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Formula 1: Briatore Broadside Writes Off Flawed Ferrari for 2011

Craig ChristopherAnalyst IApril 20, 2011

Luca di Montezemolo at the 2011 Ferrari F1 Launch
Luca di Montezemolo at the 2011 Ferrari F1 LaunchHandout/Getty Images

Flavio Briatore is not a man renowned for his deep introspection and making carefully considered and moderate statements. Like the company with whom he made fame and fortune—Benetton—he is bold, brash and can occasionally get on people’s nerves, but above all, he's almost impossible not to notice.

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone, therefore, that Briatore has looked at the 2011 Formula 1 season and already—after only three races—declared that Ferrari should give up any hope of winning and concentrate on developing their car for 2012.

He bases this bold assertion on the fact that at 1.5 seconds per lap behind the leading Red Bull car, it is too big a gap to make up. Of course, if the gap was that big he might have a point, but the reality is that in races—when it actually counts—the gap is under half a second.

Then again, everything that Briatore says must be examined in context and what he is really doing is defending the driver that he manages, Fernando Alonso.

He is quoted in The F1 Times as saying “The pilot is important, but the car is even more so, if a driver is competitive, a competitive car makes a difference, but Fernando [Alonso] cannot because the problem is the car.”

Strangely, there is no mention of the fact the Alonso has been comprehensively beaten by his supposed No. 2 teammate, Felipe Massa, in the last two races.

Briatore accused Ferrari engineers of lacking creativity and of building a flawed car, which is a bit harsh—especially when you consider that Ferrari are in the same position as they were last year when Alonso almost stole the title from out of Red Bull’s hands.

That’s not to suggest that Ferrari are happy with their progress either. Ferrari president, Luca di Montezemolo is also reported to have said that he will not stand for mediocrity and, "I expect our engineers to act with determination and know-how, unleashing the maximum of their capacity to improve the performance of the car in a short time.”

It makes you wonder what he thinks the engineers have been doing up until now.

Ferrari performed brilliantly in pre-season testing, however, F1 is a sport that never stands still. Cars are updated at nearly every race and change happens very rapidly. Ferrari have had a widely reported issue with translating their wind-tunnel data onto the car, however, now that the problem is identified, expect things to start getting better.

It’s difficult to imagine that Alonso will be sending his manager a thank you card for doing this. He is a racer and he wouldn’t be too keen to be writing off his season just yet.

It doesn’t require a long memory to recall that Red Bull themselves were in a similar predicament at the start of the 2010 season—they were fourth after two races—however they turned it around with a one-two finish in Malaysia and never looked back.

Neither they, nor McLaren, would be writing off Ferrari just yet.

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