performance over the last three seasons, it’s clear that’s exactly what’s happening.

Snail’s pace

The top four teams in F1 at the moment have had the same driver line-ups for the last three years. Out of those, Ferrari’s second driver has performed the least well compared to his team mate:

2010 2011 2012*
Felipe Massa’s points as a % of Fernando Alonso’s 57.1% 45.9% 38.7%
Mark Webber’s points as a % of Sebastian Vettel’s 94.5% 65.8% 70.7%
Jenson Button’s points as a % of Lewis Hamilton’s 89.1% 118.9% 85.6%
Michael Schumacher’s points as a % of Nico Rosberg’s 50.7% 85.3% 46.2%

*Up to and including the Korean Grand Prix

Ferrari have re-signed Massa for another year despite his contribution to the team’s points tally being in steady decline over the past three seasons.

There are several reasons why this is the case, but a key one is that Massa has been more slow compared to Alonso than other drivers compared to their team mates.

The same lap time data gathered for the car performance analysis published here yesterday was used to work out how far each driver has been from the quickest lap time at each race weekend, and the gaps between them and their team mates:

Average gap to best lap time Average gap to team mate
Felipe Massa 1.31% 0.56%
Jenson Button 0.67% 0.31%
Mark Webber 0.77% 0.20%
Nico Rosberg 1.05% 0.09%

The three charts above spell out why Ferrari’s driver hiring policy is increasingly holding them back: it forces them to hire a driver who is slower relative to his team mate than their rivals have, who then fails to score as high a percentage of the available points as he should.

Ten years ago this might not have affected them so badly. But points are shared much more evenly between the teams now. What more, the performance difference between the top teams has shrunk, making it even more important for teams to get the most out of their cars by hiring the best available drivers.

The elephant in the room

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Korea International Circuit, 2012The assumption behind this is that Ferrari are equally interested in championship success as the other teams are. Which is to say, all the teams want to win the constructors’ championship and want one of their drivers to win the drivers’ championship.

However everything about Ferrari’s approach indicates they prize the drivers’ championship far above the constructors’ championship.

This is not entirely surprising. Mention the ‘F1 championship’ to an average fan and it will be taken for granted this means the drivers’ title, not the teams’.

In Ferrari’s case, this view may be a product of history: they are the only active team whose have been continuously involved in Formula One since before the constructors’ championship was created in 1958.

But perhaps there is a more mundane reason why the constructors’ championship simply doesn’t matter to Ferrari. For their rivals, constructors’ championship success alone determines how big a slice of F1’s vast prize fund they receive.

That is a less pressing concern for Ferrari because they automatically receive a special payment from the prize fund. This can be worth more than the different between two places in the constructors’ championship, as was the case last year.

But as we’ve seen, things change in Formula One. The distribution of F1’s prize money is likely a key point in the ongoing debate over the new Concorde Agreement which governs the sport.

Perhaps this is the final thing that needs to change before the Prancing Horse gets itself a pair of roosters.

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100 comments on Why Ferrari would do better with “two roosters”

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  1. BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd October 2012, 10:18

    Thanks for again putting some analyses behind the debate @keithcollantine, nice article. I do hope Ferrari reconsider and do get Vettel and Alonso for 2014!

    • ka (@ka12) said on 23rd October 2012, 10:25

      Okay then, if Ferrari can treat them equally.

    • Jayfreese (@) said on 23rd October 2012, 12:22

      why Ferrari would do better with “two roosters”? LOL, Just how could Ferrari would do worst?

      • infy (@infy) said on 23rd October 2012, 12:45

        They would take points off of eachother and end up like Mclaren this year…

        • SparkyJ23 (@sparkyj23) said on 23rd October 2012, 12:56

          Your assumption is so flawed you can’t have read the article. ow would having a driver better than Massa hurt Ferrari? Can you show where having faster 2nd drivers than Massa has hurt Mclaren or Red Bull, or is getting more points not the aim of the game?

          The 2nd Rooster doesn’t have to be faster than Alonso just better than a pretty poor Massa.

          • infy (@infy) said on 23rd October 2012, 13:06

            Having Alonso win the WDC is the goal. The WCC can be ignored because this is Ferrari we’re talking about.

