Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Sepang International Circuit, 2016

‘Climate of fear’ reigns at Ferrari – Baldisserri

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In the round-up: Luca Baldisserri, a former Ferrari sporting director and race engineer to Michael Schumacher who left the team at the end of last year, says team members are now too afraid of being fired to take risks.

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  • 50 comments on “‘Climate of fear’ reigns at Ferrari – Baldisserri”

    1. “Toto Wolff said to me after the race in Suzuka that the title is now down to reliability.”

      I think we all knew that from Lewis’ car failed to do a lap in Q3 @ Sochi. But don’t bet on Rosberg’s car failing. Niki already told everyone post qualifying in Japan, that the team had “solved their reliability issues”. So I don’t know what Toto’s talking about.

    2. Ferrari have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory many times this year. Personally I feel that Marchionne is not a good leader to rally everybody at Ferrari. But lets remember that i took schumacher awhile to win a championship at Ferrari so lets not write them off just yet. I also think that Seb might be over driving the car this year thinking he is driving the car he hopes he has and not the car he thinks he has. Ferrari arent my favourite team but it hurts to see a legendary team perform badly and for the team to seem like they arent working together, working in fear they might get let go. That is never going to produce a high quality team

      1. Marchionne needs to leave Ferrari alone. He meddles too much. Arrivabene needs to be given free reign to hire and fire who he wants. Their goal should be to make Ferrari a less of bureaucracy.

        1. Arrivabene needs to be replaced by a German. That much emotion on the pitwall is useless, he always looks like he’s smoked a bit too much and doesnt know what he should be doing.

      2. I never understood why they fired Marco Mattiaci, he was the best leader Ferrari had in years.

        Anyway, hearing statements like these isn’t good on the brink of a huge change in the sport.

        Will Vettel continue with the team beyond 2017 if their car is a dog? If I was him I’d check out Indycar or WEC.

        1. Is it because Mattiacci joined Faraday Future?

          1. Nope, @ustav911. Mattiaci was thrown out of the team leader role and shoved out at Ferrari more likely because he was “popular” with investors in the US and maybe the big wig thought him to be a potential future rival for him.

            He joined Faraday Future only several months later, probably after his contract officially ran out.

      3. @jamiejay995 comparisions with Schumacher are always nice, but remember that he basically moved the big brains at Benetton to Ferrari. All the guys that had beaten the mighty Williams for 2 years in sucession followed him. There was a sense of stability even after failing to win in 4 consecutive years. And they were always a step ahead than they were in 1995, when the Schumi-project started. Today, they are worse than in 2010, and they never really recovered. Only last year a bit, but as Alonso pointed out then, it was more because the other teams failed to progress than Ferrari themselves.

        I get the feeling that those Schumacher years of “failure” (if you can call 96-99 that way) were spent with Alonso. They came oh so close in 2010 and 2012, just like in 97, 98 and 99. And after that, instead of finally getting there like in 2000, the rules changed, the engine became the most important item in the car, and Ferrari failed miserably, the italian press started playing their game of “THIS IS A DISGRACE!”, Montezemolo left Bahrain saying F1 isn’t a sport anymore, people were fired, some left, restructuration after restructuration, drivers changed and it’s still chaos.

        One could argue that with regulations changing again next year Ferrari can finally fight for victories and championships, but they are a big, big mess right now.

        I think Arrivabene’s declarations about Seb will not go well among any in the team. Comparing eras again, but you never, ever, heard Jean Todt critizicing Schumacher…

        1. If Seb had got Ferrari to open a tech design centre in UK with Newey and Peter Prod it would be a different Ferrari. He didn’t’t steal much from red bull unlike MS.

        2. Any link for that declaration?

      4. As they say, the fish rots from the head down. And Mr. Marchionne seems to have been quite successful in creating a toxic work environment. Pretty sad. Ferrari have been getting close to being very competitive at times and then it washes away. It would almost be less painful if they were just bad all the time. Such a shame squandering all these amazing resources.

