Alonso: “Nothing has changed at Ferrari”

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Love him or not, Fernando Alonso has been around the F1 block as much as anyone else who jumps into a turbo hybrid car each Formula One race weekend – and therefore he has a pretty good experience base from which to make judgement calls. Since his acrimonious split from Ferrari the Spaniard has repeatedly claimed little has changed in Maranello.

In fact the week following his home 2015 GP, Alonso said “I was in the Ferrari last year half a minute, a minute behind Mercedes and on Sunday they [Ferrari] were 43 seconds behind in Barcelona. Nothing has changed – and that is one of the reasons why l moved. I saw nothing change for five years and l didn’t want a sixth or seventh.”

Given the turn 4 love in between the Mercedes drivers this year during the race at the circuit de Catalunya, we have no like for like comparison to measure the progress of the Scuderia, though we do have other options open to us to perform similar analysis.

Following the race in Monaco, here was the F1 constructor’s championship table in 2015:

  • 242 Mercedes
  • 158 Ferrari
  • 81 Williams/Mercedes
  • 52 Red Bull/Renault

This year we have a table after 6 races which looks like this…

  • 188 Mercedes
  • 121 Ferrari
  • 112 Red Bull/TAG Heuer
  • 66 Williams/Mercedes

A quick glance at the tables would give the casual onlooker the hope that Mercedes AMG are falling back from their own high standards of 2015. However, add back the 43 points lost in Barcelona and the team from Brackley is broadly scoring similarly to 2015.

What has changed is that Ferrari have no wins at this stage of the season – unlike in 2015 – and more importantly are just 9 points ahead of a resurgent Red Bull Racing. The gap at this stage of the 2015 season was a whopping 77 points and worryingly for Maurizio Arrivabene and the lads from Emilia-Romagna, Red Bull Racing have a Tag Heuer engine upgrade coming this weekend in Canada.

Given the shuffling of the F1 calendar in 2016, Russia being race 4, the racing incident in Barcelona (race 5) and usual vagaries of Monaco (race 6), this weekend’s race on the Isle de Notre Dame will give us maybe the first solid perspective this year on where Ferrari really is in comparison to the rest of the field. With almost a third of the season completed prior to Baku, will the reds have been ‘bullied’ down in the table to P3 by a revived Ricciardo and the merry men from Milton Keynes?

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Sebastian Vettel makes a vain attempt to explain Ferrari’s current woes. Speaking today to Autosport he claims, “You need to respect the fact we are fighting teams that have not had such a big shift in the recent past, team structure, management, whatsoever. We started with a project that together we want to bring [Ferrari] back to the top and now our targets are more ambitious than anybody else’s.

“They are bold targets but we are on the right track.”

Given Sergio Marchionnes publicly expressed expectations before the season, Sebastian would appear to be talking out of his hat. Speaking to ANSA last December, Ferrari’s big boss stated clearly: “The year of our return to the top has begun. The team is there… and we’re not far from reaching the level of our competitors.

“The investments won’t be lacking. We have invested a lot of financial resources – the work done in 2015 has laid an exceptional basis for a season of success in 2016”.

For Ferrari fans, unfortunately the table above describes a different scenario from the one predicted at Christmas by the Ferrari Chairman.

Looking longer term, the hard hitting Marchionne also told Gazzetta dello Sport in Ferbruary that Ferrari must win a title by 2018. “If we were to somehow fail to win a title over a 10-year span it would be a tragedy.”

Of course, there is yet time for this target to be met, though progress toward it at present appears minimal – or as Fernando has repeatedly said: ‘nothing has [substantively] changed at Ferrari’.

The clock is indeed ticking.

Oh, and check out William Hill’s odds on Red Bull beating Ferrari this year. Now that’s not something we expected just 12 weeks ago.


14 responses to “Alonso: “Nothing has changed at Ferrari”

  1. Ouch! Harsh, but a fair assessment from our ‘Japanese assassin’.
    Once again, my mind is boggled by how much effort and resources are needed in F1 – just to slide back down the grid!

  2. It’s easy to say that Mercedes-Benz would have been similarly placed had they not crashed in Spain, but what about Kimi retiring in Aus,Vettel retiring before the race start in Bahrain and the crash between the 2 drivers at China,oh yes and Vettel being taken out in Russia..did you forget about that.?.Red bull are improving because they have more to improve on.Ferrari and Merc are at their limits and can only make small gains.And with the upgraded turbo design they should have good race pace and a better quali session.

    • “And with the upgraded turbo design they should have good race pace and a better quali session.”…….

      And we could also see it fail to deliver just like the previous upgrade they had.

  3. With the current system the guys at the top are finding that the development curve is far less and so there is only a very limited way of improving your car,last years Ferrari was far from a pig of a motor(compared to lower in the field..not the Mercs) while the Redbull could only ever improve,as for Mchonda,they should have been right up there but something is very wrong in that team and they risk reaching the top just as the engine formula change again. No matter what happens in the next year,the Mercs have such a margin that it’s just unreachable so the rest of the pack are just fighting for scraps.
    I admire Alonso and wish he could have remained at Ferrari and really his comment is a fair assessment of the state of the team at the moment,the pressure of a floated company is immense so the big honchos must be seen to be saying the right thing,they can’t afford to taint the sport so it’s a ‘we will win,our car is great and drivers are fantastic ‘line again,eric needs a job 😉

    • As much as I would love to see Ross back, I can’t see it happening, and then even if it did, would he be given enough time to make it work? There is already talk about James Alison being cut because Ferrari aren’t beating Mercedes yet, give the man half a chance!
      Ross was given the flick from Mercedes just as all his hard work was coming to fruition, and Marchionne doesn’t seem to have the same kind of patience, people seem to forget that Ross and Michael joined Ferrari in 96 but didn’t take the championship until 2000

  4. Has Seb taken lessons from ‘Eric the Believable’. That exact quote could have been by Boullier for McLaren!!!

    • Mclaren was Fred ‘s getaway from ferrari… maybe vettel is laying the groundwork for the same escape route.

      • That’s not how I see it. 🙂

        Fred may be gloating now, but only because he likes to rub it in Ferrari’s face that things aren’t going as stratospherically planned. At the start of the season, when Ferrari was making waves of having closed the gap to Merc, he had pointed out that he still had a contract with Ferrari for this year and last year. I don’t think he willingly walked out of Ferrari — I’m convinced he was certain of finishing his career with Ferrari and hoping to become a Ferrari world champ, until Marchionne intervened. At the time he was a darling of Domenicali and LdM, and once both were removed Alonso had no longer any political support in the structure. I expect Marchionne simply didn’t want someone as political as Alonso driving for his team (at that point it became his team), and he wanted to show off as himself the one to have brought Ferrari back to winning ways, not least by securing a 4x German WDC for the team.

        Now that instead of Ferrari winning RBR is starting to step on their toes, Marchionne and Arrivabene and Vettel are starting to eat their tongs in excuses (and I expect another culling in Maranello is still on the cards), so it’s only natural that Fred will indulge in the odd poisoned dart towards Ferrari… When he was still at Ferrari, he didn’t refuse himself the odd poisoned dart towards McLaren…

  5. The way I see it. Out of jealousy or the need for revenge, if you are jealous of someone’s popularity, you might gossip about in order to hurt, if you feel that someone’s done something bad to you, or deserve to be hurt, making up a rumor might satisfy your sense of justice. people spread rumors and gossip to hurt others feelings because they are insecure, like bullies, spread rumors and gossip because they are either bored, mad or trying to stir-up some activity or to get attention.

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