Mattiacci (center) now out. Photo: AP

Mattiacci: Ferrari angry with 2014 performances


Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci has said that the team is angry with its performance at the beginning of the 2014 F1 season, but has no intention of giving up yet.

Mattiacci was made team principal following Stefano Domenicali’s decision to resign in the wake of the team’s poor start to the season, which has left it sitting a distant third in the constructors’ standings.

Despite promising widespread changes and restructuring, the team has failed to improve in the first few races under Mattiacci’s rule, although the Italian has said that these things will take time.

“We are very angry with ourselves, but we have no intention of giving up,” he explained following the Canadian Grand Prix. “The circuit definitely didn’t suit us, given that it highlighted the strong points of some of our competitors and, on top of that, not everything went right either, given that we started from too far back and the others improved more than we did.”

In a race that just eleven cars finished, Fernando Alonso could only come home in sixth whilst Kimi Raikkonen crossed the line in tenth place. Although the team was never likely to challenge Mercedes for victory, it should have been in a position to capitalize when the German marque faltered, as it did in Canada.

Mattiacci went on to explain how the future at Ferrari is being built around its drivers and key personnel. This was a successful tactic in the late 90s and early 2000s when Michael Schumacher, Ross Brawn and Jean Todt had the team centered on them, and went on to enjoy the most dominant streak for any one team in F1 history.

“We have improved since the start of the year, but every step forward we make must be looked at in the context of what our rivals have done,” Mattiacci said. “Ferrari has begun work on a specific approach, based around a few key figures: President Montezemolo, James Allison, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and a group of highly talented engineers.

“It’s a case of restructuring the team, with people being given the best possible conditions in which to get the job done.”

Any plans that Ferrari may have had to make Adrian Newey a part of the team ended in Canada when Red Bull confirmed that he had signed a new long-term deal with the company. He will work in an advisory capacity from 2015.

Lorenzo looking to Honda, Ducati for help in MotoGP title race

ALCANIZ, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 27:  Jorge Lorenzo of Spain and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP celebrates the victory on the podium at the end of the MotoGP race during the MotoGP of Spain - Race at Motorland Aragon Circuit on September 27, 2015 in Alcaniz, Spain.  (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)
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Jorge Lorenzo hopes that he can get some help from the Honda and Ducati riders in his championship battle with Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi in the final four races of the 2015 MotoGP season.

Lorenzo currently trails Rossi by 14 points at the top of the riders’ championship, and with just four races to go, barring an unlikely run of results, the title will go to a Yamaha rider for the first time since 2012.

The formbook offers little in the way of clues for the Lorenzo/Rossi battle, for although Lorenzo has won more races, Rossi has been more consistent, finishing off the podium just once this season.

Lorenzo had hoped to reel Rossi in last time out at Motorland Aragon, but the Italian rider managed to finish third, minimizing the damage of his teammate’s victory.

Nevertheless, Lorenzo was pleased to bounce back after two disappointing races at Silverstone and Misano, having lost ground on Rossi in the title race.

“I am very happy with this victory because it came after two races that were a bit disappointing and I expected to take more points, but due to a few factors and especially the weather, I failed to achieve the desired result,” Lorenzo said. “The victory in Motorland [Aragon] was crucial.”

Rossi was beaten to second place by Honda’s Dani Pedrosa after a titanic battle in the closing stages of the last race, and Lorenzo hopes that the Spaniard, among others, could aid his cause inadvertently again in the remaining four races.

“[Pedrosa] was very strong and it was useful to recover the points lost earlier and it has given me more chances to recover with four races left until the end,” Lorenzo said.

“But [Marc] Marquez or maybe the two Ducati riders could also stand in front of Valentino and take away some points. It is a real possibility, but very dangerous for us both.”

The next round of the MotoGP season takes place at Motegi, Japan next weekend.

Steiner: Haas F1 Team could not afford rookie mistakes

KANNAPOLIS, NC - SEPTEMBER 29:  (L-R) Gunther Steiner, team principal of Haas F1 Team, Romain Grosjean of France, and Gene Haas, owner of Haas F1 Team, pose for a photo opportunity after Haas F1 Team announced Grosjean as their driver for the upcoming 2016 Formula 1 season on September 29, 2015 in Kannapolis, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Stewart-Haas Racing via Getty Images)
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Günther Steiner has said that Haas Formula 1 Team could not afford to have its drivers making rookie mistakes during its debut season in the sport, reasoning the decision to only sign experienced racers for 2016.

On Tuesday, Haas unveiled Lotus driver Romain Grosjean as its first signing for next season, luring the Frenchman away from Enstone after ten years of association.

The second seat is set to go to either Esteban Gutierrez or Jean-Eric Vergne, who both work as development drivers for Ferrari and both have at least two seasons of racing under their belt.

As team principal, Steiner (pictured left) will work under team owner Gene Haas, and said that both had agreed that a rookie driver for season one would be unwise.

“We looked around a lot to find the right guy because we wanted somebody with experience but still hungry to do something, to go with us this long way,” Steiner explained.

“I started talks with the management of Romain in Barcelona to see if he’s interested and, you know, we spoke to quite a few drivers, and in the end I spoke also with technical people, what they think about Romain, how he develops a car.

“We have got a steep mountain to climb here, new team, all new team members, so we needed somebody who knows what he’s doing. I think in the end we found the right guy because he has so much ‘want to drive’ now, and he’s still aggressive or still wants it.

“He’s not [so] young anymore that he’s inexperienced. We lose time by having accidents or doing rookie mistakes. I think we just picked the best one out there for what we are doing, and we focused on him and got him, and we are very happy and we are looking forward to working with him.”