Ferrari came within a whisker of snatching a (sometimes) seemingly unlikely 2010 Drivers’ Championship title for Fernando Alonso, and the team will hoping it can continue its strong momentum into the early half of the 2011 season.
The team’s recent weaknesses have centred around a lack of initiative and being too reactive. While they took a lucky 1-2 at last year’s season-opener, they didn’t start firing on all cylinders until they hit Europe, and it was almost too late.
Alonso is seemingly anointed for another title push, and if Felipe Massa struggles once again, they’ll have no hope for the Constructors’ crown.
Ferrari’s 2010 track record
Were it not for a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ pit wall strategic call at Abu Dhabi, we could well be seeing the numbers ‘1’ and ‘2’ emblazoned on the new 150° Italia.
Yet there were several things that were missing from Ferrari in in 2010. Perhaps it was that rather uninspiring livery with the white wings and blank engine cover (bereft of its Marlboro ‘barcode’ after claims of subliminal tobacco advertising reared their head). Granted, the car was solid all round and won at vastly different circuits – Germany, Italy, Singapore, Korea – but it was rarely the quickest car.
Indeed, for much of the season, it was barely the third-quickest, being forced to run leaner due to ongoing engine reliability concerns that were only solved by mid-season, and which severely affected the team’s practice mileage later in the year. It copied the trends of the ‘F-ducts’ and blown diffusers when its rivals came up with them, but the team was never at the forefront of technical innovation.
The barcode saga, stewards’ disputes and the team orders scandal – in particular – were ugly distractions which revealed the team’s inability to manage expectations within the team and its arrogance in managing the fans’ expectations on the outside.
With Massa seemingly off-the-boil and still on the recovery trail, the team may have had every right to operate almost as a one-car team in 2010. But they seemed to have forgotten to tell poor Felipe about their plans, and his motivation flagged badly just when he seemed to have found his mojo once again.
Meanwhile, Fernando did everything that was required from him, rarely putting a foot wrong and driving with great skill and passion. He remains one of the most complete drivers on the grid.
Watch the Richard’s F1 pre-season vodcast as Richard and Jen engage in some crystal ball gazing for Ferrari’s 2011 season:
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[Images via AUTOSPORT]
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