Ferrari chief admits time is running out
Domenicali says team must 'react very, very quickly' to rectify worst start in decades
Friday 24 April 2009
Stefano Domenicali does not do the poker face and stiff upper lip that was the traditional mien of Ferrari team principals of yore, who would secretly dread having to make a telephone call to an irascible Enzo Ferrari back in his lair in Maranello to explain why his beloved red cars had not won a race.
Ferrari himself is long gone but, in Luca di Montezemolo, Domenicali has an equally tough taskmaster and this has been the Scuderia's worst start to a season in years. To rub salt into the wound, the architect of their title successes during this decade, Ross Brawn, has won two races and his car, driven by Jenson Button, leads the world championship.
Yesterday Domenicali explained how they plan to turn things around. "For me the most important thing is that back home at the factory people stay totally focused," he said. "In each of the three races so far there have been some situations that have affected all of the areas of the company, operations, reliability and performance. Each department head must focus on their area to get us back to our usual standard.
"We must react very, very quickly," he added. "The championship has just begun and we have seen one day to another how things can change. We are pushing as hard as we can. The important thing from those first three races is that even if we could not perform to our maximum level we should have been able to score points."
The former champion Niki Lauda recently offered a reason for Ferrari's failure: their Italian character. "I take it very personally when people suggest that because we are Italians we cannot get things to work properly," Domenicali countered. "We have won titles and races in the past with fundamentally the same team."
Then, of course, there is the vexed issue of two-tier diffusers. Ferrari will have one in time for the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona early next month.
"This is a very important race," Domenicali said. "We need to move off zero and to avoid panic. Our people are very motivated and nobody feels negative when they read in successive weeks that this is Ferrari's worst start to a season since 1982, then 1981, then 1969... We look ahead."
He also appreciates what he has to do to help his team, even the former champion Michael Schumacher. "Michael is very important for our group. At certain moments he can be heavy because of his personality, but his positives far outweigh his negatives. As for the others, I cannot be an engineer, but for sure an important part of my job is to be a psychologist."
Enzo Ferrari, a manipulator of men, would never have understood that.
* The future of the British Grand Prix was thrown into doubt yesterday when legal proceedings were issued by Wheatcroft & Son Ltd, the owners of Donington Park, the race's venue from next year, against the circuit's operators, seeking £2.47m in rent arrears and forfeiture of the lease.
The number of points Ferrari have won in the first three grands prix of the season.
sportLiverpool 5 Norwich City 1: Uruguayan striker has now scored 11 league goals against the club
arts + entsOlivier-nominated actor and singer is set to star in Lloyd Webber's musical about the Profumo affair
filmWith more than 70 per cent of early films lost, archivists are scouring the world to preserve the precious examples that remain
sportUnder-10s football coach sacked for telling parents he was 'only interested in winning'
techA piece of new hi-tech kit aims to get us scribbling again
indybestMake getting out of the wrong side of bed on cold winter mornings a thing of the past with our selection of night-time covers
life + styleClarissa Baldwin is the brains behind the slogan 'A Dog is for Life not just for Christmas'
Arsenal 2 Hull City 0 match report: Nicklas Bendtner back in the goals as superb Arsenal march on at the top
Liverpool 5 Norwich City 1 match report: Sublime Luis Suarez tears Norwich apart once again
Fulham 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2 match report: Andre Villas-Boas masterstroke helps Spurs edge Rene Meulensteen's battling Fulham
David Moyes admits Manchester United face tough task to retain their title
Manchester United 0 Everton 1 match report: David Moyes misery as Roberto Martinez pulls off the elusive victory
- 1 North Korea: Kim Jong Un 'sacks powerful uncle and has his aides executed'
- 2 The hardwired difference between male and female brains could explain why men are 'better at map reading'
- 3 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 4 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 5 ‘Put it in my mouth’: Viewers outraged by apparent reference to oral sex in VIP e-cig advert