F1 Constructors' Championship: Can Ferrari Return to the Top in 2012?

Michael PettiferContributor ISeptember 15, 2011

NORTHAMPTON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 10:  Fernando Alonso of Spain and Ferrari celebrates with team mates in the pitlane after winning the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone Circuit on July 10, 2011 in Northampton, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Third position in the constructors' championship would indicate a highly successful season for most teams in the Formula One paddock. Ferrari, however, are slightly underwhelmed at being outside the top two teams in the 2011 standings.

The Italian team, who could only offer a third place podium position to their adoring Tifosi support in Monza, have publicly let it be known that development on this year's car has been stopped. The research and development teams will now focus on the 2012 season, and on putting the Ferrari name back at the top of F1.

"We have stopped the development," said Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari's team boss. "We were expecting a bigger step in our development in Spa. Unfortunately we discovered it was the opposite so we took a step back (in performance,) and that was also a step back for Monza."

Domenicali, who was recently told by Ferrari president, Luca di Montezemolo, that he would remain as team leader for 2012, has decided to re-focus on next season following a number of disappointing upgrades to the car.

The latest upgrade—a redesigned exhaust system—did not provide the team with the performance boost that they had planned for.

The hope is that by focusing considerable resources on next year's car, they can close the performance gap between themselves and the top two teams before the beginning of the 2012 season. 

That is certainly Di Montezemolo's intent: "Next year, I expect a competitive car with a clear interpretation of the rules. I hope to win the championship again." The demanding Ferrari president added that he was "not happy" with the way things have gone this season.

The race has already begun, away from the track, to develop a winning car for next season. Ferrari's biggest rivals, Red Bull and McLaren, have both started development on their new cars, and Ferrari will look to take bigger steps, faster. They certainly have the resources to do it.

Pat Fry, the former McLaren engineer, and his team, have already started work on the 2012 Ferrari. Expect to see big changes when the car is unveiled next year.