            And I did read the article, but the article is not fact, it is the writers opinion ONLY.

            Drivers have tracks they are good on and tracks they are not good on. The faster driver is the one who is better on the most tracks. So when you have two quick drivers, they will take points off of each other when at their respective good and bad tracks.

            That is not ideal when looking at the bigger picture.

          • Traverse Mark Senior said on 23rd October 2012, 16:16

            @sparkyj23

            How would having a driver better than Massa hurt Ferrari?

            Does the 2007 Alonso Vs Hamilton saga not ring a bell?

          • Metallion (@metallion) said on 23rd October 2012, 16:19

            @infy Yes but, you’re forgetting that having two quick drivers also mean they take points away from rivals. If Massa could have finished higher up during the season, he could have prevented competitors from gaining as much on Alonso or he could have helped Alonso to further increase his lead. Too many times has Massa been outside of the points to be of any help at all to his team mate.

            On a side not I think it’s absolutely ridiculous to ignore the WCC. This is F1, a series where constructors from the beginning have built their cars to show their abilities to build the fastest car of the field. The driver really, is only a tool to showcase the speed of the car.

        • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 23rd October 2012, 13:26

          But this year it seems that only in the first few races did the McLaren drivers compete with one another for good points @infy (partly due to team mistakes), after that JB and then the car slumped, and when it got competitive they didn’t finish in the same races, making it even more vital each finishes as high as possible when they do finish!

          • AlexT (@alext) said on 23rd October 2012, 18:50

            Ferrari do think most for the WDC. They create driver legends within the team in order to be what they are: SCUDERIA Ferrari!!!

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 24th October 2012, 1:46

            The legends to me are the ones who won their WDC(s) without the help of a non competitor on the track, and all the resulting benefits that spilled out from that, particularly done to the extreme in the MS/Ferrari way. The one driver who, when they dominated, had the car to do anything about MS, but instead we got processional non-racing, with the result fixed between the two Ferrari drivers, and as paying fans we were robbed of thrilling racing, in what is supposed to be the pinnacle of racing globally.

    • I would love to see Vettel move to Ferrari, get outclassed by Alonso and then see someone like Kobayashi who has taken his seat at Red Bull win the championship :P.

      Ok maybe thats too much of a dream, but I do believe the only way to bring him down to earth would be to see somebody giving him a thorough wupping in his former seat. I don’t believe he realises how good Redbull have been these last 3-4 years.. Unrivaled for much of it.

  2. Thomas (@infi24r) said on 23rd October 2012, 10:19

    What people seem to be missing is the fact that Vettel could go to Ferrari and be substantially worse than Alonso. We’ve never seen Vettel go against a world class team mate and at times he has struggled to keep Webber behind him. Theres no real evidence to suggest that Vettel wouldn’t be a good number 2 at Ferrari.

    When Massa had the best car he could drive pretty comfortably of into the distance too. It was only Ferrari’s errors and mechanical failures that cost him the 2008 title.

    • Girts (@girts) said on 23rd October 2012, 10:26

      It was only Ferrari’s errors and mechanical failures that cost him the 2008 title.

      I think Massa had a great 2008 season and it’s a pity he didn’t win the title that year (on the other hand, Hamilton didn’t deserve it less). But he made mistakes himself as well, see here:

      http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2008/11/21/2008-f1-driver-rankings-part-3/

    • Mads (@mads) said on 23rd October 2012, 10:30

      @infi24r
      But do we have any evidence that it might not go the other way?
      Vettel could just as well prove to be a lot better… We don’t know until they try.

      Theres no real evidence to suggest that Vettel wouldn’t be a good number 2 at Ferrari.

      I think, if you look at the Vettel vs Webber situation in 2010, then I think that it is quite clear that Vettel would NOT let him self be that.
      In any case, why would a double world champion be ready to play rear gunner for who is ‘just’ another double world champion?
      And if Vettel is worse then Alonso, then that would only hinder his chances of future success. It would be a lot better to be in another team and hope that they can deliver the car for him that he can win another title in, with a team mate, who he can handle.
      From Vettel’s perspective, I just can’t see why on earth he would do that. He has a long time ahead of him in the sport, if he want that Ferrari seat then he can just wait it out until Alonso is gone and then he can make Ferrari his own. It would only make it worse for him later if he agreed to be Alonso’s dog this early in his career.

