Weekly: How will Fernando fit the Ferrari mould?

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Weekly: How will Fernando fit the Ferrari mould?

Post by phil1993 » 06 Jan 2010, 07:58

How will Fernando fit the Ferrari mould?
#02 | 6th January 2010 | by Phillip Horton

For Ferrari, this is definitely the start of a new era. Michael Schumacher has completely left the team and they have a double world champion on board. The question is whether Fernando can make this era his own or whether he will suffer a repeat of Kimi’s problems.

It has often been pointed out how the Ferrari team have warmed to Felipe Massa. This is mainly due to his upbringing and they way he sees the squad as his team and the unit as a family. He has been with them since 2003 and they have been through a lot together: difficult times, glory, championship heartbreak and of course, the life threatening crash. Whilst questions linger over Massa’s race fitness (although it is pretty certain that he will be like the Felipe of old), it is plain to see that, like Hamilton at McLaren, he is the team’s favourite.

Kimi didn’t fit in with the team. His ‘Iceman’ persona worked at McLaren, but at the Italian squad, they didn’t like the lack of involvement with a man that was meant to be their new superstar. Perhaps they tried to turn him into Michael Schumacher, a feat which was never going to be achieved because Kimi is Kimi and he won’t change. Michael was heavily involved with the team: he would spend hours in the garage helping the engineers fine tune the car and he would eat dinner with them and have close relationships with all variety of people inside the squad: they were his people and it’s the same for Felipe. He and Rob Smedley, his race engineer, are like brothers.

Ferrari also has to change: they need to get out of the mentality of the early 21st century in that they’re not going to have a car which is a second a lap faster. In modern F1, that’s not possible. Whilst most of the key personnel have changed and the dream team have parted ways, the current personnel could be questionable in terms of their knowledge. Whilst Stefano Domenicalli is a very solid team principal, they do not have a Ross Brawn or an Adrian Newey and some of Ferrari’s race decisions have also been dodgy. Not fitting the right tyres at the right time or assuming a driver is safe in Q1 when they’re not. This can lose championships. Ferrari is no longer the best team in F1, there are four top teams (McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari) with others occasionally challenging the order - the likes of Force India, Williams and Renault - the latter believing that they can challenge for the title again in 2011. Five into one doesn't go. Someone has to finish fifth. Ferrari won't accept second so they have to be on the ball, all weekend long, all championship long.

Now Felipe has a new pal joining him in the shape of Alonso. The Spaniard is unquestionably at the peak of his career – at the age of 28 – he has volumes of experience combined with phenomenal speed. His consistency is something which also makes him stand out from the rest. The problem comes with Fernando himself and his temperament. In 2009, he looked relatively calm and settled, learning to deal with an uncompetitive car away from the front and away from the media spotlight. This year, he’ll be firmly in the media spotlight for the first time since 2007 and his uber bust up with Lewis Hamilton. If things don’t go his way, will he throw a tantrum again? Probably not, because he has very few other places to go. Another issue for Fernando is getting the tifosi on his side: The passionate supporters of the team. Team. That word epitomises Ferrari and that is what Fernando has to learn. In China in 2006, he had lost the race to Michael Schumacher: a turning point in the championship; his 26 point lead had dissipated. He said that he didn’t feel like the team [Renault] were supporting him and when Giancarlo Fisichella was aided at points in 2005, Alonso’s frustrations were also visible, albeit not so bluntly. These were just minor occasions. What could happen on major occasions: when Massa wins a race and Alonso struggles? Felipe Massa is probably going to pose about the same threat as Lewis Hamilton. Giancarlo Fisichella, Nelson Piquet and Jarno Trulli are not as good as Felipe Massa. Another feature of Felipe is the fact that he is like wine: he gets better with age. Fernando against the Felipe of 2005 would have hammered him to the extent that Ferrari would have lost faith with the Brazilian. On the form of 2008 and 2009 they could be quite equal. The main issue that gives us a problem is whether Massa will return from his accident on fine form. Rubens Barrichello says that Massa is the same as before, but now with a son and starting to begin life as a family man, he might think twice before trying a risky manoeuvre.

