Scuderia Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne is unhappy with the team’s poor performance so far this season, so much so that he has been in Maranello this week to hold meetings with key staff members.
Whilst the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS squad has gone from strength to strength in 2016, the red team have at times almost gone backwards, and Marchionne would like to know why.
The team have been without a win in 2016, and technical difficulties along with a large dollop of bad luck have really hampered their campaign, as they strive to catch the current leaders. They have even started losing ground to Red Bull Racing, who have now moved ahead of them on the development front, taking vital podium positions and wins away from the Maranello based squad, a situation that Marchionne is unlikely to tolerate for much longer.
The tragic passing of Technical Director James Allison’s wife, just after the Australian Grand Prix, saw the Italian squad’s progress halt for a short while, however since then they have been unable to move forwards in performance terms, when they should have been racing ahead. The squad is deeply struggling to maintain any good form on a race by race basis, with tyre management a major cause of their woes.
The chassis and aerodynamic departments have been the main area of Marchionne’s focus whilst back at the Ferrari base, as he investigates where it could all have gone wrong for the Scuderia, and why they seem unable to get to grips with their problems. A recent motorsport.com report advised that the Italian has held key meetings with personnel from those specific departments, in particular those who report to department heads, along with their juniors, to determine whether they feel there is more performance available within the SF16-H that should by now have been unlocked, or whether they believe the issues stem from senior management level.
Whether Marchionne will take his findings further going forward is unknown, but it could trigger the start of an internal structure shake-up, something the 64-year-old has alluded to previously, as has Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene, who commented after the British Grand Prix that big changes could be on the horizon at Ferrari, if things did not improve.
Though Arrivabene himself is believed to be safe for now, despite rumours out of Italy to the contrary, he could indeed find himself out of a job later in the year, if Ferarri’s season does not turn around.