Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali unplugged

Stefano Domenicali at the Wrooom Summer event

Stefano Domenicali at the Wrooom Summer event

Aug.6 (PVM) While most of the Formula 1 world are enjoying quiet and discreet holiday destinations during the summer break, Ferrari F1 team boss Stefano Domenicali is in the Alps where he is doing a fair amount of cycling and a great deal of talking at the team’s summer retreat under the guise of Wrooom Summer 2011 at Madonna di Campiglio.

Plenty cycling on ther agenda

Plenty mountain biking on the agenda

Traditionally the Marlboro backed event, in January of each year, heralds the start of each season with a gathering for key team personnel, drivers from Ferrari and riders from Ducati and a host of media – all under the guise of Wrooom – the summer version attracts less of a crowd and not all of the drivers/riders. Nevertheless with key media assembled the Ferrari boss had a great deal to say.

Domenicali on Fernando Alonso
“For me, Fernando is the Number 1 driver in Formula 1 at the moment. I see a lot of similarities with Michael Schumacher, a driver who made his mark on our history. In fact, in some areas Fernando is even better, for example when I think of the speed with which he integrated himself into the team and the way he became its leader. In this he was much quicker than Michael who took a while to do that.”

Domenicali on Felipe Massa
I have seen that he was clearly on the up in the last three races and I am sure he will do very well in the second part of the year. Felipe has to stay calm and make the most of his talents, of which there are many: he is a very quick driver over a single lap, but maybe he needs to improve a bit in terms of his consistency in the races. It is definitely not easy being paired with someone like Fernando, but that should be a motivation for him not an excuse. For us, it is vital for Felipe to be on top of his game, given that for at least another year and a half, he is one of our drivers.”

Easy way to get up the hills

Easy way to get up the hills - take a ski lift...

Domenicali on Lewis Hamilton
“I am pleased he said never say never on the subject of Ferrari, in fact it is logical that everyone aspires to come to Maranello sooner or later, given what we represent in the history of this sport. Having said that, I don’t think the question will arise, neither in the short nor in the long term. For the Ferrari of the future, I believe the right combination is to have one well established driver with great experience, alongside a talented youngster on the way up. I do not think that, with the pressure we are under, we can consider having two youngsters in the team at the same time.”

Domenicali on Pat Fry
“I am the first to recognise the impact that [Pat] Fry has had in his new role. It has been very positive and has accelerated things nicely. Pat now has the chance to show what he is capable of, to set out the work according to his methodology and I can tell he is very motivated and I have great faith in him. Now our structure remains substantially stable: if an opportunity comes along to get someone really worthwhile, well then good, but the real secret is in finding the right combination of people, jobs and the character of the individuals. For example, I see a great relationship between Pat and Nikolas Tombazis, along with the support that comes from the amazing experience of an extraordinary man like Rory Byrne, who continues to be extremely valuable to us, even though he has been working only part time for several years now.”

Mark Webber territory...

Mark Webber territory...

Domenicali on the 2011 championship
“I always try and think positive. We believe in our chances and will continue to do so until it is a mathematical impossibility. Of course, we need to win races and maybe something could change. We could have done that already in this last bit of the season, but we know how that went and why. However, ifs and buts change nothing, so it is better to concentrate on the future. If I had to score our season so far, I would mark it a 6+, which represents the mid-point between the terrible start and a great fight back that we saw in the second part. I expect we will continue down this route which has seen Fernando Alonso score more points than any other driver in the last four races, all the way to the end of the season. Our aim is to win as much as possible and to have a car that is competitive at the highest level. Let’s not forget that, last year, while fighting all the way to the end, we were still behind Red Bull in terms of performance. We want to close the gap, which has already been considerably reduced if not almost wiped out in the last few races.”

Some prefer a stroll through the hills

Some prefer a stroll through the hills

Domenicali on the current state of F1
“Formula 1 has changed so much over the past five years. We have gone from a period in which heavy spending was the key to success to one where budgets are limited, as are one’s structures. We had already started this process of change before the past two years, but maybe it’s true that the success obtained by this group in 2007 and 2008 (two Constructors’ and one Drivers’ title) subconsciously made people a bit more resistant to change, as is normal if you are winning. In the future, it will be important to maintain close links with the universities, to pick out young talent and make them grow within the team and also for the mechanics, it will be important to create a true college to hone their skills. I think this is the key for the Scuderia over the next ten years, rather than going down the route of having a B team. In fact, already today we are bringing people on in some areas such as engine and gearbox, thanks to our customer teams.”

Domenicali on the 2012 season
“At the start of September, we will concentrate solely on next year, because we have already defined all the updates for the 150° Italia, at least up until mid-October. Sure, if something was to change, then we would react accordingly. In fact, apart from the area that concerns the exhausts, on 23 August, the Technical Working Group should shed some light on all the grey areas, the regulations are practically unchanged and therefore, development on today’s car can also be useful for next year.”