      • ka (@ka12) said on 23rd October 2012, 10:42

        well said, exactly what I am thinking.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd October 2012, 15:19

        From Vettel’s perspective, I just can’t see why on earth he would do that.

        – Why does Hamilton go to a team that is worse than his current, why did Button want to go up against Hamilton?
        Its a natural thing that a driver looks for new challenges when they are good at something for a longer while.

        • Mads (@mads) said on 23rd October 2012, 19:29

          @bascb
          That is not what I am saying. Yes he might go to Ferrari, even with Alonso still there, but for the love of god not to be Alonso’s rear gunner.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 24th October 2012, 6:44

            Ah, right @mads, i failed to get that from your post. Yeah, surely if Vettel goes to Ferrari he will do so with the intention of making it his team and beating Alonso.

        • M Dickens (@sgt-pepper) said on 18th January 2013, 18:01

          (@bascb) (@infi24r) You’re right about Hamilton and Button challenging themselves, but Vettel doesn’t strike me as the type to want to challenge himself, his ego just doesn’t seem up to the task.

          This is just a personal observation, but he seems like the type to want to keep sitting in a Newey car beleiving himself as the best on the grid, because deep down he’s aware the throttling he would get in an equal car by Alonso would be too much for him to handle. That’s just my opinion though.

      • Traverse Mark Senior said on 23rd October 2012, 19:48

        why would a double world champion be ready to play rear gunner for who is ‘just’ another double world champion?

        You’re spot on @mads , and when you consider that Vettel will probably win this years WDC, it would be inconceivable that a (soon to be) 3 time consecutive world champion would yield to anyone, let alone Alonso.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 23rd October 2012, 10:46

      @infi24r I must disagree with your notion that Vettel has “struggled” with a non”world class” Webber. I doubt there’s much evidence that Mark Webber is a much worse driver than Button, yet Vettel has been more convincing over him than top driver Hamilton has been over Button, as evidenced by the 60 point gap this year, 130 point gap in 2011, and beating of MW even with the majority of bad luck in 2010 (where the bottom line is, he delivered the title, whereas Massa couldn’t quite). Felipe also didn’t win it in 2007, when Kimi did.

      Vettel has proven himself a rooster, and there is no way he would be a number 2.

    • Personally I doubt Vettel would play second fiddle to Alonso; he’d leave before that happened. Anyway, he clearly has speed, he is perhaps not as quick as Alonso but he is still one of the top 3 drivers on the F1 grid.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 24th October 2012, 2:01

        I agree that without question SV will never play 2nd fiddle to anyone for the rest of his F1 career. He’s way past that.

        But I think of it differently than has been mentioned above. It’s not a question of if he would go to Ferrari and be 2nd fiddle to FA. SV may end up with one more WDC than FA this year. So why would it necessarily be FA’s team? Might as well ask would FA play second fiddle to someone with one more WDC than he. But really my point is that the culture at Ferrari would have to revert back to how they have done it in the past (at least pre-MS and maybe you could argue for 07 and 08) to an honest and genuine effort to support both drivers equally.

        I think the audience deserves to see SV and FA at Ferrari, but it would only ever happen if Ferrari could convince SV that they have totally changed their ways. Given LdM’s words of late, the opposite in fact has just occured and they have told SV and the world that they aren’t looking for another rooster and that there is no reason for a teammate of FA’s to think otherwise than he is there not to compete.

        There’s nothing more I would love to see than Ferrari turning their philosophy 180 degrees around, and that’s what it will take, convincingly, for SV to even start to think of Ferrari when another WDC is already there.

        It is exactly the same phenomenon that happened at MS/Ferrari. Any drivers at the time (JV, MH, KR etc) who were asked if they would join Ferrari and go head to head with MS said yes they would love to…they just couldn’t trust that they would be treated equally.

