Voice of the #F1 Fans: A Solution to Ferrari’s Problems?

Voice of the Fans

Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor bruznic

Note from the Editor: Solution or not, should make for lively discussion!! Tell us what you think in the comments

Last week, news emerged that the chairman of Ferrari, Sergio Marchionne, wants victories and would do anything necessary to get them. Niki Lauda, always quick to enlighten us with his opinion, told German RTL that Marchionne is doing what the late Enzo Ferrari always did; put the pressure on. “The fact that Ferrari is so far behind is very surprising,” the triple Formula 1 world champion said. “The problem with Ferrari is that they are under pressure – the more Marchionne calls for wins, the more the Italians are likely to make mistakes.”

Ferrari1

Marchionne replied a day later suggesting that the pressure on the team is to motivate them. “While I do put pressure on my team I’m also motivating them. We have to improve the car again, deeply and quickly.” For a while now, Ferrari’s new president has enjoyed a reputation of getting things done. He’s seen as the savior of the Fiat (and Chrysler) empire, showing his unique management style at the highest level in the automotive industry. As a direct man, he preferred to deal with the all his people face-to-face – unlike most CEO’s nowadays. Marchionne even has his bureau at Fiat on the same floor as the engineers thus leaving the executives bureau empty.

But like most people at this level, he has a ruthlessness streak in him. A ‘do what you have to do’ attitude. His character and managing style are, in my opinion, why he went for someone like Maurizio Arrivabene, despite Ferrari’s new team principal having no real sporting background as such. Arrivebene’s experience is, more or less, that he was the vice president of Marlboro global communication and promotions for Philip Morris international, and a little later the vice president of consumer channel strategy and event marketing. There, that was a mouth full! Those titles alone are worth some money, haha. It was this work that helped Arrivebene get his foot in the door at Ferrari’s formula one team. Later on, Arrivebene even sat on the Formula One commission as a representative for all the sport’s sponsors. Pretty big deal if you ask me.

All of this wouldn’t have gone unnoticed to Marchionne. For a ‘face-to-face’ type CEO, this shows the people skills that Arrivabene clearly has. So, Arrivabene was appointed as team principal of the Ferrari Formula One Team. And for us fans, the harmony of the team became visible once they got rid of the caustic Fernando Alonso and hired Sebastian Vettel in his place.

In 2015, the team appeared the healthiest it had been since the golden Schumacher era. Prospects looked glorious after a decent year with hopes for a title challenge in 2016 rising to high levels. Fast forward now to the 15th May 2016, two hours before the fifth race in the year. Saturday probably even the worst qualifying session Ferrari experienced this and last year combined. And maybe a sign that it’s close to ending for Arrivabene with Marchionne telling sky that he has his total confidence in the former Marlboro man.

We all know what that means in F1… The more you hear about confidence and certainty the bigger the chance is that you’ll get sacked! The only thing pro-Arrivabene is that Marchionne also says he has never seen better harmony in the team. That part of the job is done, but is it enough to continue to cover the team for not getting anticipated results?
On a sidenote, Belgium has the same problem with their national football team, golden generation and a coach who brought the best atmosphere to the team in thirty years, but doesn’t get results. After awhile, people tend to not like that.

Where to from here? Some say if Arrivebene gets the sack, the most likely to get the job at Ferrari would be James Allison – designer, engineer and current technical director at the Scuderia. And this is where I have to join in to give my opinion about it all. As it is an article from me, I am allowed to do that, haha. (Of course, you are allowed to / encouraged to do the same in the comments section below.) I think this would be the wrong way to go. Allison is very good at the jobFerrari2 he does now, even when the Ferrari doesn’t seem to challenge the Mercedes as much as we had hoped. But, that’s more due to Mercedes’ unprecedented PU superiority. Last year’s car merely had Allison’s fingerprints on it; this year there is more of him. So to prematurely take him off the job might be the wrong solution.

Despite the fact Ferrari did get both guys on the podium at the Spanish GP, I don’t think Arrivabene’s position has changed. Clearly if the Mercedes boys hadn’t taken each other out the Ferrari’s would’ve been fourth and fifth. And the big boss asked for a win. In both scenarios they’ve failed.

So back to Allison and whether or not he’d be the correct choice. Of course I am just a punk behind a mobile phone, so who cares about what I think, and my views don’t have all the data nor do I know any of the above mentioned people in real life. But the fact is that since Allison is in charge of technical aspects, the Ferraris seem to be better cars than before. Why change that? There is the fact that they didn’t catch the Mercedes cars, yes. But if you change to much now it might not happen next year either. They say don’t change a winning team (right Lewis?) but changing a team that’s trying to catch up might not be the best solution either.