      5. The problem with Ferrari recently has definitely been lack of long term vision. It seems like if you don’t deliver in the space of a season or two you’re out. Someone like Renault seems to have a better “rebuilding” going on: they stated that it takes five years to challenge for the championship. Of course, the mighty Ferrari cannot say this, as they must deliver every season (or state that NEXT year will be the big one!). I fail to see what is the point of hiring someone for two years and then sacking them right when things might start to go well.

    3. Montezemelo’s process was “Ferrari is losing, so I will take a high-profile employee and publicly fire & humiliate them, laying the team’s failure at their feet, in the hopes that the rest of the team will work harder and win.” Marchionne appears to be continuing this attitude, and I’d hoped that Arrivabene would work differently, but I guess not.

      There is no scenario where people who need to work in a *creative* environment, which is what F1 engineering/design is, can work well without freedom to take risks without fear of reprisal, and career-ending public humiliation. Finding the edges of the rules, finding novel exploits, working together to try something as risky as the initial introduction of the split turbo or turbulent-jet injection – those are high-risk decisions with high potential for failure. They don’t seem so only *after* the fact.

      But they require someone to stick their neck out and risk failure to try to achieve something great. If there’s a Sword of Damocles hanging over you all the time, you cannot take those risks, which means the best you’ll ever get is high competent conservative execution. Which is what Ferrari’s gotten over the last few years – 2nd place. 3rd place. To win takes greatness, and greatness requires the ability to reach beyond what is safe.

      Until Ferrari changes their management style, they’ll never produce a winning team again.

      1. +1 This should be COTD.

      2. Very good comment 👍

        It does beg the question – are Ferrari so internalized in their own historical management technique and historical pride to not realize that any half-decent company treats its employees as assets? I mean, these guys are in the F1 paddock where various star engineers are head-hunted and sought after, so they should see what’s in front of them. Recruiting a big name and then holding a gun to their head will not produce the best results.

      3. Spot on. Good post @helava

    4. Vettel to Mclaren to replace Alonso mid-season 2017…

      1. So the guys who is currently being beaten by Kimi is going to go and replace the guy who utterly destroyed Kimi?

        Yeah, that makes sense!

        If Alonso leaves, Button will be driving.

        1. Kimi doesnt care about 2nd place… Alonso does. Sad.

          1. To be fair, the difference between his “not caring” for 2nd place and his “caring” for 1st place is barely noticeable. Maybe he drinks a couple more bottles if he wins, but apart from that…

        2. What you really mean to say is the guy who never choked when he had the best car of the field…. when you refer to Seb.

          Something we might not be able to say about another “top’ish” rated driver.

          1. When did Alonso choke in the best car?

          2. So Alonso chocked in 2007
            really, it had nothing to do with Ron screwing him over so Lewis can win the title
            Alonso’s only error was not chocking but not staying calm and lost the plot in Japan and crashed out of anger
            befor the 1st pit stops Alonso was behind Hamilton After hit pit stop he was 10 places behind
            thats being screwed by your team
            out of anger and red mist he crashed
            had he kept cool come home 3rd to lewis that day hed be 3 x champion
            enough said

            1. “Alonso’s only error was not chocking but not staying calm and lost the plot in Japan and crashed out of anger”

              That’s called choking.

        3. @nick101 Beaing beaten by Kimi? What world are you living in?

          1. What world am I living in? Ummm…that would be the real world. You know, the one where Kimi is 2 places higher on the championship table than Vettel.

            1. @nick101 That’s like claiming that Kvyat was better than Ricciardo last year. The points table does not always take certain things into consideration.

            2. @craig-o you mean Things like Vettel ruining at least Three of his own and two of kimis Races? ;-)

            3. @mrboerns Vettel was absolutely not at fault for what happened at China if that is what you’re getting at. Spa, maybe. Malaysia, absolutely.

              It doesn’t take into consideration the DNS at Bahrain, the tyre failure at Austria, the assortment of gearbox penalties, suspension failures in qualifying or the ridiculous amount of points lost through baffling strategy calls. Granted, Raikkonen has had some bad luck too, but not as much in terms of reliability as Vettel.