  3. Girts (@girts) said on 23rd October 2012, 10:21

    I think it’s noteworthy that two ‘roosters’ could increase Ferrari’s chances to win a drivers’ title as well, something that they haven’t managed to do since 2007. Yes, two great drivers take points off each other but they also ‘cover’ each other. When one of them under-performs, there is always the other. Alonso might be the most complete driver on the grid at the moment but he has weaknesses and occasionally makes mistakes as well and there is no guarantee that he will be as perfect as now in 2013, 2014, 2015 and so on. I think Ferrari understand that, which is probably why neither Luca di Montezemolo, nor the Horse Whisperer have closed the door to Vettel by clearly stating that he would be unwelcome at Ferrari. Instead, they have chosen a more careful and ambiguous wording.

    • Jeanrien (@jeanrien) said on 23rd October 2012, 13:36

      I was thinking the same, 2 good drivers actually help each other (except if they finish 1-2 regularly but that’s an exception). We see with the actual point system that the n°1 driver would not lose much points if his team mate is ahead (except once again in a 1-2 situation) but would take a lot of points out of other drivers, and it would be even more interesting in the team point of view.

      Keeping Massa definitly a strange choice, hasn’t finish ahead of rival’s car enough times this year to justify to keep him. Wouldn’t be such a big risk to take anyone else in that car, some gambles could be well worth. The best example is probably McLaren which took sometime drivers quite inexperienced (for F1 standard) and that works pretty well : Raikonen and Hamilton would just be 2 recent ones

    • drmouse (@drmouse) said on 23rd October 2012, 18:10

      I wonder this, too. We rarely see two team-mates on an equal footing, racing wheel to wheel for large chunks of the race. However, I have also considered another possible advantage: DRS.

      Let’s say you have 2 drivers on the team who are evenly matched, performing equally on the track. They get 1-2 in qually, and are within a second after the first couple of laps. What would stop them playing DRS Yo-Yo? It would give both of them a performance advantage over the rest of the field and/or save fuel. I am actually surprised we haven’t seen it, yet.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 24th October 2012, 2:10

        We haven’t seen it therefore it must not be viable, or practical for the teams to do this. If it somehow gained them an advantage I think we would have seen it by now. Are you suggesting that a lap in which you DRS someone is a faster lap, or one that consists of better fuel economy? I’m thinking that’s not proven. And what about the disadvantage a rearward car has in dirty air when within a second of the car ahead. The rearward car would have to linger in that zone to be able to deploy his DRS to begin with which would impair the lap time wouldn’t it? At least, I can’t recall any announcers saying…”and of course so and so just got fastest lap because he DRS’d so and so.”

        • drmouse (@drmouse) said on 25th October 2012, 14:17

          I just took a logical step. DRS reduces drag, therefore could be used to save fuel. Also, if DRS helps overtake, it can improve lap time.

          Of course there are disadvantages to being behind another car to be considered. But the main disadvantage comes from the fact that the car in front is defending their position and the car behind is trying to find a way past, which will negatively affect the lap times of both. If this is not happening, it could be used.

          Personally I think the reason it hasn’t been done is that there hasn’t been sufficient opportunity, plus it would need practicing (it would be like flying in formation). I still think that, if done well, it would work.

  4. Mads (@mads) said on 23rd October 2012, 10:23

    I don’t think they need another “rooster”. I think that it would harm Alonso’s performance, and equally so the new contender.
    Massa is a bad example of a nr 2 driver, because he is not only slower then Alonso, but his confidence also seems to have been scraping the ground for a couple of years, which I think is why he has been ‘that’ slow, and very inconsistent.
    They don’t need a driver who is light-years behind Alonso, just someone who is consistently a a tenth or two off, and more importantly someone who doesn’t have the “rooster” attitude.
    Vettel is very displeased with getting beaten, and so is Alonso. Neither of them will let the other win, and both would probably rather see none of them winning then the other.
    If you par those two together, then I am sure it wouldn’t take long before we would see another McLaren in 2007 type of complete meltdown.
    I have for a long time thought that Rosberg would be the perfect choice. He is reasonably fast, but not enough to challenge Alonso, he is very consistent and is quite good at extracting performance from the car even if the car isn’t handling perfectly.
    But he doesn’t feel like that super competitive, win at all costs, type of guy.
    They don’t need to nail him to the floor as a nr 2. Just let Alonso beat him on merit, and if its really necessary they can order him to move over, and I think that he is the sort of guy who would understand and accept that. I think that is what Ferrari needs.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 24th October 2012, 2:26

      The problem with what you are saying, and the problem Ferrari has here is finding that driver who is theoretically just a shade slower than FA and is compliant (a non-rooster).

