Mercedes and Williams “out in front” – Domenicali

2014 F1 season

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Bahrain, 2014Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali names Mercedes and Williams as the two teams who are setting the pace in 2014 so far – but believes his team could be next behind them.

“From what we have seen so far, there are two teams out in front, Mercedes and Williams,” Domenicali said after the final day of pre-season testing in Bahrain. “After them, it could be us.”

However Domenicali believes the picture could change quickly once the season begins.

“I believe we could see big changes from the first race to the second and from the second to the third, with everyone bringing in developments all the time.

“At first, reliability will be the key, because without it you don’t score points. I also think that some teams that are struggling at the moment will be able to catch up, while teams that currently seem to have a slight advantage could see a plateau in their performance, allowing the others to close the gap.”

After 12 days of testing, in which Ferrari have covered more ground than most teams, Domenicali says his engineers still have “a mountain of things for our engineers to develop”.

“What I’m interested in and what I have specifically requested is that we define a list of priorities and stick to it,” he said. “One aspect we will definitely be looking at is the relationship between the turbo engine and the electric energy recovery systems and there’s much to do in this area.”

“On the other hand, we return to Maranello knowing that the figures we saw from the car during the design phase have been correlated at the track and that’s already a good starting point.”

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43 comments on Mercedes and Williams “out in front” – Domenicali

  1. Joshua Mesh (@joshua-mesh) said on 2nd March 2014, 20:24

    “What I’m interested in and what I have specifically requested is that we define a list of priorities and stick to it,” he said. “One aspect we will definitely be looking at is the relationship between the turbo engine and the electric energy recovery systems and there’s much to do in this area.”

    This could point to where Ferrari feel the Merc’s hold their advantage.

    “On the other hand, we return to Maranello knowing that the figures we saw from the car during the design phase have been correlated at the track and that’s already a good starting point.”

    First time in around 3 or 4 years, it should be noted..

  2. George (@george) said on 2nd March 2014, 20:34

    Interesting that he didn’t include McLaren in that, they tailed off towards the end of testing but they were second only to Mercedes to begin with.

  3. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 2nd March 2014, 20:39

    While it’s great that Ferrari don’t seem to be struggling with a dog as they clearly were at the start of 2009 and 2012, I’m still kinda annoyed as a fan that despite all the influx of key personnel and talent and despite the overhaul of their wind tunnel (the source of most of their excuses over the last few years) and despite stopping development on the F138 early to concentrate on the F14T, we still find Ferrari, with all their resources and talent, seemingly a good bit behind other teams.

    It’s a realistic possibility that Ferrari turn up to Melbourne almost certainly behind Mercedes, as well as Williams and McLaren. Ferrari could end up fighting for points with Force India, surely something that Luca di Montezemolo wouldn’t have expected. I doubt Fernando Alonso would suffer another year struggling to get onto the podium. Here’s hoping they find more pace and can challenge come March 16th.

    • Joshua Mesh (@joshua-mesh) said on 2nd March 2014, 20:56

      According to Ferrari they only have half as many people working on the engine compared to Merc. I think that is very telling and it will be amazing if Ferrari are able to stay with the Merc engine development.

      • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 2nd March 2014, 21:11

        Really? Wow that’s a massive difference – and it looks like being borne out by the engines performances. When the new regs came in I foolishly thought Ferrari, being Ferrari, would have a fantastic engine and aero would remain their weakness, I guess not!

        • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 2nd March 2014, 23:38

          When the new regs came in I foolishly thought Ferrari, being Ferrari, would have a fantastic engine

          You must be right man, Ferrari had a veto on the V6 engines, if they thought that they will be disadvantaged with the new regs they would have vetoed them straight away, A good PU is the mix of performance, reliability and efficiency
          In terms of Performance it seems that Mercedes is ahead, in terms of reliability i think both are on par, as for efficiency no one knows but according to the rumors from testing Ferrari can be well ahead in that aspect, the design of the side pods which help reducing drag and increase fuel efficiency suggests already that Ferrari are using unusual cooling techniques, the Ferrari powered cars sounds different on downshifting which suggests that they are using a technique that cut fuel ignition off throttle. Renault and Mercedes have also showed concerns about Ferrari turbo protection and maybe they are ready to protest in Melbourne which is also demonstrates that the Ferrari V6 brings also advantages in terms of packaging

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 2nd March 2014, 23:46

            So now it isn’t ‘just testing’? I’ve always said that in spite of that adage there can be some things that show themselves as relatable to how testing went once they get racing, but I think Ferrari will be fine. It’s such early days and with everything in house for them I’ll think they’ll keep progressing.

          • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 3rd March 2014, 0:25

            I’ve been hearing and reading so many conflicting things during testing – somebody will say Ferrari has a very efficient engine, another will say that the Ferrari is consuming a lot of fuel. I have no idea where Ferrari stand relative to most teams, and that worries me. We’ll only get answers come Melbourne as to how good the Ferrari engine is.

      • Pennyroyal tea (@peartree) said on 3rd March 2014, 5:18

        What joshua said says a lot about the work rate not the design, I’m sure that all manufactures aimed high on the concept but there’s lots of software to perfect and that is when obviously after the engine is designed and homologated where the powertrain performance is coming and that is exactly what Domenicalli is saying and his drivers too after insisting in working on the drive-ability.

