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Inside Line: The Ferrari F14T is as fast as an SUV

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Honestly, I set out to try and write nice, positive things about Ferrari ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, as I have many friends and even family that count themselves as tifosi – but alas I am struggling to see any light at the end of the [wind] tunnel for Italy’s finest Formula 1 team – and I am not alone it appears.

I scoured the most credible blogs and websites of experts in all things Maranello and came up with nothing positive to write about, the crisis that now sits heavy over Formula 1’s most celebrated team who seem to have their head in the sand.

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In fact Leo Turrini, respected and often hilarious Ferrari stalker declared that “the F14T is as fast as an SUV” and he wasn’t joking apparently.

And I am not going to argue with him as it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that apart from a pretty average V6 turbo power unit at their disposal, the sport’s most formidable duo Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen have been given knives to use in a gunfight – again the brains trust at Maranello have under delivered massively.

Solution to the problem: cut off the head of course. Hence the firing of nice guy Stefano Domenicali which was perhaps the step in the right direction but is he wholly to blame for the malice that has inflicted the team.

GP MONACO F1/2013

What about Pat Fry and his inept minions? Why does he still remain as the problems over the past few years have been technical. Sure the power unit this year has been well beaten by Mercedes and soon by Renault. But that does not explain the chassis defects that have plagued this current car and its predecessor.

In football when a top team under-performs the manager is sent packing, and along with him his hand picked staff follows out the door. But in Formula 1, with teams employing hundreds of people including a legion of managers, the team principal gets the boot but everyone else hangs on to their job – in this instance is it really Stefano’s fault that the F14T has hardly any grip thanks to woeful aero?

So Stefano carried the can. Then what does a legendary team do? Well of course such a team puts in place a manager with absolutely no Formula 1 experience whatsoever to motivate the members, vastly experienced individuals in most cases, and lead them out of the doldrums.

That’s has been the recovery plan of bella figura Luca di Montezemolo, who full of bluster and pomp declared that Marco Mattiacci is as inexperienced as Jean Todt was when the Frenchman joined the team, before leading them to the glory years in the new millennium.

Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice, Barcelona, Spain, Friday 9 May 2014.

The Ferrari cap di tutti capi conveniently forgot that Todt prior, to his Ferrari tenure, led Peugeot’s formidable motorsport activities for a decade overseeing numerous victories at Le Mans, in the World Rally Championships and at the Paris-Dakar along the way.

Mattiacci? A frequent guest at polo events and Ferrari related feel good affairs, who appears to be the chosen one of Montezemolo. And with that comes fast track to the top gun seat in the Ferrari team.

From where I stand this all looks doomed to fail…and I have hardly gotten started, because we can go on about the old wind tunnel, dead wood within the organisation, bad management across the board, the usual cries to stay calm (on the surface) while in the corridors of Maranello uncertainty looms large and panic spreads.

Going to Monaco where one would expect there to be a glimmer of hope for the Reds, the mood is bleak for the team that is now over a year without a Formula 1 victory…think about that. And not a win at Monaco since Michael Schumacher’s triumph in 2001.

Heading to this year’s edition of the world’s most prestigious race neither Fernando or Kimi seem confident about their chances on the Cote D’Azure.

Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday 11 May 2014.

The Spaniard predicted: “I think Monte Carlo will be one of the few possibilities to challenge Mercedes – especially for Red Bull. It is a chance, but not I think, for us.”

And the Finn was covering his bases: “The Monaco race is very complicated right from Thursday morning.”

Okay enough bad news!

Perhaps the only glimmer of hope as the situation stands right now – taking out of the equation the talk of Adrian Newey and Ross Brawn – is James Allison whose impact will only be felt when the next Ferrari is pushed out of the garage for testing next year.

Until then the pain is sure to remain for the tifosi as they watch their SUV trundle along from race to race – a tedious, sad season is on the cards for die-hard Ferrari fans. Sorry Joao, desculpa Vitor – but I tried hard to find something positive to say about your team… (Inside Line by Paul Velasco)

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