      You say FM lacks confidence. If that is so, don’t you think it might be because he doesn’t think of himself as anything but a rooster, since he nearly won a WDC, and is having to accept something that in his heart of hearts he knows is unacceptable. He knows he didn’t grow up dreaming of some day helping someone else win the WDC. Go back to his comments of disgust after Hockenheim 2010 when he says he is ‘no Reubens’. Yet of course this is the hand he has been dealt as things have evolved at Ferrari for him, and it should have been of no surprise as they didn’t hire FA so that he (FM) could win the WDC. FM was around to see the MS/Ferrari era of course, and was even involved in it.

      So that’s LdM’s problem. Find a driver who will sell out his dreams and still be just a shade below FA in what is likely a car built with FA’s likes in mind.

      I think it is far easier and far more honourable to themselves and the viewing audience to give us two gladiators and let them duke it out on the track.

      And NR, I think you are wrong on him…I think he has already gone very well against a 7-time WDC over 3 seasons…I’m not so sure at this point NR will ever accept the designated number 2 role, other than in the way we all understand is fair…when the season winds down and the math just might dictate that he shouldn’t take points off his WDC potential teammate whenever possible. That might happen and I suspect NR will only be honourable in that situation and would expect the same treatment in return. For now, I think NR is probably feeling rather rooster like these days. Next year is going to be a blast to see at Merc. NR has another great chance to show himself and probably elevate himself going head to head against another WDC.

  5. Kimi Räikkönen said on 23rd October 2012, 10:23

    I reckon they should have two great drivers and alternate number one status. As in, ok this year the team will be geared towards securing the title for Alonso while next year the other driver would be favoured. This way each driver has a fair chance to win the title. If they don’t then they at least have one less excuse! :D

    • KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 23rd October 2012, 10:37

      It’s a great idea in principle, but there’s only one time in recent memory that Ferrari have looked like they might have done that, with 07-08 Raikkonen/Massa, and if you watch the season closely, it’s more that Massa excelled and Raikkonen faltered at crucial stages in the championship rather than the team suddenly throwing their focus onto the no2 car

      • Kimi Räikkönen said on 23rd October 2012, 10:43

        Oh yes, I agree, I expected Kimi to do very well that year but unfortunately not :( But if they said before the season that this is whoevers year then, I reckon they’d be extremely motivated because this is their chance!

    • drmouse (@drmouse) said on 23rd October 2012, 18:15

      As in, ok this year the team will be geared towards securing the title for Alonso while next year the other driver would be favoured.

      I don’t think this would be workable. I don’t believe any of the top drivers would be happy playing 2nd fiddle when they are competetive, even knowing they’d get that treatment next year.

      The only way I could see it working is to set a point, say half way through the season, and say whoever’s leading at that point get’s the special treatment. The other driver wouldn’t be happy about it, but would probably accept it because they were beaten up to that point.

