Domenicali on Alonso, Massa and the future
8 September, 2011
Sep.8 (GMM) Stefano Domenicali insists he will not use Red Bull as Ferrari’s template for success while revealing that after Singapore development work on the Ferrari 150 Italia will stop.
Asked to compare his reign with that of his predecessor Jean Todt, Domenicali said the Frenchman devised a structure with an “outstanding balance”.
“I am convinced that we are laying the foundations for an unbeatable structure,” Italian media reports quote him as saying.
“We will not have single men at the helm, like Red Bull with (Adrian) Newey. Rather, we will have a team,” added Domenicali.
The Italian’s McLaren counterpart, Martin Whitmarsh, acknowledged Newey’s contribution at Red Bull.
“Adrian is definitely a very important factor when we talk about success,” he told Die Welt newspaper.
“He beat us last year but before that it was us who beat him,” added Whitmarsh. “If his car wins he is raised up on a pedestal, but if he does not – and he sometimes doesn’t – then his skills are questioned.”
Former Ferrari and McLaren driver Gerhard Berger, who is very close to Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz, insists Red Bull has not set itself up for instant rather than long-term success.
“Red Bull has laid the foundation for longer term success,” he told APA news agency. “Vettel will not leave with the performance like he has, Adrian Newey is the best designer and he enjoys the conditions Red Bull gives him.
“Christian Horner was given his chance as a young team manager and so is very loyal, and Helmut Marko does a good job of holding the team together. So there is no reason for things to change for them,” added Berger.
Domenicali, however, doubts Lewis Hamilton’s recent claim that Red Bull will very likely start the 2012 season in a similar position of dominance.
“No, there are no guarantees,” he said. “Between us, McLaren and Red Bull, it will be open war.”
As for next year, the development of the Ferrari 150 Italia will stop after Singapore in two weeks confirmed Domenicali.
Fernando Alonso is the highest ranked non-Red Bull driver in the 2011 points standings, but his deficit is a huge 102 points with just seven races to go.
This weekend is Ferrari’s home race at Monza, where the Italian team is hoping to impress the Tifosi.
“We have a specific package for Monza and some small improvements for Singapore,” Sky Italia quotes Domenicali as saying.
“After that, the car won’t be changed, because in Maranello we are working on the 2012 project. The goal is being competitive from the very first race, because we can’t afford a bad start,” he added.
And even now, more than a quarter of Ferrari’s resources are already dedicated to the 2012 project, technical boss Pat Fry has told Corriere della Sera.
When asked how he is splitting his time at present, the Briton answered: “50 per cent on this year, 25 per cent on next year and 25 per cent to the reorganisation.
“But in the wind tunnel we are working half (2011) and half (2012),” added Fry.
Domenicali said Ferrari will then use the rest of 2011 to “learn how to use these (Pirelli) tyres in all conditions”.
“So we will be aggressive even if the championship is gone,” he added.
He insists 2011 “will be the last disappointing season” under his reign.
“We are laying the groundwork for an unbeatable structure,” he told La Repubblica newspaper.
“Alonso believes in it. He is in the heart of his career and has signed with us to 2016, which is not something a winner would do if he was not convinced,” added Domenicali.
Asked to compare the results of his reign with that of his predecessor Jean Todt, Domenicali continued: “He (Todt) won a lot, but he had time to create a winning team with an outstanding balance. That is also my goal.”
Domenicali has also insisted that Felipe Massa is not going anywhere for now.
Since his championship tilt of 2008, Brazilian Massa has struggled to get on terms with his new teammate Fernando Alonso.
But there have also been suggestions the 30-year-old is no longer the same after recovering from near-fatal head injuries sustained in mid 2009.
Domenicali told La Repubblica newspaper that Ferrari still believes in Massa.
“The fan in the bar says ‘Trust me, he is as strong as he was before Budapest’. He will be supported in every way. Meanwhile, the contract will not be touched; he is safe until December 2012,” added Domenicali.