Ferrari Team Principal, Stefano Domenicali talks diffusers

Domenicali: "it's not a personal fight with Ross Brawn" Shanghai, 16 April 2009 -- Kimi Raikkonen skipped his usual Thursday meeting with the media, as he arrived late here in Shanghai, however, stepping in to provide valuable insights into the...

Domenicali: "it's not a personal fight with Ross Brawn"

Shanghai, 16 April 2009 -- Kimi Raikkonen skipped his usual Thursday meeting with the media, as he arrived late here in Shanghai, however, stepping in to provide valuable insights into the "diffuser affair" and Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's performance so far this season was Team Principal, Stefano Domenicali.

The Court of Appeal's ruling in Paris yesterday means that teams must now adopt a new diffuser design to be competitive with the Brawn GP team and others, whose interpretation of the new rules was declared legal. "It will take time to catch up," said Domenicali. "Because for us, this decision means that we must change our diffuser and in order to do that, we must change the rear of the car. If we do a good job, we should be ready by the time we return to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix: at least, that is our current target. As for the cost, it will cost a lot because we need to work in the wind tunnel, as well as redesigning and rebuilding the rear end of the car.

"Regarding the decision, as I said already yesterday, I am waiting with interest to see the full explanation behind it. It is strange in a way, looking at it calmly, that such a very long and difficult subject took little time for the court to resolve, therefore seeing the court's exact deliberation will be very interesting. What I can say now is that the situation should not have reached this point. The matter should have been resolved before the start of the season, in a very clear way. All of Formula 1 must learn from what has happened, because these events are not good for the image of the sport. Another issue is that it could have repercussions and cause a rift among FOTA member teams, as it is clear that tensions are now quite high. This is not a good situation as FOTA is very important for the future of Formula 1. These points will be discussed by us in a meeting scheduled for after the Bahrain Grand Prix.

In terms of how the championship might now pan out, the Ferrari man feels that the seven teams face an uphill struggle. "As for the rest of the championship, we can expect to have a very difficult time," he maintained. "I am sure Ross' (Brawn) car will be flying away and we will be trying to catch up as quickly as possible. But the more races that go by as you try and find the required performance level, the more points they will score. I am not saying we are already waving the white flag, because this is not in our mentality and we will fight right up to the moment that we can no longer win."

Despite the disappointment with the decision, Domenicali was also realistic about the Scuderia's own shortcomings so far this year. "Looking at the situation at the moment, we must be rational and therefore divide the picture into two parts: one part and it is a significant one, is linked to the diffuser, which has a major effect on performance. On the other side, we have to admit that, so far we have not performed well in that we did not have the necessary performance level, there were some reliability issues and we also made some mistakes. We have not worked up to our usual standard, so now we must react to reach the level we should be at. It is important to remain rational when looking at this and it is also important when referring back to the appeal and the court hearing, to understand that this is not a fight between Ferrari and Ross Brawn, as I have seen in some papers. It is a simple case that seven teams had a different understanding to the three teams that were challenged. This is not a personal fight."

Since the Malaysian Grand Prix, Ferrari has thought long and hard about how to turn its situation around and one decision taken concerns KERS. "We found a problem with the KERS on Kimi's car in Sepang and we have therefore decided not to run KERS this weekend in Shanghai," revealed Domenicali. "We need to understand what happened to the system from the point of view of safety and reliability. It has delivered a performance benefit, but if it is not running safely and reliably, we can no longer take the risk of running it. This weekend, we must therefore do the best we can with what we have and await the new developments on the car, while going back to basics in every area. To sum up, we are not happy and we must react immediately. I know the strengths of this team and I know that all the people are working flat out. It is important to remain cool and calm. So our hopes for Shanghai are to take home what we can. It will be difficult to win in terms of our performance level, but we must do the best we can."

As for Luca Baldisserri, the Scuderia's team manager moving to a factory based job, Domenicali had this to say: "Luca has great experience and we chose him to go back to the factory to work on the development of the new car, as it was essential to incorporate his trackside experience into this job. We felt that Chris Dyer was well able to handle the situation on the pit wall."

-credit: ferrari

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen , Ross Brawn , Luca Baldisserri
Teams Ferrari , Brawn GP