If Marchionne does decide, like the red queen, that it’s ‘off with Arrivabene’s head’ then there might be a choice that could be a real shocker. And I’d love to see Mercedes’ collective face if this choice would go for what I’m proposing now. One man who can bring fortune back to the scarlet boys. A man I can think of with a high prospect of winning. Maybe even the highest one. Ross Brawn. He who can build on the balance Arrivabene brought to the Scuderia. He who brought eight World Drivers’ Championships and World Constructors’ Championships to his teams when he was in significant roles of responsibility – either as team principal or technical director.

We all know he is not one for monumental cock-ups like we’ve seen in the last couple of years on the wall of both Ferrari (Australia ’16 is the first example which comes to my mind. the second one is gifting Verstappen his first win by covering Ricciardo when Red Bull put him on the wrong strategy.) and Mercedes (Monaco ’15). Brawn knows – and understands – racing like no one else on the pit wall right now. Furthermore, he would be a piece of the puzzle Vettel needs to achieve what Schumacher did. Brawn helped Schumacher, so Schumacher’s protégé can only be happy if the Ferrari team appoint Brawn to help him win seven – or more – titles. Don’t forget, Brawn brought the first wins to the Mercedes team in it’s second incarnation as a full works team.

For me, Brawn is the architect of that team and both Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe are riding the gravy train. Brawn is a firm leader with a plethora of examples, but showcased this no better than at the Malaysian GP in 2014. With him there would be no multi 21 drama or young Verstappen saying no to the team when they order him to let Sainz Jr through. Furthermore he brought success to different teams in Formula One: Benetton, Ferrari and, after some page filling drama, to his own Brawn team. And he designed the Jaguar XJR 14, which won the ’91 World Sportscar Championship. Hard to call him a one trick pony. But he did more than design and lead, he is known for being in a league of its own when it came to race strategy. Who among us doesn’t remember his masterstroke  at the Hungaroring back in 1998. Deciding to call Schumacher in for a risky 3 stop strategy and Schumacher in turn raking in the qualification laps, during the race. Granted, it did need the finishing touch of Schumacher, probably only he could deliver those kind of laps in a race on command. But the command had to come. Without Brawn and his idea Schumacher wouldn’t have finished any higher than third instead of winning like he did that day. Even as a non-Schumi fan I was sitting on the edge of my seat, watching the telly. Baffled by what was happening…Ferrari3

Or to put it like WTF_F1 said it: If Brawn can get Button a WDC, then he can get anyone a WDC! 😂
So I hope someone at Ferrari dares to ask him. Then it might be that Brawn finally realises that fishing is boring and Formula One isn’t. I know, in all fairness, it won’t happen even when it’s a good idea. So I might have to write a letter to Bernie (yes, Mr. Ecclestone, I too can write) to ask him to think of Brawn as a successor when he finally kicks the bucket. Everybody on the grid respects Brawn and he would have a big impact; a positive one. He’ll never, ever come up with stupid ideas like sprinklers on track. I’ll leave it at that.

Again special thanks to wtf_f1 for editing and bringing a flow to my work.

Disclaimer: TheJudge13 provides a platform for Formula 1 fans to publish their voice on matters relating to Formula 1. The views expressed in Voice of #F1 Fans are those of the contributor and not those held by TJ13.

22 responses to “Voice of the #F1 Fans: A Solution to Ferrari’s Problems?

  1. What Marchionne’s biggest problem is the stigma attached to the answer to the question posed during the Dimeler-Chrysler tie up…..’How do you pronounce Chrysler as in Dimeler-Chrysler’?
    He’s determined that it shouldn’t perpetrate.

    Great piece Bruznic!

  2. Nice one, Bruznic.

    The problem with Brawn is that he falls victim to his own success, especially in an ego-filled chamber like F1. One of the reasons Brawn isn’t at McLaren now, and instead we get the believable Eric, is that Ron wanted it to be his show once he wrestled the F1 team back from Whitmarsh, not Brawn’s show. This is also the reason why he felt pushed out of Merc, and he ultimately decided to reach for his middle finger: Merc was ALL about Brawn’s show, until Toto showed up and brought Lowe from McLaren. Toto of course wanted it to be the Toto show (though he don’t have the expertise to do it all, so he needs two trusty sidekicks to keep it all together, Paddy and Niki), so Brawn got somewhat marginalized within the structure.

    Now Marchionne wants it to be the Marchionne show at Ferrari, since he pulled the rug from under di Montezemolo. The way I see it Marchionne has implicitly staked his reputation on delivering a world title with Ferrari against Merc domination, first by brutally dispensing with the old guard, then by installing an incompetent and malleable puppet at the helm of the F1 team, and now by making it clear to all and sundry that he expects results, NOW. Overall it seems as if Marchionne finds himself between a rock and a hard place, and bringing Brawn in would be a tacit admission of defeat and indictment on his own management capacities to deliver. Brawn is just too damn high profile: if he’s in and Ferrari delivers, it’ll be Brawn’s titles, not Marchionne’s… Same as how Brawn still haunts Wolff and Lowe, well out of the team yet still like a ghost receiving plaudits for Merc’s dominatrix titles…

    • Couldn’t agree more. Hence the shocker and I know it will never happen line. But if I put it so colourful as you just did a) my article would be to long and b) you couldn’t comment. Hahahah. No really great comment, you sliced the truth there so thick you can’t help but to stumble over it. A victim of his own succes and the only way Marchionne would do it if he really was in it for Ferrari and not for himself. But in the selfish world of ceo’s and managers and whatnot we all know that’ll never be that way.

