Ferrari chiefs discuss 2014 regulation changes at Santander event

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The heads of Scuderia Ferrari outlined their hopes and expectations for 2014 with the pending regulation changes at a Santander partner event last night here in Austin.

Where Ferrari starts in 2014 will be, in part, determined by its final finish in the 2013 Formula One Constructor’s Championship. Heading into this weekend’s United States Grand Prix (1 p.m. ET, Sunday, NBC), Ferrari ranks third, 11 points behind Mercedes and 26 up on Lotus-Renault.

“This year, we started with a car that was not the best, and what we missed was the development,” explained team principal Stefano Domenicali. “When the tires were changed, we did not do the second step.”

Ferrari hasn’t won a driver’s title since 2007 (Kimi Raikkonen) or a Constructor’s title since 2008. The changes throw a curveball at the entire field, and the team’s new technical director James Allison expanded on that.

“The aero is fundamental for the cars to go quick, and the sideshow is the set of aero changes for next year the largest since 2009.”

Allison will work in harmony with chief engineering director Pat Fry, who suggested 2014 could be an even bigger strategy game based on how frequently teams can push at max power.

“It’s going to be a big pace difference. The question will be when to go flat,” Fry said.

Luca Marmorini, engine and electronics director, added a bit on the power unit although his three colleagues had the floor for the majority of the session.

As the technical side works to develop a season-long race winner and championship contender, the team’s commercial side is in good hands with Santander committed to sponsoring Ferrari through 2017.

The world’s sixth largest bank recently announced a change as all of its Sovereign Bank branches would switch their name to Santander, to create a unified force on that front. Here in the U.S., Santander operates in nine states, mainly in the Northeast region, and has 102 million customers worldwide.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”