  6. astonished (@astonished) said on 23rd October 2012, 10:39

    You will never know if Montezemolo says what he thinks…
    If he indeed believes in the theory of “two roosters is bad business” he might say so, but if he does think the contrary he will say the same to be in a better bargaining situation with the second rooster, assuming that most of them (roosters and would-be-roosters) want to drive Ferrari t a given point in their careers. Conclusion: we know he says but we don’t know if he minds it.
    I also think that, if a pre-agreement has been signed or reached at any level for 2014, Vettel will be the most interested person in Ferrari sticking publicly to the #1#2 policy to ensure a peaceful 2013 at RBR, so interests are aligned for both parties.
    Having said so, the ultimate question remains…. is it good or bad to have two roosters?
    This I think, is more a question of how capable and skilled the management is. Racers are, as Keith points out, competitive beasts, as much as any other top sport person. Some play individual but some others play team sports and the balance in the team is to be maintained by the coach, other technical staff or in larger teams by “cohesive” personalities.
    Mathematically, there is no doubt, two #1s do better. Independently of the points allocation method, if they always end up 1-2 they will win both championships (plus the drivers sub-championship for whatever it is worth).
    The reality might be somehow different as Lewis/Fernando proved at McLaren.
    Thuis, the decision has to be based on a risk analysis that every team has to perform considering many factors. The main one might be the drivers but is not the only one. And the addition of other factors might be weighted higher…
    Managing companies for many years, this is what I would do, but since I don’t know how this particular business is run and indeed that I don’t know the strengths and weaknesses of Ferrari I can not say what option is better for them.
    Perhaps somebody else can, but I doubt that anyone outside of a small group in Maranello can really know well enough.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 24th October 2012, 2:41

      I think you are right that a lot might depend on the overall management of the team, the management of each side of the garage, and the attitudes of the drivers.

      You could have an overall effort to have two gladiators combat in a dog eat dog manner, each side of the garage trying to outdo each other, each driver disliking the other, certain data not being shared etc etc.

      Or there could be a spirit among everyone that they are all there to progress the team in a co-operative way.

      Or any manner of atmosphere on the team in between those two scenarios.

      Both ways can end up with the team progressing to the ultimate goal. And they both still carry the problem of dealing with the drivers when the math dictates one mustn’t rob points form the other if that is what is prudent as the season winds down. The hardest thing being if their points are very close and someone else can come up and split between them as perhaps a lone wolf on another team. It’s hard, but I think it is what the viewing audience deserves, and I think that if all the teams are using their best drivers available in a fair and equal manner, then there shouldn’t be a lone wolf coming up to split a couple of drivers that are thrilling us with a season long rivalry. We should end up with seasons coming down to 4 or 6 potential WDC winners near the end.

  7. thejudge13 (@thejudge13) said on 23rd October 2012, 10:49

    Great piece of analysis Keith.

    But as we’ve seen, things change in Formula One. The distribution of F1′s prize money is likely a key point in the ongoing debate over the new Concorde Agreement which governs the sport.

    I wholeheartedly agree with the conclusion, “Perhaps this is the final thing that needs to change before the Prancing Horse gets itself a pair of roosters.”

    But as long as Mr. E is CEO of the commercial rights holders, I can’t see a number of things changing like the Ferrari special payment – and this Concorde rather depressingly is for 8 more years.

  8. MW (@) said on 23rd October 2012, 11:05

    I respect Ferrari’s purist pursuit of of the WDC. Team’s like RBR and McLaren are too interseted in providing “The Show” for it’s fans. This is too contrived for my liking.
    There’s an aggression and a commitment in Ferrari to spearhead their efforts through 1 driver to win the more important championship.
    I like that.

    • I like that too.

      As long as the number 2 driver’s competitive, happ and their careers not ruined, then it’s the ideal way to win the most important championship.

      I just hope that if somehow Massa is dominating Alonso 3/4 through the season next year and the only one with a chance of winning the WDC then Alonso would do all he can to help Massa.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 24th October 2012, 2:50

        Lol, ya why would teams want to actually show us racing in the pinnacle of racing…it’s much less contrived when only one driver at Ferrari is there for the spoils. It’s much less contrived when we know that FM is not there to compete. In the pinnacle of racing. It’s much better to know that the winner at Ferrari has been predetermined in the boardroom before the season begins. That’s much less contrived.

        So as long as FM misses the board meeting, maybe he can dominate FA next year. And maybe Bernie Ecclestone will be FA’s teammate for 2014.

  9. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 23rd October 2012, 11:11

    I just know Felipe has it in him to be one of two roosters (the Raikkonen days) so I think it’s Ferrari’s attitude rather than their current driver choice that needs to change.

    But it’s a bit late now and I think the damage is done to Massa’s confidence.

  10. sumedh said on 23rd October 2012, 11:18

    As Keith mentioned, Ferrari are less concerned about the Constructors as it is not as much a monetary benefit to them as it is to the other teams.

