A Message from the Prancing Horse Whisperer

February 24, 2010

So is this a race car transporter or a horse box?

Autosport has recently picked up on some comments featured on the Ferrari team website under the title of the ‘Horse Whisperer’. It is a channel that Ferrari have used to informally comment on F1 issues, particularly as they relate to regulations and the position of the governing body, the FIA. In the lastest instalment of the Horse Whisperer, they make reference to the damage caused by the ‘Holy War’ between the teams and the former FIA President, he’s not mentioned by name, but it is pretty safe to assume it is Max Mosley. The key message of this post is that in focusing on bringing in new teams and neglecting, or even discouraging, the manufacturers the FIA have had a negative effect on F1.

This is a position which Ferrari have stuck to all the way through 2009, they often referred to F1 now being more like F3, a direct reference to the background of some of the new entrants. Of course Ferrari did have their own agenda which was to extend the grid, not through new entrants, but by allowing well resourced teams to run a third car, this certainly would have helped them with their problem of having more drivers under contract than they could accommodate in two cars. If the FIA had moved in this direction then we would, in all likelihood, have seen a Massa, Alonso, Schumacher line-up in Ferraris this year, imagine that!

The Horse Whisperer is well worth a read for a Ferrari perspective on the world of F1, as you can see from the following quote – with my parentheses : “two teams [Lotus and Virgin] will limp into the start of the championship, a third [Campos] is being pushed into the ring by an invisible hand [ie it is probably Mr E.]  – you can be sure it is not the hand of Adam Smith [could the Horse Whisperer be an economist?] – and as for the fourth [USF1], you would do better to call on missing persons to locate it.”

Of course Enzo Ferrari himself was never really happy with new small teams, for many years he disliked the British constructors referring to them as ‘garagistes’ or ‘assemblatori’, although it is also fair to say that he developed a great respect for Colin Chapman and Lotus (that’s the original Lotus, not the current reincarnation).  But new teams can be good for F1. Most importantly in my book they often bring new ways of doing things and innovations that the existing teams have either not seen or simply ignored, such as the mid engine layout [Cooper] and composites [first used on the wings of the Hill F1 car]. It is the classic ‘innovators dilemma’ that existing businesses do not want to change as they have already invested in particular technologies and approaches which they do not want to let go of, in today’s F1 this is the wind tunnel. It is therefore the new entrant who has nothing to lose by doing things in a different way – Virgin Racing with their 100% CFD developed car – who can create the disruptive innovation that everyone ends up following. Of course, the real test will be on the track, and maybe not for a year or two, but change will come and F1 will be the better for it.

2 Responses to “A Message from the Prancing Horse Whisperer”

  1. Not too sure how I found this blog but glad I did find it. Think I was looking for something else on yahoo. Don’t know I agree 100% with what you say, but have bookmaked and will pop back to read to see if you add any more posts. Good blog

  2. Like your blog. Gptours would like to include your blog in our newsletter and website. Check it out on http://www.gptours.com/newsletter.php.

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