It would seem that the internal reshuffle forecasted at Ferrari might have been a bit more severe than the Italian marque had first hinted at, and the key victim of the changes is none other than Australian Chris Dyer – former chief engineer to Michael Schumacher and Kimi Räikkönen – who has been booted off his perch as the team’s chief track engineer.
This role will now be assumed by Pat Fry – McLaren’s former designer – who will continue his role as Ferrari’s deputy technical director, while Fry has also been successful at headhunting former Red Bull strategist Neil Martin, who worked for Fry in McLaren’s race strategy team.
Looking at this from the outside, it would seem that Dyer has been made to fall on his sword for the strategy error at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where it was he who made the call to bring Fernando Alonso in for his pit stop early to cover Mark Webber’s early pit stop, putting both well down the order an allowing Sebastian Vettel to sweep through and take the championship.
A Ferrari press release states that Dyer’s role within Ferrari will be redefined in the coming days…
Team boss Stefano Domenicali has himself admitted in an interview with La Repubblica that he had initially contemplated quitting his post in the wake of Ferrari’s championship loss at Abu Dhabi. Sounds all a little melodramatic…
There seem to be two rather key ideas Ferrari seem to have forgotten as part of this restructure.
The first is that championships are never won or lost on the basis of one race, and if Ferrari was to look objectively at their 2010 season, they would be able to identify several points at which members of the team dropped the ball. Fernando Alonso binning his car during third practice at Monaco (forcing him to miss qualifying and having to start from the back of the grid) is one; and instructing the Spaniard not to cede his position illegally gained from Robert Kubica at the British GP would be another. I could go on…
The second is that Alonso himself admitted that he wouldn’t have won the championship by adopting a more conventional strategy at Abu Dhabi anyway, having simply not had the pace to finish ahead of Vettel or either of the McLarens who took the podium places.
Neil Martin’s appointment, meanwhile, is equally interesting. Originally hailing from the financial services industry, he developed a computer programme that he discovered had a practical application in Formula 1 race strategy. He pitched the idea to McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh, who hired him on the spot.
Martin (pictured left) was headhunted by Red Bull Racing and headed up its strategy division until the end of last season when he suddenly left the team and wasn’t seen again. It now turns out that the absence might have been ‘gardening leave’ while he transitioned to Ferrari…
So will any of these changes bring about the direction that Ferrari needs to be a serious contender in 2010, or are we getting a little bit of history repeating when we saw a Gestione Sportivo in chaos during its winless period of the late 1980s to mid 1990s, when the team underwent more restructures than Mickey Rourke…
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