Formula 1

What's gone wrong at Ferrari?

Ferrari have a hill to climb to return to the F1 summit. (©GettyImages)
Ferrari have a hill to climb to return to the F1 summit. (©GettyImages).

One of the big F1 stories from the summer was the unrest emerging inside Ferrari, Fernando Alonso has become increasingly frustrated and serious questions have being asked - what's gone wrong?

One of the biggest issues Ferrari have had in recent years is development. When the car is good, upgrades are slow and when updates are good the initial car is poor.

The reason for this is Ferrari's malfunctioning wind-tunnel, engineers were finding correlation issues between the data coming from the tunnel and that gathered on the track.

Later this year the team will reopen the wind-tunnel following a major upgrade after using a facility in Cologne previously owned by Toyota.

However it's not just the wind-tunnel that has held Ferrari back, the technical team headed by Pat Fry and the design team have been unable to find the new innovations and development to keep up with their rivals.

Rather than leading the technological race in F1, Ferrari instead reacted to ideas and updates created by other teams and as a result just when they had caught up, the others had moved forward again.

In a bid to improve this Ferrari has hired respected designer James Allison to assist Fry with the fruits of their labour expected in 2014.

Of course compared to the team's lows of the late 80's, early 90's some would argue Ferrari aren't in a crisis at all, currently second in the drivers' and constructors' championship you would think all was relatively rosy at Maranello, but the problem is the table is quite misleading.

Ferrari have not won a race since Spain and in reality haven't been in contention for a win since that race, only Fernando Alonso's astonishing consistency has really kept Ferrari from being as low as fourth in the standings.

Indeed with four races to go they could still finish fourth with Lotus and Mercedes closing in from behind and a slower car.

The other two teams have also had their own struggles. At the beginning of the season Mercedes' tyre woes meant finishing in the top ten was sometimes an achievement despite starting at the front at nearly every race, while Lotus struggled with a lack of raw pace when their ability to look after the tyres couldn't help them.

Perhaps the biggest reason for Ferrari's apparent troubles is the rise of Vettel and Red Bull, on course to claim their fourth straight titles the German-Austrian combination has been unstoppable.

It hasn't been as if Ferrari hasn't had it chances in those four years however, Alonso has had two chances to beat Vettel, in 2010 and 2012, and failed on both occasions.

The competitive nature of Ferrari can also give the impression of trouble at the team, just today reports of team boss Stefano Domenicali and president Luca di Montezemolo not being on the same page would have you think there was unrest within the Scuderia however it simply shows the drive of the time that they want to keep pushing just to finish second.

The spats with Fernando Alonso during the summer when the car wasn't anywhere near the front also showed an edge that some saw as the Spaniard trying to find a way out but instead proved how high the expectations are.

Maybe 2014 provides the best chance for Ferrari to right the wrongs of the last few years, a clean slate gives them a chance to close down Red Bull and once again fight for the championship. Certainly with the arrival of Kimi Raikkonen the firepower on the track is there, its ensuring the foundation and then the development is there as well.

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Formula 1

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