    I think what Massa has demonstrated after the summer break (5th in Spa, 4th in Monza, 2nd in Japan, last to 8th in Singapore, 4th in Korea) is exactly the second driver that Ferrari is looking for. And if Red Bull hadn’t taken such a brilliant step forward in terms of race-pace, we would have looked back at these five races and said, “Ferrari’s one rooster policy works. Alonso is consistently scoring points and Massa is always backing him up taking points off rivals even when Alonso is retiring from the race”.

    • mantresx said on 23rd October 2012, 17:03

      That’s what I don’t like about this team, they don’t seem to care about the WCC even though they have all the Tifosis around the world which are NOT fans of their drivers but the team itself, by the way I think the Constructor’s battle is just as interesting as the drivers’ but maybe that’s because I’m an engineer hehe.

  11. maybet said on 23rd October 2012, 11:21

    didnt schumacher said in an interview that the reason for 2008 incidents was due to the car development heading towards massa as kimi didn’t get himself involve at all??

    Fernando would definately take over 100% of the car development and make sure it wont be affecting his driving.

  12. andae23 (@andae23) said on 23rd October 2012, 11:30

    There is something wrong with the way Ferrari approach Formula 1. Being very naive and idealistic here: Formula 1, or any other form of motorsport for that matter, is about a set of drivers that battle throughout the season to figure out which one of them is the best (or alternatively: which driver-team combination is the best). I feel like this spirit has been burried long ago, but Ferrari are now digging it up and murdering it all over again.

    Ferrari, by hiring a good and a mediocre driver, are letting the fans down tremendously. Their working method reminds me of how corporations work: it does not matter how, but we are going to get the title. Formula 1 is much more than that.

    I also think that you cannot put the blame on Ferrari entirely: the cash flow in Formula 1 nowadays is astonishing. So of course teams do things that at first glance don’t seem to be in spirit of the sport, as their prior attention is to make money. This is just sad.

    • MW (@) said on 23rd October 2012, 11:40

      I think it’d be very boring if all teams had the same approach to the championship.
      Make no mistake about it, it is every teams primary intention is to make money.
      The sport wouldn’t exist if stakeholders didn’t make money.
      Ferrari’s approach is, in my view, at least interesting and less contrived than the rest.

      • andae23 (@andae23) said on 23rd October 2012, 11:52

        Make no mistake about it, it is every teams primary intention is to make money.
        The sport wouldn’t exist if stakeholders didn’t make money.

        Well, then isn’t that what’s wrong with the sport today? If the sport would shrink, so the amount of fans is 10 times less, the money teams make is 10 times less etc, wouldn’t the championship be much more fun to watch? By the way, I’m not saying Ferrari is the only team.

        • MW (@) said on 23rd October 2012, 12:06

          @andae23 ya you’re right, it’s called GP2 or Reno 3.5 :)
          But people want to watch the best drivers driving the best technology using the best possible TV coverage.. Tou need big investment for that and that’s what we have now with F1.
          The rules imposed by the FIA should ensure that the sport remains watchable and is not ruined by it’s financial drive.

          Therefore I think Ferrari are right to back one driver for the WDC. And it’s good to watch too.

          • andae23 (@andae23) said on 23rd October 2012, 12:17

            I would love to watch F1 with worse TV coverage and a less sophisticated car, if that would mean we get to see the best drivers compete for victory. I also think we have a unsolvable disagreement here :)

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 24th October 2012, 3:00

            @andae23…I’m with you 1000%.

            The sport would not exist with the fans, who are the ones paying to be at races and the one’s who must be buying the sponsor’s products, because if they weren’t the sponsor would have learned long ago that being in racing doesn’t pay, and they wouldn’t.

            MW has it completely backwards, and Ferrari are by far the most contrived team when they rob the paying fans of true racing in the pinnacle of racing. There’s is a formula all right. And it can gleen them numbers. But it isn’t honourable imho. And it isn’t sporting. And it isn’t the point of why we watch. A far far better show is one that has all 24 drivers out their performing their best. Not some of them out there to not compete against certain other drivers. That is glorified race fixing under the guise of ‘team play.’