      • Nice piece @Brusznic.
        Landroni hit the nail on the head. It’s whether Ferrari wants to really win or keep appearances to inflate those egos. I too think Brawn, along with Newey are the 2 people in F1 that can change a team’s fortune “almost” all on their own.
        It’s a shame that Brawn with, still so much to give, is sidelined. But i guess he probably got tired with all the politics in F1. I don’t think he was too happy to say the least in how he was ousted from Mercedes.
        I’ve read that when Brawn was at Ferrari, Todt, Shumacher and him had a secret pact that if anyone left against their will the other two would follow. That kept the Ferrari politic machine grinder under control.
        I doubt Marchionne would go for something similar.
        Does anyone know if Rory Byrne is still at Ferrari? Some say that he was the technical genius while Ross was the organizing genius.

  3. Nicely post Bruznic, +1.

    I’m a fan of Ross Brawn no doubt, but I actually think Marchionne is ruthless enough to do whatever he thinks will bring results, including hiring Brawn. Hell, I even think he’d bring back Alonso if that was what he judged the best route to success.

    With regards to Marchionne’s demands on the team, all I can say is pressure is for tyres.

    With regards to James Allison, he said he didn’t design things himself, but more steered the focus of resources.
    If his success to date, (and for me they have made great progress under Allison,I use Kimi’s performance in the car as the barometer of progress) puts him as the top candidate to take over, I think it would be up Allison himself to decide if he felt he could lead the overall team and still achieve the improvements going forward, depends on his faith in those who work for him to a degree.

    Arrivabene has served his purpose I think, now that development tokens will be a thing of the past, so will he.

    I’m beginning to think Seb is on borrowed time too, but that’s a discussion for another day 🙂

    • That’s why I hinted at the Allison should stay where he is. The progress he made is visible. Even for us… of course only he knows if he is ready for a “bigger” role. That’s why I referred to it as is it good to change a team that goes forward? Doesn’t it set the team back? No doubt that what he does is good. Certainly last year’s car showed much better than the one the year before that. And that was merely his finger prints. Bad luck just has it that the Mercedes is better. Now I just have to hope that they still do a strong monaco performance, cuz if red bull beat them all my words here are for nothing and show you just how much I am a true connaiseur 😂

  4. Nice article, well thought out and well presented.
    I have wondered for a while how boring Brawn must be finding his life now. Racing is in his blood. He always seemed to see the bigger picture when in charge of a team. Plus he ruled with a rod of steel, (or would it be a carbon fibre rod now?) with everyone working together to achieve results. Drivers would do as they were told. I wonder how he views the ongoing animosity between team mates at Mercedes, and what he would have done to prevent it.

    • I think he would have handled them with though love. The thing that happened in Spain would have been heavily discussed and even punished. The real problem with Brawn is that there would be no intra team battle. Clear no 1 and no 2. Good for results. But not so good for the viewers.

  5. Not a bad thought Bruznic, but i personally felt that Mercs knew beforehand of their PU dominance, therefore didn’t want Brawn to apply his hands at running a normal F1 team, in the sense of team orders, #1,#2 drivers, he would probably have done with Hamilton what he’d accomplished with Shumacher, not good for the show. Now that Toto & paddy are running things, they can afford to brag about their equal status of both drivers, even though one has a multi WDC under his belt, which im sorry to say is unprecedented in all the years of me following F1. I mean, these guys are easy to read, they planned and executed the wins from Nico since Hamilton won his 3rd title, Brawn on the other hand, who’s not down for BS, would have prolonged Hamiltons dominance, even if it meant Nico finishing 3rd in the championship. I would welcome the thought of Brawn replacing Arrivabene, show those teutonic boys at Mercs, what F1 racing & strategic planning is all about!.

  6. this piece should/out to be added to the top ten conspiracy theorise in the world, should actually be placed between that about the faked moon landings and reptiles ruling over us theories.

  7. conspiracy theorists are the most consistent in their style of reasoning and arguments, but I wonder, however, how much of this consistency is due to and because they are reading the same source material!

    • I admire how you like your own post immediately… and I still have no idea what you mean.

    • Why don’t you outline the portion of the article that bothers you so and debate the point? Bruznic has asked you twice, relatively politely. I’m sure he’ll happily discuss.

  8. Nice piece. Good job.
    I thought Brawn was off fishing until he was given Bernie’s job.

  9. Pingback: Breaking: Ross Brawn to replace Ecclestone  – bruznic·

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