How Fernando, as the new boy joining the team, will deal with him is a tantalising prospect. Like Jenson Button, who is in a similar situation, he will need to be quick out of the blocks and put Felipe in his place before the Brazilian does the same to him. He doesn’t want a repeat of 2007 where his team mate gets the advantage and a number two role appears to be going his way. With the likes of Hamilton, Vettel and maybe even Schumacher challenging for the championship, it is difficult for both drivers from the same team to mount an attack. Fernando has to make sure he is the one ahead of Felipe or 2011 might be difficult too.

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Next week: Renault: On the road to recovery
Out 13/1/2010

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Re: Weekly: How will Fernando fit the Ferrari mould?

Post by cformula1 » 06 Jan 2010, 08:05

Another great article. Hopefully Fernando, Felipe and Ferrari have a good car that is very competitive. I've been very impressed with Fernando's attitude lately. He seems to be, if anything, grateful to Ferrari for giving him another chance.
But he does need to beat Felipe. If he is beaten, his stock value will plummet and Massa's stock value will rise very high.
2010 is going to be a year when many questions are answered.
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Re: Weekly: How will Fernando fit the Ferrari mould?

Post by Tom Vandenhove » 06 Jan 2010, 11:38

Once again a good article, Phil ! I completely agree with you.. Just like in the first article. I think that's why so many people like your articles. They don't really have a personal opinion.

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Re: Weekly: How will Fernando fit the Ferrari mould?

Post by blizzard » 06 Jan 2010, 14:02

good article once again!

A slight suggestion from me to you would be to try and create a bit more of a catchy atmosphere in your articles. They are good and well thought, but when I compare them to newspaper articles, they are a bit more catchy, it´s like someone tells me a story, whereas your articles lack that at this point.

I can see a lot of potential in yoi, you´re still very young and the talent is there. Would be nice to see you writing for money one day. Keep it up man, as long as the passion is there improvements will come :O

cheers
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Re: Weekly: How will Fernando fit the Ferrari mould?

Post by phil1993 » 06 Jan 2010, 14:10

Thanks for the positive comments blizzard, they're appreciated :)

One thing is that I assume knowledge: I try and explain the things you already know rather than tell you, but I'll try and change a bit for the better. I've always been told at school to show rather than tell.

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Re: Weekly: How will Fernando fit the Ferrari mould?

Post by MP4/4#12 » 10 Jan 2010, 20:21

Can`t wait for the Renault article mate !

About Nando, i think he`s a born champ, just like Hami or Schumi or Senna......
He`s got the talent to succeed at any team, his problem it`s his "big mouth" sometimes, and the issue is not about beating Massa but how he`ll "conquer" the team, something he couldn`t do at Macca....then he was somehow frustrated by it, this could happen again.

Regarding your article, i can only say it sucks :p. Seriously, you become better when you don`t write about brits, more impartial or something, you should be like this all the time. Cheers

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Re: Weekly: How will Fernando fit the Ferrari mould?

Post by sdutt » 11 Jan 2010, 15:33

another good article Phil. :)
just one thing i wanted to point out was that you wrote that Massa has been with Ferrari since 2003, but officially he was there from 2005, and before that it was only Nicolas Todt who was with him and that started before 2003. correct me if i am wrong.
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Re: Weekly: How will Fernando fit the Ferrari mould?

Post by phil1993 » 11 Jan 2010, 15:37

Massa was Ferrari's test driver in 2003 and retained a strong connection with them in 2004 and 2005.

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Re: Weekly: How will Fernando fit the Ferrari mould?

Post by Senninha25 » 11 Jan 2010, 18:34

nice. Enjoyed every word of the article and I'm eager to read the Renault one.

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Re: Weekly: How will Fernando fit the Ferrari mould?

Post by phil1993 » 11 Jan 2010, 20:19

Thanks. I'll post the Renault article on Wednesday.

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