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 24th October 2012, 3:02

            Of course that should read…’The sport would not exist without…’

            And…’Their’s is a formula…’

            Must be getting tired.

  13. Bob (@bobthevulcan) said on 23rd October 2012, 11:36

    Perhaps a comparison to Red Bull would be in order? It’s quite evident that Red Bull do favor one driver over another (Vettel over Webber), albeit to a lesser extent than Ferrari.

    The difference is that RBR have their drivers on a more equal footing, that is, they still allow Webber to race for results. At the beginning of this year’s F1 season, for instance, did Red Bull back one driver at the clear expense of another? No, they simply supported whichever driver happened to be ahead on pace. The statistics are telling – Webber has been able to bring in his fair share of points when compared to the team’s de facto lead driver.

    Whereas Ferrari have tended to sacrifice one driver for their de jure leader. It’s clear that they’ve thrown the majority of their resources behind Alonso as their sole championship contendor, and to a certain degree, have used Massa as a sort of test driver. Massa apparently trials Alonso’s car setups in FP, and was recently the “guinea pig” for Ferrari’s new exhaust system. Twice this year (Monza and Yeongam), they’ve explicitly slowed down Massa for the benefit of Alonso. Again, the statistics reflect this – Massa has pulled in a meagre amount of points.

    Why has Ferrari faltered in their lead driver/second driver system when compared to RBR? Perhaps it’s Massa’s relative lack of pace. I don’t really think so, considering Massa was winning races before Alonso joined the team, and was in contention for wins and podiums even after his injury.

    More likely, in my opinion, is that they’ve put too many of their proverbial eggs (rooster/hen pun not intended) in the Alonso basket, and as a result neglected Massa’s. In 2010, Alonso’s first Ferrari season, Massa was winning podiums. In 2011, Massa was regularly hauling in points. This year, Massa is skirting the midfield. The more the team focuses on Alonso, the more Massa has slid down the running order.

    I’m not a Red Bull fan, but it seems that the RBR version of the rooster/hen system is far more effective than Ferrari’s. What I think Ferrari need to do is go back to 2007 and 2008, when they ran Raikkonen and Massa along the same lines as Red Bull currently run Webber and Vettel. Those were the days when the Scuderia was a regular challenger for both drivers’ and constructors’ championships. If they did a change of strategy, they could very well regain that position.

    • astonished (@astonished) said on 23rd October 2012, 11:40

      The comparison is in order, but he car is too much of an influencing factor to be a fair one…

      • Bob (@bobthevulcan) said on 23rd October 2012, 11:44

        The car is a factor when looking at raw performance of both teams, but my argument is based on comparisons between teammates in identical cars.

        • astonished (@astonished) said on 23rd October 2012, 11:56

          It is a factor, still. With an extremely dominant car, Alonso and Massa would have scored 1-2 all races with a point difference between 0% (both drivers wining same number of races) and -28% (the same driver wining all the races).

          Anywhere from “all the cars are same” where you comparison would be fairer to “extreme domination” as above, the car is a factor when you compare team mates.

          Then more subtleties as “fitting driving style” for one or the other or both might have a role, but it is more subjective to discuss, in my view.

          • Bob (@bobthevulcan) said on 23rd October 2012, 12:24

            With an extremely dominant car, Alonso and Massa would have scored 1-2 all races

            Therein is my argument. No matter what car they have, by lavishing manpower and resources on Alonso, Ferrari don’t support Massa enough for him (Massa) to function effectively as a second driver.

            Even with a dominant car, 1-2 finishes are unlikely if one driver doesn’t have as much support from the engineering team – the car doesn’t get tailored to his driving style, his setups aren’t as effective, et cetera.

  14. Arijit (@arijitmaniac) said on 23rd October 2012, 12:17

    Ferrari ended speculation over their 2012 driver line-up one week ago

    I think you mean their 2013 line-up :)

  15. infy (@infy) said on 23rd October 2012, 12:48

    Considering Ferrari put the WDC above the WCC, their policy makes absolute sense. Their choice of their support driver is where the problem is. Massa seems unable to support the team consistently.

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