Race Blog
Belgium 2016

Pentola a pressione

The pressure cooker that is the Scuderia right now…

What a sorry mess, what a state they’re in. The situation is getting so dire that even ‘expert’ television pundits and blinkered media-room-based journalists are commenting now.

It ain’t no surprise to me! All the photographers – who take interest in such things – have been aware of the situation for a while.

As one moves up and down the F1 paddock, pit lane and pre-race grid environment, all the while observing and shooting much that one sees, an attuned and interested professional lens man can get a very good ‘feel’ for the prevailing mood within the teams.

Stand outside Mercedes’ futuristic-looking pit garage and all is calm, spacious and organised with a collective mood of efficient English/German purposefulness abundantly evident. Move along to Red Bull and the machine-like winning mentality hits you like a slap to the face. A crack unit of focused and driven-to-success guys working towards one goal… winning.

Now stand in front of the Ferrari pit box.

No you’re not looking at a World War II bomb factory! This really is a race team with ideas of success. All clutter, cables, wires, restricted space, noise and chaos, a scene so different from the calmness of their competitors one wonders how they get anything achieved at all.

Nine years, nine long years since everyone’s ‘favourite’ F1 team enjoyed drivers’ title success. Remember back to the mid-to-late ’90s and you’ll recall the endless references to the ever-increasing count of years since a Ferrari driver had tasted title-celebrating fizz. When Michael Schumacher finally delivered the 2000 crown, a 21-year drought ended.

By the end of this year we’ll be approaching half that amount again, with very little prospect of the rising number being reset to zero.

As we are all aware, Ferrari’s incredible run of triumph came as a direct result of the managerial and organisational brilliance delivered by a Frenchman (Jean Todt), an Englishman (Ross Brawn), a South African (Rory Byrne), and of course the German Michael Schumacher. There were certainly others, all working as one highly focused unit delivering complete and utter domination, the like of which the sport had rarely seen before.

The majority nationality was of course Italian, but those in power… not so much!  

They’re all long gone. The Italians are in charge now…  

Punchy, pushy and wholly unfriendly to be around, this team broadcasts the fact that pressure within is building to unbearable levels.

Like all sport, Formula 1 is a results-based business and right now Ferrari are simply miles off the pace. Sure, a promising Q3 time and/or a podium finish do occasionally come their way, but they’re sticking plasters, crack-papering-over paucities that only briefly conceal the melee within.

All this is bad, bad for anyone keen on the betterment of the sport. On so many levels Ferrari represent so much that can be, and is, great about Formula 1. ‘We’ all benefit from Scuderia success.

Perhaps it was with this fact at the forefront of their minds that so many ‘opinion formers’ sagely predicted – pre-season – Ferrari could topple Mercedes in 2016.

Some of us didn’t believe the hype…

For those minded to do so, ten minutes’ trackside viewing mid-February, during testing, adequately betrayed – compared with the new Mercedes and Red Bull machines – the subtle shortcomings of the SF16-H car and its power unit within.

With the 2016 championship now in the chase, thoughts are inevitably turning to the aero-dominated 2017 formula. All teams are working hard on areas of development where those with minds able to understand over-and-under-car airflow are much in demand.

In James Allison Ferrari had one of the very best…

Nessun cambiamento c’è poi!

Now click HERE!

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