Domenicali: It was a decision taken for the good of the team
But it was certainly his hardest decision
The Friday of the Monaco Grand Prix is always a strange day. Officially it’s a day of rest yet the paddock and the pit lane are a frenzy of activity until the evening. With so much time available, the engineers make the most of it to study the data they’ve collected in the three hours of yesterday’s free practice to the tiniest detail. They also meet with the drivers and give the latest information to the mechanics who have to prepare the cars for the rest of the weekend.
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro also followed this programme, with meetings that began at 11am and didn’t finish until after 7pm. Felipe and Fernando joined in with some of these briefings but they were also involved in PR activities, among them an autograph session organised by the grand prix promoter and cocktails with a group of Ferrari clients. For Felipe there was a special end to the day with his participation as a model at the Monaco Charity Fashion Show, which earned the most applause of the evening.
But Ferrari’s day was summed up above all by this afternoon’s briefing by Team Principal Stefano Domenicali for the press from Italy and the rest of the world. The hottest topic – and it couldn’t have been anything else – was the reorganisation of the technical division of the Scuderia that was announced last Tuesday.
“It was a decision that was taken for the good of the team, in order to improve,” explained Domenicali. “It was a rational decision, not an emotional one: a change that brings stability for the future.” It was certainly the hardest decision of Domenicali’s career, which will total twenty years at Ferrari a few days from now. “I don’t want to go into the details out of my respect for Aldo, a person who is a friend who I admire. We aren’t here to make things personal. Over the years there have been changes for various reasons: some have asked to have certain responsibilities taken away, such as Chris Dyer who had a problem of authority after the outcome of the race in Abu Dhabi. Now this decision was difficult because I’ve worked together with Aldo for so many years. But in my position you have to take the most rational decisions possible for the good of the team, even when they are hard.”
For those who made objections about timing, Domenicali replied: “These are structured timings that can’t be linked to the racing calendar. We want to keep competing for this world championship but we are obviously also working on the car for 2012, which is starting to take shape at this time. The decision was welcomed by the team, which reacted by immediately putting its foot on the accelerator. Clearly you can’t expect something to change in two days. It’s a question of changing working methods and trying to improve them, otherwise there’s no point in changing. We will try to establish different priorities in the car’s development.”
Domenicali didn’t play down his own responsibilities and he refused to see the reorganisation as a defeat for the Italian side of the team. “I know well that I am also under the microscope. It’s always like that and those are the rules of the game. It’s true that there is an Englishman, Pat Fry, in Costa’s place but when it comes to Italians there are also Marmorini and Lanzone alongside myself. Tombazis? Nikolas remains in charge of planning the car and he will have to concentrate on developing the aerodynamic side, the area where we concentrate the most effort. Perhaps the culture of aerodynamics doesn’t play a big part among the talents of Italy and we ought to make some important interventions to improve that situation.”