Old Ferrari regime to thank for F1 form, claims ex-designer

Ferrari's return to form in 2015 is the result of the efforts and investment of its old regime, not its new bosses, claims former chief designer Nikolas Tombazis.

Old Ferrari regime to thank for F1 form, claims ex-designer
Nicholas Tombazis, Scuderia Ferrari, Chief Designer
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF15-T
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari on the grid
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF15-T on the grid
Sebastian Vettel, Scuderia Ferrari
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Maurizio Arrivabene and Fernando Alonso
Nikolas Tombazis
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari F14-T
(L to R): Fernando Alonso, Ferrari with Marco Mattiacci, Ferrari Team Principal and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari at a team photograph

The Greek designer was sacked by Ferrari at the end of last year as new team principal Maurizio Arrivabene made sweeping changes to the organisation after a troubled 2014 campaign.

But although Arrivabene has overseen Ferrari take two victories so far this season, Tombazis believes much of the progress comes from work done by himself and other staff last year – and especially the fact Ferrari was able to make use of an upgraded windtunnel.

In a revealing interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Tombazis said: “I didn't expect to be fired. First of all I do not reject my responsibilities, but I worked less on the 2014 car than the other cars before it.

“Second, the car of 2015 car was the first one, since that of 2008, on which I was able to work with a lot of time on my hands. 

"It was also the first to exploit an up-to-date windtunnel. We wouldn't have matched Mercedes this season, but we would have improved. But by view was not shared by those who came to Maranello."

He added: “Ferrari could have fired me at other times. But to do it now was illogical. I would have expected some different treatment. I felt sorry for [Stefano] Domenicali and [Luca] di Montezemolo also.

“They always gave me a lot of confidence and their exit from Ferrari was a shock. Everyone has made mistakes, but the 2015 rebirth was started with old staff."

Facing pressure

Tombazis suggests that much of Ferrari's struggles in recent years was because its windtunnel has fallen behind what was needed to be successful in F1.

That much was proved by the fact Red Bull, with huge investment in its facilities, was able to pull off four consecutive world championship doubles under the guidance of Adrian Newey.

Tombazis said: “Since 2010, Red Bull was always ahead, but Fernando [Alonso] was close to beating them. Would the title have helped us? Psychologically, yes. However, since 2009 we never had the strongest single-seater on the grid.”

He added: “Newey is a genius, but Red Bull has not the same pressure we had in Ferrari. The environment in the team was bad. It was like having a gun behind our back, and our problems started with the windtunnel in 2009.”

Alonso regret

Tombazis insists he is not bitter about being dropped by Ferrari, and says his biggest regret is not delivering the world title for Alonso.

“We never had a winning car for Fernando, which is bad,” he said. “He was the best driver out there, and maybe he will be again. Ferrari should have kept him...and me.”

Don't miss: Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel on Inside GP...

 

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