x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Ferrari pull the throttle back on season chase

Formula One's most famous team is ready to surrender its 2009 ambitions and turn its attentions to next year.

The Ferrari team say they will turn their attention towards next year's car.
The Ferrari team say they will turn their attention towards next year's car.

Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali, suffocated by a season notable only for industry in-fighting and consistent under-achievement, has revealed Formula One's most famous team is ready to surrender its 2009 ambitions and turn its attentions to next year. Even Felipe Massa's accomplished drive and return to the podium in Germany has failed to convince the Scuderia Ferrari chiefs of the current car's competitiveness.

Domenicali's admission, which comes as Red Bull and Brawn GP continue to tear up F1's traditional form-book, signals more than just the end of Ferrari's current challenge. Rather, it is the formal precursor to them throwing all their formidable resources into a title-winning 2010 machine. "We have already started some work on the new project and in the next couple of weeks we will basically move on to make sure we do not lose any time," said Domenicali.

With a ban on refuelling during races also coming into effect next year, radical redesigns for all F1's existing teams, and those joining the paddock for the new season, will be required. A task not lost on the Ferrari boss. "We know next season will be crucial and we really want to start with a different pace," he said. Domenicali's comments effectively render Hungary as Ferrari's last potential hope of winning a race this season.

And despite recent developments restoring Massa and Kimi Raikonnen to the front of the grid, Ferrari's strategy is unsurprising. They have aready lost the constructors' title and neither of the drivers, both previous champions, is a realistic contender this time around. A long-running dispute between the FIA and Fota - over team budgets in the coming years - has also distracted the Prancing Horse outfit.

Ferrari have led the negotiations and the prolonged battle has had a detrimental effect on the team's performances, believes Domenicali. "It is a very critical moment for F1 and we have had to make sure we were doing our job." However, with the feud likely to end this week or next, Domenicali insists the aim for everyone in the sport is to restore F1's credibility. "For the benefit of F1, we really need to close this matter as soon as possible and find a new F1 that has more energy, more passion and positivity around it."

emegson@thenational.ae