Former Ferrari technical chief and Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn has insisted his recent trip to Ferrari’s Maranello factory was part of a “holiday”.
The 59-year-old’s presence at the team’s HQ and Fiorano test track earlier in the week sparked rumours of the Briton’s impending return to F1 after retiring from the sport at the end of last year.
However, the team confirmed Brawn’s visit was merely a part of an “Italian fantasy tour” with friends and the group enjoyed a day driving Ferrari’s at their test track. The man himself also told the BBC his trip would incorporate “as many vineyards as possible”.
Though the trip had been scheduled “for some time”, the timing was a little conspicuous as Ferrari enters a period of transition.
The team sacked now former team principal Stefano Domenicali on the Monday prior to the Chinese Grand Prix replacing him with Marco Mattiacci – a man with no F1 experience at all.
That weekend in Shanghai, Ferrari enjoyed their best result of the season as Fernando Alonso beat both Red Bull’s to claim his first podium in 2014 in third.
Like all the teams, the Scuderia has an array of updates coming to the F14-T for the first European race of the year, this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.
Particular focus seems to have been placed on the sidepods with Italy’s Autosprint quoting sources within the Maranello outfit as saying they were too small.
“We are learning how to get performance out of this new set of regulations and hopefully to make this car more competitive,” said technical director James Allison this week.
The company’s President Luca di Montezemolo, has also called for a major improvement in performance as those around also develop their cars.
“We must find ways to be faster,” he told Switzerland’s Blick newspaper, “otherwise the 2014 season will be over soon.”
One man desperate for a good result in Barcelona this weekend is Fernando Alonso, who heads to his native Spain commemorating the unwanted thought of it being a year since the double world champion claimed his last win at the Catalan track in 2013.
Despite the positive result in China, the man from Oviedo isn’t making any predictions for this weekend.
“We need to see,” Alonso was quoted by GMM. “We enjoyed the result of China but there is still a long way to go and we cannot promise anything for Barcelona.”
If Alonso is frustrated by the lack of wins, then that felt by his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen will be a lot worse.
The Finn has endured a miserable return to Maranello so far in 2014 and showed his obvious displeasure in a rare outburst criticising those who believe a drop in motivation could be behind his poor performances.
However, his team are confident the man who won his only drivers championship with them back in 2007, will rebound.
“Kimi is working extremely well with the team, collaborating with his engineers, with the other car across the garage, helping us to drive this car forwards,” technical chief James Allison told the official Ferrari website.
“[He is] helping to show us where it is weak and helping us to make it stronger.
“He has class written all over him and we know that within in a very short space of time, we will also be seeing the results on the track.”
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