Ferrari makes changes to its structure

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Despite lagging behind Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship, Ferrari’s team principal Mattia Binotto is working hard to ensure that his team has the perfect structure to get the best out of its resources in the near future.

Just after seven rounds into the 2019 FIA Formula One Championship, Ferrari is trailing Mercedes by 123 points while Sebastian Vettel is 62 points behind the championship leader Lewis Hamilton. Due to this deficit in the Standings and Mercedes’ advantage in terms of tyre management, it is obvious at the relatively early stage of the season that Mercedes looks set to steal its sixth constructors’ title in a row while Hamilton is on course to clinch his sixth world championship title.

Instead of standing still, Ferrari are adamant to understand the issues which hamper them to unlock the potential of their 2019 car, the SF90 as they want to find out what areas they have to work on intensively when they shift their focus on next year’s challenger. On the other hand, Mattia Binotto wants to strengthen the team structure. The Swiss-Italian took over the position of team principal from Maurizio Arrivabene on the 7th January. He was noted as team principal and technical director since the start of the season, but prior to the Canadian Grand Prix, his role was redefined, emphasising that he fulfils the position of team principal.

The 50-year-old said that Ferrari no longer has a classical horizontal structure. Instead of that, several people responsible for different key areas report to him and he has to filter the information to take the right changes and decisions.

Several other key positions were redefined to clarify the responsibilities within the team. Lewis Hamilton’s former race engineer Jock Clear was the team’s leading engineer, but his main responsibility for 2019 is his role as driver coach for Charles Leclerc. Toro Rosso’s former technican and FIA’s deputy race director Laurent Mekies who attended a Formula 1 race with Ferrari for the first time last November is responsible for the team’s sporting matters at the race tracks.

Team principalMattia BinottoDriver coach, leading engineerJock Clear
Sporting directorLaurent MekiesCharles Leclerc's race engineerXavier Marcos Padros
Head of strategyInaki RuedaCharles Leclerc's performance engineerBryan Bozzi
Head of track engineeringMatteo TogninalliHead of track operationsClaudio Albertini
Head of engine operationsLuigi FraboniChief mechanicChristian Corradini
Sebastian Vettel's race engineerRiccardo AdamiSebastian Vettel #1 mechanicFilippo Milani
Sebastian Vettel's performance engineerSteven PetrikCharles Leclerc #1 mechanicAlessandro Fusaro

Besides the adjustments to its structure, Ferrari made a series of recruitments in recent weeks to strengthen its workforce. Stephen Boyd was signed as a strategy expert. He recently worked for Liberty Media, but he was responsible for different tasks in the strategy department at different teams prior to his role at Formula One’s Commercial Rights’ Holder.

Maurizio Tomasselli will also join Ferrari in the coming weeks. The Italian was the coordinator of chassis development at Toro Rosso and his role at Ferrari will be similar to that. As an aerodynamicist, Hermann Wolche will get a role inside the windtunnel activities of Ferrari. The German worked at Mercedes recently. The engine department of the Italian team will be strengthened by the arrival of Francois Dejoyeaux who lately worked at Renault’s engine centre in Viry-Charillon. Nigel Rupert-Nuttling will arrive from Red Bull. The Briton will work on the correlation between the CFD-simulations and the track.

Summer dedicated to developments

Despite to the lack of pace during recent races, Ferrari has not been desperate to find remedy to its issues with the cornering speed of its SF90. It brought some aerodynamic updates to its car in Azerbaijan, followed by some minor other parts and a new internal combustion engine in Spain.

In the following two races, Monaco and Canada, Ferrari appeared with almost an identical car. However, it fitted a new turbocharger and a new MGU-H to both its cars to complete its first engine upgrade which it started with the new ICE in Spain.

However, the Italian team has not stood still in recent weeks and was working a series of developments which should enable them to get the most out of Pirelli’s 2019 tyres. Binotto said that there will be “a series of developments in the next races to improve the use of the tyres. We have ideas, and we need to hurry, but it will take a few weeks.”

According to the Italian La Gazzetta dello Sport, the team will introduce a raft of important developments in the next four grands prix. The impressive frenzy of updates will involve a new front wing in France, a new floor in Austria, a new diffuser at Silverstone, and new barge boards at Hockenheim.