Jan.12 (Ferrari) Serenity. That was the aura given off by Stefano Domenicali, who has been Team Principal of Scuderia Ferrari since January 2008. His is no easy task: when you are at the helm of the most successful team of all time in Formula 1, there is almost an obligation to keep it winning at all times.
If that induces any particular anxieties, especially after a disappointing year like the one the team went through in 2011, one would be hard pressed to spot it from Stefano’s demeanor and he was also keen to explain the reasons for his serenity. “Going into a season suffering from anxiety does not help and it’s an attitude that serves no purpose.
“Clearly, this will be a tricky year, but that is part of any sport, even more so when one looks at the environment in which Ferrari operates. There are expectations that need to be managed as well as possible and I am well aware that the emotional aspect is very important in a team like ours. But that will not change my approach: we will not get over excited if things go well, nor will we be down if we have some difficulties, especially at the start, because we know this is going to be a very long season. We must stay grounded and calm, maintaining our motivation and concentration.”
“Of course, winning is our primary objective and I believe we are preparing ourselves in the right way for this. Everyone is working hard on improving the performance of the car, paying great attention to every little detail. I expect even those who have just joined us to make a significant contribution to what is already a strong group of people. Because once in a while a breath of fresh air can liven things up.”
Asked to describe the new car that will be launched in Maranello on 3 February, Domenicali had this to say: “It’s definitely different, because it represents a clear break with the past in terms of the design philosophy. It’s not that pretty, because the shape defined by the technical regulations does not leave much scope, but, and this is what counts really, our hopes are that it is at the very least quick!”
“I asked our engineers, as far back as last summer to look into every little nook and cranny of the rules to push it to the limit, but up until we see the other cars we will not know if we have taken it to the limit or are within it. Then, to really understand the hierarchy we will have to wait for qualifying in Melbourne: we must always bear in mind that the times one sees from testing are not always what they seem. At Jerez and the two Barcelona tests, we can get a rough idea but nothing more.”