After a disappointing first half of the 2016 season in which Ferrari have failed to win a race or take a pole position, the most famous constructor in Formula One is set to make a raft of changes during the summer break in an effort to speed their return to the front of the pack.
One departure, that of chief technical officer James Allison, had been expected due to his own personal issues away from F1. However team boss Maurizio Arrivabene has said there will be further changes to the hierarchy at Maranello.
“We are reorganising the team without panicking because taking that decision means that we are clear in mind what to do in terms of organisation” Arrivabene said
Ferrari’s development has been focused on closing the gap to the Mercedes power unit, and while many consider the Ferrari combustion engine to be a touch superior to Mercedes now they still lag behind in use of the energy recovery and deployment systems. While they have been focusing on power though they have fallen behind with their aerodynamic package.
“In Canada we reacted quite well thanks to the engine […] we don’t have great improvement in downforce since Barcelona. That is the problem”
Ferrari have seen their early lead over Red Bull disappear and sit 3rd in the Constructors going into the break, thanks in part to four non-finishes and Sebastian Vettel failing to start the Bahrain Grand Prix. However Red Bull have improved dramatically throughout this season and now stand as the main competition to Mercedes.
Ferrari have a tricky decision to make – do they slow-down 2016 development and almost throw in the towel for this year and focus energy on next year’s car? With the huge raft of regulation changes they have a good shot at catching and overtaking Mercedes, much in the way Mercedes did in 2014 after when they stepped away from competing for a year to focus on new regulation development.
However Arrivabene’s job may rest on recovering second place this season. There is intense pressure coming down from the very top of Ferrari to restore their championship challenge in Formula One and if they turn their attention to 2017 it may result in someone else reaping the benefits.