              Raikkonen has only finished ahead of Vettel three times this season – Spain where the strategy played into Raikkonen’s hands, Britain where Vettel was bumped down the order by a gearbox penalty, and Singapore where Vettel started last through no fault of his own. Vettel has finished ahead eight times.

              To claim that Raikkonen has outperformed Vettel this year is simply baffling.

    5. This Lewis’ photo is good for the next caption competition.

      1. It would probably just invite all sorts of nastiness from the anti-Hamilton trolls on here.

        1. “Lewis we said show us your CHOKE move, not your high kick….”

      2. The higher powers took my red shoes…

        1. Now we know how he got the sore foot. We knew it couldn’t be from accelerating off the line in Japan.

        2. That is what you get when not wearing socks in your dinner shoes.

      3. Lewis Hamilton is the next Zoolander.

      4. Championship lost: Jimmy Choo to blame for Hamilton’s poor starts.

    6. Although the ‘heads will roll culture’ a Ferrari is responsible for a part of their miserable performance, the biggest problem lies in Ferrari’s secret sauce to winning championships.

      Ferrari was always competitive in the era of unlimited testing. They were the only team with their own race track, and they had a team testing 365 days a year till they got things right. They’ve followed that philosophy to create championship winning cars and had never prepared themselves for preparing a car without the trial and error method.

      I remember Pat Fry joining Ferrari from Mclaren and commenting on how backward Ferrari’s simulator was compared to Mclaren. They also had faulty wind tunnels that were not as developed as some of the other teams at the time. Ferrari didn’t have the tools to cope without unlimited testing, nor did they have a Ross Brawn or an Adrian Newey to set up a team for this era of simulation design. On top of that they fired a lot of good resources like Aldo Costa, Chris Dyer, etc.

      I think Ferrari needs to restructure their whole approach if they want to start winning again.

      1. They also fired Baldisseri and now James Allison.

        1. I believe Allison was not fired, but left himself because his wife died and he needed to spend more time with his family in the UK.

      2. Ferrari does seem to have something in common with some British; They have their heads so stuck in their past greatness that they can’t figure out the present nor prepare for the future.

      3. One of the sadder parts of this to me is @todfod,@bascb is that Ferrari seemed to be working behind the scenes to fix that during 2010-2013, one reason stated for the aero issues in 2012 was change to the new windtunnel etc., then they messed up priorities for 2014, thinking they could out-redbull the aero – but they regrouped, messily, got Allison and others to use the new equipment, got Vettel, and then the top structure changed, and reset the timeline.

    7. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      13th October 2016, 8:06

      Ferrari need to bring in the top management at Merc like Schumacher taking the guys him Benetton.

      1. Ah, but would they want to join? Knowing full well that they are likely to be savaged by either the CEO or the Italian media in short order?

      2. You mean, they need someone like Jean Todt who built up Ferrari from nowhere starting just like he did with every team where he took control before that.

        Or do you mean someone like Schumacher who built up Mercedes from nowhere to nowhere?

    8. Its all well and good saying Marchionne has to go or Arrivabenne has to go but its not going to change soon. Since 2004, Ferrari have won 3 world titles. They have fallen behind in regulation changes in 2005,2009 and 2014. As testing became limited Ferrari found it harder get quicker. If they screw it next year then there going to struggle for a good few years. Its the lack of clear direction and planning, the meddling from the higher ups and the media and the lack of consistent team building. People come in, then go and the team is in flux, theres always change. Everything’s kneejerk, it took Todt an co 4 years to win a world title. Theres no consistency.

    9. That “climate of fear” has been paralyzing Ferrari since 2010. Luca was responsible for it back then and Marchionne has picked up where Luca left off. When everyone is afraid to make a mistake, creativity and innovation take a nose dive. That culture also discourages top level talent from joining the team. The Scuderia needs a massive culture change but I don’t see any sings of that happening. The massive egos of Luca & now Marchionne and simply won’t allow them to look at themselves as any part of the problem.

    10. “”They are no longer a team but a group of scared people. Inside there is a climate of fear, the boys do not take risks, they don’t make decisions for fear of being kicked out in disgrace.””

      Ferrari being Ferrari again?

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