Axed Ferrari engine chief says he simply followed orders over design

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Former Ferrari engine chief Luca Marmorini has said that he simply did as he was told when designing the engine for the 2014 F14 T car, and does not feel that blaming the team’s poor performance on his department was fair.

Speaking to Italian journalist Leo Turrini for the first time since his departure from Maranello, Marmorini said that he had been asked by the management to make a smaller engine that would be made up for with superior aerodynamics.

However, this did not prove to be the case, with the team scoring just two podium finishes so far this season whilst the Renault and Mercedes power units have gone on to win races.

“In short, it was made ​​out that all the woes of the F14T are the fault of the power unit; as if a company with the history of Ferrari had forgotten how to make engines,” Marmorini said. “With my colleagues I packaged a power unit with a certain size, a smaller version of the Mercedes and Renault, because we were asked by the project manager of the car, Mr. Tombazis.”

“[Tombazis] said we want a very compact power unit with small radiators, because the power loss will be compensated with aerodynamic solutions that will guarantee us an advantage over the Mercedes and Renault cars.

“It’s been exactly like that, except that, when we were confronted with the competition, the horsepower was obviously less, but this was not compensated for by aerodynamics.”

Marmorini also revealed that he had spoken just twice to new team principal Marco Mattiacci: once when he arrived, and once when he left.

“In three months, I exchanged just a few words,” he said. “We saw each other twice, the first for the greetings, the second when he gave me a letter that confirmed my farewell to the company.”

Marmorini confirmed that he is not looking to return to Formula 1 at any time soon, but that his stance could yet change.

In the ‘year of the power unit’, Ferrari has clearly been a step behind. The team will be hoping to finish the season inside the top three in the constructors’ championship before focusing on getting back to the very front of the field in 2015.

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

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Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

NBCSN

“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).