  4. Mark said on 2nd March 2014, 20:41

    The team with the smartest computer techs and the biggest cheque books . The smartest driver will help

  5. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 2nd March 2014, 20:42

    Williams haven’t been serious title contenders since 2003. If Massa brings his A-game, Bottas is as good as we think he is, and the FW36 is as good as we think it is – that could change in 2014. Still, I remain cautious. Williams looked competitive ahead in winter testing last year, and we all know how that turned out.

    • UnitedKingdomRacing (@unitedkingdomracing) said on 2nd March 2014, 20:56

      Massa vs. Hamilton for the title once again? Who knows. Anything seems to be possible.

    • Joshua Mesh (@joshua-mesh) said on 2nd March 2014, 20:58

      I predict the team who he feels will “plateau in their performance” is Williams, as they have done in the past (i.e maldanado winning in Spain and then the team dropping from the map there after).

      • Skett (@skett) said on 2nd March 2014, 21:09

        You obviously weren’t watching in 2012, the car was fast all year, the drivers didn’t make good use of it (some races were ruined by terrible strategic calls too.

        @kingshark
        How did they look competitive last year? They were making all kinds of optimistic comments, but they never looked good in terms of pace

        • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 2nd March 2014, 21:29

          @skett
          The FW34 was a good car around most circuits, but it was far from a championship winning car. The last true WDC challenger was the Williams FW25, which was as good as the Ferrari F2003.

      • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 2nd March 2014, 21:25

        Absolutely, remember Maldonado qualified ahead of Vettel in Singapore? And would have scored good points both there and in Abu Dhabi had it not been for reliability issues and an unavoidable accident?

    • Lauri (@f1lauri) said on 2nd March 2014, 21:10

      Massa was (unfortunately) massivly demoralized by Ferrari for years. I don’t think any driver has had to hold up to such pressure as he has. And it broke him couple of times. I really hope 2014 will be a good year for Williams and Massa and Valtteri! Bring out those Martini colors and … what a package!

      • Deej92 (@deej92) said on 2nd March 2014, 23:01

        Absolutely. People say Hungary 2009 was the reason for his drop in performance. I will always maintain Germany 2010 was.

        Now he is starting afresh with Williams and I’m expecting an improved performance from him, closer to the performances we saw in 2006-2008 and late 2012. And for such a nice guy who has had to endure intense pressure and disappointment, a few podiums or perhaps a win somewhere would be great to see, for sure.

      • Breno (@austus) said on 3rd March 2014, 23:51

        Poor Massa! Ever since 2010 he scored a grand total of 7 podiums, Mark Webber managed more last year. And despite such awful perfomance, Ferrari kept him for all this time, even after 2012. Every year Massa says he’s gonna be great, and every year he performs poorly.

  6. JohnNik (@johnnik) said on 2nd March 2014, 21:45

    I’d love to see Massa fighting for a championship, he came so close in ’08 a lot of people feel he deserves one.
    I just have a feeling that IF (big word) Williams are genuinely that competitive they’re going to need to “do a Brawn” for him to remain a contender by the end of the year.

  7. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate) said on 2nd March 2014, 21:48

    Everyone hammered Massa when he said he wanted to go to a top team, challenge for wins, and ended up at Williams… I don’t think there’s much left for the naysayers to talk about. In retrospect, his move to Williams seems to be shaping up as absolutely brilliant.

  8. Paul Tomlinson said on 2nd March 2014, 22:24

    How good does it sound to hear those words “Williams out in front”.

  9. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 2nd March 2014, 23:08

    What a story that would be for Williams to from potential back marker, to race winner in 1 season… Oh wait.

  10. foleyger (@foleyger) said on 2nd March 2014, 23:19

    Hopefully Massa will get a podium this year.

  11. Maciek (@maciek) said on 2nd March 2014, 23:25

    Would love to see Williams back at the appropriate end of the grid, but struggling teams suddenly vaulting to the front in one bound is a rare thing. If they manage to break the top six on a consistent basis this year that would already be quite impressive.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd March 2014, 6:54

      Indeed struggling teams suddenly topping the time sheets in testing is something we do know @maciek, and more often than not it proved to be window dressing.

      But if Williams really did a good job over the winter, that will make me happy, as it was sad to see this great team so far off the sharp end of the grid lately.

  12. Don said on 2nd March 2014, 23:31

    Lol @ Maldonado.
    Moves from poor performing Williams to Race winning, championship contender lotus. But ends up with unreliable forklift when the Williams is in the same league as Mercedes and Ferrari.

    Ouchy.

  13. petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 2nd March 2014, 23:32

    I’m so happy that Williams are right up there! Massa vs Hamilton – the rematch!

  14. karter22 (@karter22) said on 3rd March 2014, 0:38

    I truly am glad Williams is back up there!
    A 1 sec. difference is not that bad. ALO was fighting the bulls with much more of a gap these past four years that this might be the chance he´s been waiting for!

    It seems Massa might just get his chance to keep his goodbye words when he said he would not let ALO by now… We´ll see.

    I hope Ferrari can make good updates to their car now that they seem to have their wind tunnel fixed now.

  15. Daniel said on 3rd March 2014, 11:54

    I think, Ferrari didn’t show their full potential and strength. For example: Alonso recorded the highest speed with 339,6 km/h, but for the rest of the lap he drove quiet slow.
    It would be really nice to see the sector times Ferrari did during the Bahrain test. According to “Auto Motor und Sport”, every time Ferrari drove the fastest time in one sector, it was slow in the two other sectors. For example: if they had a best in the first, they were slow in the second and the third. While if they were slow in the first and second, they were fast in the last sector. Would be nice to add all three best sector times and see what lap time comes out

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